East Carolina Heart Institute earns top rating

The East Carolina Heart Institute has received the highest quality rating awarded by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr.

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr.

The society database is the national report card that compares the quality of cardiac surgery programs across the country. Historically, only 12-15 percent of hospitals receive the three-star rating, which is the highest quality category.

In the current analysis of national data – from Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013 – the cardiac surgery performance at the institute rose to the highest quality tier, earning the three-star rating.

“When a surgeon or a doctor starts to discuss an operation, the three-star rating will give the patient some repose, satisfaction and solace that they are going to an institution that has high quality, great outcomes, and combined with our patient satisfaction rate at the heart institute, that they will have a good family and patient experience,” said Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., director of the East Carolina Heart Institute and professor of cardiovascular sciences at the Brody School of Medicine.

“We are all about quality. We are all about the highest level of outcomes. We are about patient satisfaction. We are about technology. We have it all here at this heart institute.”

In 2013, the heart institute ranked among the top 14 percent of Society of Thoracic Surgeions programs earning the three-star rating for coronary artery bypass procedures.

The overall bypass quality rating of three-stars measures top performance in four categories:  risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted morbidity, use of the internal mammary arterial conduit and appropriate use of all medications that have been shown to improve long term survival. The risk adjusted mortality rate takes into account patient severity, because of underlying health conditions such as stroke, kidney failure, infection and prolonged time on a ventilator.

Additionally, the heart institute achieved a three-star rating for aortic value replacement, ranking them among only 3.2 percent of STS participating programs.

The East Carolina Heart Institute is the first in North Carolina devoted exclusively to improving the state’s health status through cardiovascular health service delivery, research and education. The institute is a partnership between Vidant Medical Center and East Carolina University, with facilities housed on both medical campuses.

Private practice physicians throughout the region are also an integral part of the heart institute.

Share

ECU cardiologist elected to Royal College of Physicians

By Amy Adams Ellis
ECU News Services

East Carolina Heart Institute physician Ashesh Buch has been elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London. Buch was formally recognized for this achievement June 10 at a ceremony in London.

Dr. Ashesh Buch, interventional cardiologist at the East Carolina Heart Institute and assistant professor of cardiovascular sciences, Brody School of Medicine at ECU

Dr. Ashesh Buch, interventional cardiologist at the East Carolina Heart Institute and assistant professor of cardiovascular sciences, Brody School of Medicine at ECU

Fellowship is the highest level of membership in the college, which represents more than 29,000 physicians across the U.K. and the world. According to the organization’s website, it was founded nearly 500 years ago to ensure medicine is practiced to the highest standards.

“We will be relentless in our pursuit of improvements in health care and the health of the population,” their mission states. “We will achieve this by enhancing and harnessing the skills, knowledge and leadership of physicians in setting challenging standards and encouraging positive change based on sound evidence.”

Buch is an interventional cardiologist with ECHI, where he specializes in catheter-based treatments of structural heart diseases. ECHI is devoted to education, research, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases in the region. The center is associated with East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine and Vidant Medical Center.

Buch joined the Brody School of Medicine and its group practice, ECU Physicians, in the fall of 2012 upon leaving his post at University Hospital of Wales, U.K.

He completed his medical degree at the University of Birmingham in the U.K., followed by a residency, and general cardiology and interventional fellowships, in the U.K. He completed further fellowship training in interventional cardiology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, District of Columbia.

Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood, director of ECHI and professor of surgery at Brody, said, “It is a real honor that Dr. Buch has been elected as a fellow to the Royal College of Physicians in London. He is an outstanding cardiologist, as well as academician. This designation indicates that he has not only had the finest training in cardiology, but he excels well above most of his peers.

“It is a great accomplishment for Dr. Buch,” Chitwood added, “but it also gives East Carolina Heart Institute an advantage, as we want the finest doctors for our patients.

 

Share

Brody School of Medicine dean speaks at Vidant health conference

By Kathryn Kennedy
ECU News Services

Dr. Paul Cunningham, dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, was one of four health care professionals to present Monday, May 19 during the Vidant 2014 Health Care Conference.

Cunningham

Dr. Paul Cunningham

The conference encouraged leaders from across the community to “join the conversation” about improving health care for the county and region. Other speakers were Dr. Sanne Magnan, CEO of the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement; Mark Benton, COO for Community Care of North Carolina; and Vidant Health CEO Dr. Dave Herman.

Cunningham’s talk focused on the health challenges facing the region and how Brody is building partnerships to sustain operations and better serve the population of eastern North Carolina.

“The mission has not changed but our form must change,” he said. “We must focus on the future in a meaningful way. More and new partnerships are needed.”

Those include both partnerships across the health sciences at ECU, he added, as well as with leaders in all sectors of the community.

Eastern North Carolina still faces many challenges to improving access to health care, Cunningham said. Poverty persists in much of the region – particularly in rural areas – and individuals can be isolated, hard to reach and may be distrustful of health care providers.

There are about 12 chronic diseases that plague the region, he said. Those include obesity, diabetes, STDs, hypertension, asthma and cancer. More than 32 percent of the population is obese, he added.

“If we were expert at just this list alone, we could improve the health outcomes of eastern North Carolina,” Cunningham told attendees.

Brody continues to meet its mission to produce doctors who will work in primary care, he reported. And by keeping the cost of attending the medical school at ECU relatively low, students graduating from Brody can begin careers in primary care without “dealing with a mountain of debt.”

At the end of the individual presentations, Cunningham and Herman fielded questions from attendees.

View Cunningham’s entire presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXpnD0mcJjQ&feature=youtu.be.

 

###

Share

ECU pediatrician certified as physician executive

By Amy Ellis
ECU News Services

Dr. John M. Olsson, division chief for general pediatrics at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine, was recently named a certified physician executive by the American College of Physician Executives. Olsson was formally recognized for this achievement at the group’s annual meeting April 25 in Chicago.

Olsson

Dr. John Olsson

The nationally recognized credential requires physicians to pass a minimum of 150 hours of  “live” and online coursework followed by nearly four days of formal certification activities.

“The credential is becoming the benchmark for CEOs and executive recruiters seeking the most accomplished and influential health care leaders,” according to the website for the Certifying Commission in Medical Management, the national certifying body for physicians specializing in medical management. The CCMM is a not-for-profit corporation chartered by the ACPE, the association for physicians in health care leadership.

“This education gives me the medical essentials of an MBA,” Olsson said. “The skills I have gained will help my department and the Brody School of Medicine as we navigate the changing healthcare environment.”

Olsson came to ECU in 1998 from Phoenix, Arizona, where he was residency director for pediatrics at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. He earned his medical degree from the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and completed his pediatrics residency at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals. Olsson served as chief of staff for Vidant Medical Center in 2011.

“Dr. Olsson was already recognized as an excellent leader, and this training will only improve that ability,” said Dr. Ron Perkin, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Brody. “All of us in this department are very fond of John and very proud of this accomplishment.”

 

Share

Saeed interviewed on NPR’s ‘All Things Considered’

Dr. Sy Saeed

Dr. Sy Saeed

Dr. Sy Saeed, chairman of the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the Brody School of Medicine, was interviewed on NPR’s “All Things Considered” May 7 regarding the effectiveness of telepsychiatry in bringing much needed mental health care to underserved regions.

Saeed shared with NPR’s Robert Siegel that patients have found the experience of interacting via telepsychiatry to be much like a face-to-face interaction. He said that a few minutes into the two-way video hookup, many patients “forget they are talking to the doctor via this monitor.”

According to the NPR program, telepsychiatry is addressing a significant challenge for the state – the lack of mental health care providers in rural areas.

ECU is part of a statewide telepsychiatry program that links hospital emergency departments to mental health professionals who can initiate treatment for emergency department patients in mental health or substance abuse crisis.

Read more and listen to the interview at http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/05/07/308749287/telepsychiatry-brings-emergency-mental-health-care-to-rural-areas

Share