Acclaimed Orthopedic Surgeon Uses High-ech and High-Touch Surgerical Program to Get Veterinarian Back to Treating Show Horses
Chicago’s Dr. Richard Berger finds a way to bring a concierge approach to his practice. The “BEST” Experience if offering a tailored solution saving patients time and money.
Within three weeks of hip replacement with world-renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Berger, veterinarian Wayne Browning returnes to treating his own patients-1,300-pound show horses. Dr. Berger's unparalled minimally invasive procedure, combined with his concierge telehealth appoinments, allowed Dr. Browning to recover faster, get back on his feet, caring for his champion horses in record time.
The only trip he had to take from California to Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush in Chicago was for the actual surgery. All consultations were via telehealth - Berger's Elective Surgical + Telemedicine (BEST) Experience, a huge time and money saver for this high-powered veterinarian.
"We have good surgeons here in the Bay Area," said Dr. Browning, 61, owner of Bayhill Equine in Redwood City, Calif. "But they were giving me a six-week timeframe for recovery. The telehealth aspect was a welcome bonus."
With Dr. Berger’s anterior, muscle-preserving, minimally invasive approach, patients experience less pain, faster recovery, and better long-term prognosis without the additional worry of hip dis- location. Now, patients have Dr. Berger’s expertise at their fingertips with telehealth appointments.
“In my research, I found that Dr. Berger did a modified approach, which lessens soft tissue trauma and allows for a faster return to work and activity,” Dr. Browning said. “The difference between a six-week and three-week recovery was huge for me. I have a very busy veterinary practice that involves a lot of bending over and lifting horses’ legs. So, I needed to be fully back from a physical standpoint. I also appreciated that he developed his own instruments to achieve that modified approach. Telemedicine was the cherry on top. There was no way I could have made three separate trips to Chicago.”
With the BEST Experience, patients and
their caregivers can choose virtual pre- and post-surgical appointments along with virtual educational classes, eliminating the time, inconvenience, and expense of traveling to Dr. Berger’s office—whether from halfway across the world or just across town.
“More than half of my patients are an extremely long car ride or a plane flight away from Chicago,” Dr. Berger said. Although the BEST Experience officially debuted this year, Dr. Berger and his team started testing virtual consultations and post-op visits on a small scale before the pandemic and then accelerated the program to all perfecting the process over the last two years before the full launch. The future is here—fans of The Jetsons 1960s TV series set in 2062 will remember the doctor diagnosing Elroy over a video screen.
“We are The Jetsons now. You can talk to our practice from the privacy of your own home, from the first consultation through your recovery follow-up visit,” Dr. Berger said.
Dr. Berger and his team can remove the worry of recovery at home by advising patients on how to set up their environment for an ideal recovery through a virtual tour of their home. The video experience is also great for family members and caregivers who plan to travel with their loved ones after surgery but can’t travel for a consultation with Dr. Berger.
“I had a patient from Mexico City, and he brought in his daughter, who was in Paris, in for the consultation and patient education,” Dr. Berger said. “We picked a time that worked for everyone.” “We’re trying to give patients broad options of what they feel most comfortable with,” Dr. Berger said. “Some patients want to see me in person every time, which is fantastic. Other patients are too busy and don’t want to travel across the city, state, country, and world for a consultation. They’re comfortable with technology. They know they need a hip replacement, and, except for the actual surgery, they want to do the rest over the internet. Others want a hybrid approach.”
Unlike many patients who need hip and knee replacements, Dr. Brown- ing moved to get surgery just a few months after his hip pain began causing problems.
“It’s better to have surgery earlier than later,” Dr. Berger said. “A lot of physicians tell patients to wait as long as possible. When we wait, all that happens is we get older, and we get sicker. More importantly, our muscles and our stamina deteriorate. Dr. Brown- ing was right on top of it. As soon as the pain began impacting his life, he tried the simpler things—physical therapy and anti-inflammatories. When those didn’t work, he said, ‘Let me get surgery and take my life back.’”
Dr. Browning even opted to get surgery in April, the middle of performance horse season, the busiest time at his practice. “The pain was less from the time I woke up from surgery,” Dr. Browning said. He left the hospital a few hours after surgery and was back home in two days. Seeing a few horses two-and-a-half weeks following surgery and was back full-time at three weeks. At six weeks, Dr. Browning felt like he was 90 percent recovered, even playing golf and tennis again, along with his busy work schedule.
“The experience was overall exemplary,” Dr. Browning said. “From the initial inquiry phone call, the first virtual call with one of Dr. Berger’s nurse practitioners to discuss the surgery, pharmacy, and physical therapy—everything was taken care of. The entire staff is available 24/7 to answer a question, medication refill, or whatever you need. I was already dealing with enough stress with everything surrounding getting a hip replacement. It was nice not to have to worry about all the other aspects. It is definitely a concierge service.”
“We are The Jetsons now. You can talk to our practice from the privacy of your own home, from the first consultation through your recovery follow-up visit.” “In my research, I found that Dr. Berger did a modified approach, which lessens soft tissue trauma and allows for a faster return to work and activity. The difference between a six-week and three-week recovery was huge for me.”
Dr. Browning, 61, owner of Bayhill Equine in Redwood City, California