THE SHIPLEY CENTER WILL ALSO INCLUDE A COMPONENT OF HEALTH EDUCATION TO HELP PATIENTS UNDERSTAND HOW TO STAY HEALTHY AND POTENTIALLY AVOID SURGERY.
DiGiorgi and Hummel also train surgeons in national programs for minimally invasive mitral and aortic valve surgery.
“I really like the minimally invasive aspect. With minimally invasive your probability of having side effects becomes a lot less. It doesn’t take years to recover and so you really get to enjoy life,” says Shipley. “It’s not enough to simply live a long life. It’s more important to live an enjoyable one.”
The Shipley Center will also include a component of health education to help patients understand how to stay healthy and potentially avoid surgery. Heart disease is the number one cause of death with more than 375,000 deaths per year, and heart surgery is the most common major surgery performed in the United States.
“We see these very basic problems, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, but at a very advanced stage; and so we have a vested interest, even as surgeons, to make sure that these things are better cared for in the community—whether it’s public education, educating referring physicians, or making things work better in the hospital, and even new technology at the operating level,” says DiGiorgi.
He believes it’s all about looking at the patient as a whole person; not just singling out a specific medical issue, but delving deeper to find out why it’s happening.
“Why is a 40-year-old with out-of-control diabetes now in need of bypass surgery? Where have we dropped the ball? Unfortunately, I see a lot of that, and so I’m willing to step out of the operating room and work with the community to try to fix that problem,” says DiGiorgi. “For me it’s exciting. You typically don’t see heart surgeons doing public health things.”
Also of special interest at the center will be research into frailty screening to give an in-depth understanding of each individual patient’s risk factors, co-morbidities and personal health needs prior to surgery, and provide pre-hab therapies to reduce risk for complications.
“I think it will coordinate care in a way that will enhance outcomes,” says Beckwith, who was excited to hear about the new center. “These times are so overwhelming for the patient as well as their family. By coordinating the care in one center, I’m hoping it will make the entire experience less fragmented, less difficult.”
“One of our big pushes is preoperative optimization,” says DiGiorgi. “It’s a multidisciplinary kind of team approach to work with each patient to reduce their risk of surgical complications rather than just whisk them off to the operating room and accept the consequences.”
The center’s vision is to completely transform the way we do medical care in Southwest Florida, and serve as a model for national health care challenges that exist.
The Shipley Center’s work will be enhanced by an Innovation Committee comprising national and local clinical and administrative leaders, working and retired, with expertise in the pharmaceutical, medical devices, technology and finance areas of health care who are interested in leading-edge care, research, education and patient care optimization. Outcomes research will also
be shared with the medical community locally, nationally and internationally through medical journal publications and scientific presentations.
“The education goes hand-in-hand with the research efforts,” says Shipley. “Hopefully we’ll have a good collaborative effort here and people are going to learn from each other.”
TAVR has been a nationally and internationally recognized program. The team hopes to build on that experience by continuing the minimally invasive valves, but also working with other community partners such as physician assistant and nursing schools to do simulation labs and other educational programs with them.
“We’ll have the space to do that now, and the lab space to do it,” says DiGiorgi. “We’re also in talks, with Intuitive, the Da Vinci robotic company, to be the only simulation center between here and Orlando. There’s a lot of opportunity.”
“You have doctors coming, internationally, looking at the techniques they’re using, so basically what you’re starting with is a center of excellence. When you start with that and you have doctors that are passionate about what they’d like to accomplish in the way of innovation, that’s a pretty good formula for success. Results do matter and they matter a lot,” says Shipley. “It’s not like this is a brand-new startup. They have the center of excellence in place; they’ve already hit the ground running.”
Though many of the programs are already underway, construction of the Shipley Center must wait until the new children’s hospital is complete. Plans call for converting 10,000 square feet of space currently used for pediatric services on the first floor of HealthPark Medical Center.
“The philanthropic goal is $6 million, to which the Shipley Foundation has devoted $2.5 million. Shipley’s donations will be supplemented by endowments established for Education & Training and Patient Care Optimization; research grants, privately funded and government funded; and other donors that have lined up along the way,” says DiGiorgi.
“I think this is probably the first time that Lee Memorial Health System has moved into something like this, and it certainly won’t be the last,” says Shipley. “I think the capability exists there; with great leadership there’s no reason we can’t do more. We’ve given it a good jump-start, and I hope my contribution and our belief in these efforts will engender a lot of support from the community.”
Those who are interested in making a donation should contact the Lee Memorial Health System Foundation at 239-343-6058 or founda[email protected]rial.org.
Though many of the programs are already underway, construction plans for The Shipley Center for Cardiothoracic Surgery Innovation, Education & Research call for converting 10,000 square feet of space, currently used for pediatric services, on the first...
Samira Beckwith successfully underwent transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) in October, 2014. TAVR is an alternative to open heart surgery that uses a catheter to access the heart through an artery.