3 Things to Discuss With Your Anesthesiologists Before Going Under

Anesthesia has never been safer, but that doesn’t mean risks aren’t still involved 

Mature female surgeon in operating suite adjusting latex gloves-anesthesia-anesthesiologist-surgery

The ASA is urging all patients to talk with their anesthesiologist before going under for surgery or other operations and procedures. (Photo: Bigstock)

In the U.S., over 100 million operations and procedures are performed every year using anesthesia. While it’s true that it has advanced and become safer than ever before, many people still overlook the serious risks involved with anesthesia. That’s why the American Society of Anesthesiologists is urging every person scheduled for a procedure or surgery to have a conversation with their anesthesiologist about their anesthesia delivery plan ahead of time.


Here are three things everyone should know about anesthesia to ensure both safety and comfort:

  1. Sedation or anesthesia – Depending on the procedure, it’s good to know whether sedation or anesthesia is the right fit. There are various types of anesthesia and sedation, and understanding their differences is critical before any surgery.
  2. Surgery risks – Preexisting health conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and certain lung conditions like asthma could increase the risks of surgery and anesthesia. Discussing these, as well as any history of adverse or allergic reactions to anesthesia, is important for patient safety.
  3. Anesthesia and the elderly – For people 65 and older, surgical risks can increase dramatically. A recent topic of discussion is how the aging brain is more vulnerable to the side effects of anesthesia. Two common conditions tied to anesthesia and the elderly are postoperative delirium and postoperative cognitive dysfunction, or POCD. Planning ahead of time with the patient, the anesthesiologist and a patient’s caregiver could decrease the potential risks involved with anesthesia.

For more information, click here.

Since 1981, Havel’s has offered premium quality anesthesia needles and pain control needles for anesthesiologists, pain management specialists, physicians, doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals. To see Havel’s selection of anesthesia and pain management needles, please click here: Havel’s Anesthesia Needles and Pain Control Needles.

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Cleveland Clinic Adapts to Changing Health Care Landscape

The industry is evolving, and so is the clinic

Changes in health care

Health care is changing rapidly, and Cleveland Clinic wants to be on the front line of this change. (Photo: Bigstock)

Health care systems big and small are trying to adapt to the constant changes within the industry. The same can be said for the Cleveland Clinic, one of the country’s largest and most well-known health systems, according to an article in The New York Times.

In the past, Cleveland Clinic prided itself with the ability to treat the “sickest of the sick,” but now that might not be good enough. Patients are starting to look for care outside of the hospital setting, and insurance providers are moving towards new payment models, as well as encouraging health care systems to be able to manage all of a patient’s medical needs, not just a few specialties. Because of this, the clinic is beginning to reposition itself as a place to treat primary care and chronic conditions in addition to performing other more complicated procedures.

Many of the clinic’s 10 community hospitals and 16 family health centers are already starting to implement this change. Dr. Delos M. Cosgrove, the Cleveland Clinic’s chief executive, shut down the affiliated Huron Hospital in 2011 and replaced it with a new family health center focusing on primary care. It also expanded hours at its separate walk-in clinic in order to encourage patients who have minor health problems to visit there rather than an emergency room.

Another aspect the Cleveland Clinic is looking into is how to cut down on costs without sacrificing quality care. Private insurers are starting to move further and further away from hospitals they deem too costly. Last year the clinic reduced costs by about $500 million, a huge leap forward in the eyes of insurers.

Since taking over a decade ago, Dr. Cosgrove has put a focus on measuring patient outcomes, which he feels will help Cleveland Clinic get a better sense of how it’s delivering care. The clinic has invested in new computer systems that can track patients in different settings to see how they’re managing their care.

Elsewhere, the clinic is looking to expand its reach by joining forces with Akron General Health System, which will give Cleveland Clinic an even bigger presence in its home state of Ohio. It also became a part of the Midwest Health Collaborative, a group of health systems whose overall goal is to provide better care across the state.

To learn more, click here: Cleveland Clinic Grapples With Changes in Health Care.

Since 1981, Havel’s has offered premium quality ultrasound needles and procedure needles for anesthesia, pain control, radiology and biopsy, as well as sutures and surgical scalpel blades for dentists, oral surgeons, dermatologists, veterinarians, doctors, hospitals and other leading medical professionals. To see Havel’s selection of procedure needles, sutures and surgical scalpel blades, please click here: Havel’s Procedure Needles, Sutures and Surgical Scalpel Blades.

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Gift or Curse: Surgical ‘Black Box’ Could Be Future of Operating Room

Debate over proper use still in question 

Surgical black box could benefit or harm

Researchers in Canada have developed a surgical black box that could track procedures and operations for later analysis. (Photo: Bigstock)

Researchers in Canada are developing a surgical “black box,” like the ones used in airplanes, which could change the face of modern surgery. The hope is that the box could become an tool for surgeons, where operations could be tracked and analyzed, mistakes could be improved upon and complications before, during and after surgery could be significantly reduced.

However, some are wondering if the tool could backfire. If data could be used in court, it could become a potential mess in the malpractice department and ultimately become counterproductive to those it was meant to help.

“We have to ensure the black box is used as an educational tool to help surgeons evaluate their performance and improve,” said Dr. Teodor Grantcharov, a minimally invasive surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

For more information, click here: Surgical Black Box Could Reduce Errors.

Since 1981, Havel’s has offered high-quality procedure needles and surgical scalpel blades to doctors, hospitals, veterinarians and other leading medical professionals. To learn more about Havel’s selection of procedure needles and surgical scalpel blades, please click here: Havel’s Procedure Needles and Surgical Scalpel Blades.

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American Academy of Dermatology Wraps Up 2015 Annual Meeting

Topics like health care reform, teledermatology, quality care addressed

The Moscone Center in San Francisco, California

The American Academy of Dermatology’s 73rd Annual Meeting took place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. (Photo: MedPage Today)

The American Academy of Dermatology’s 73rd Annual Meeting took place this past weekend, March 20-24, and throughout the meeting several topics of interests were highlighted. Among them were health care reform and the impact it has on the field of dermatology, maintaining quality care for patients, the growing problem of skin cancer and the role dermatologists have in early diagnosis and the role of teledermatology in the future.

“The future of dermatology and how dermatologists can continue to offer quality patient care remains a key issue for the academy,” said AAD scientific assembly chair Joan Guitart, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago, as quoted in an article from MedPage Today.

A number of speakers were on hand to discuss a wide variety of topics, including American Medical Association president-elect Steven J. Stack, MD, who spoke on both the challenges and opportunities the dermatology profession faces in the next decade.

Workshop sessions included topics like advanced suture techniques, nail surgery and the use of cosmetic fillers. There were also sessions that focused on late-breaking science and the newest trends in dermatology.

For more information on the AAD’s annual meeting, click here: Future of Dermatology on Display at AAD.

Be sure to visit the AAD’s website for up-to-date news and information.

Since 1981, Havel’s has offered premium quality sutures and surgical scalpel blades for dermatologists, doctors, hospitals and other leading medical professionals. To see Havel’s selection of sutures and surgical scalpel blades, please click here: Havel’s Sutures and Surgical Scalpel Blades.


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Peripheral Nerve Blocks: What Can They Do For You?

An overview of the regional anesthetic procedure

Peripheral nerve block is a type of regional anesthesia

Anesthesiologists use peripheral nerve blocks to numb a specific part of the body for surgery, with only a few, if any, side effects or complications. (Photo: Bigstock)

Just what exactly is a peripheral nerve block? This regional anesthetic procedure is gaining new ground in modern healthcare for a variety of different reasons.

In short, peripheral nerve blocks are a type of regional anesthesia where a specific part of the body is targeted to be numbed with a local anesthetic, which then allows the area to be operated on during surgery. This is done by injecting the local anesthetic around a nerve or group of nerves that control feeling and movement to the area of the body being operated on. This technique can be used either as the sole method of anesthesia or in combination with general anesthesia.

Depending on the location of the surgery, different types of peripheral nerve blocks can be performed in order to provide the most relief for the patient. They include blocks of the upper limb (arm, forearm and hand), blocks of the lower limb (leg, knee and foot) and various blocks at the trunk (chest and abdomen). No matter what kind is used, all peripheral nerve blocks are performed by trained anesthesiologists. Ultrasound is most often used in order to identify the specific nerve or nerves that will be numbed, along with a special needle to administer the drug.

Peripheral nerve blocks provide tremendous pain relief both during and after surgery, and carry with them few side effects or complications. They’re known to reduce the use of opioids for post-surgical pain and also enable earlier physical activity.

For more information on peripheral nerve blocks, please read the following article: I See the Knife Cutting into Me … but I Feel No Pain.

Since 1981, Havel’s has offered premium quality anesthesia needles and pain control needles for anesthesiologists, pain specialists, doctors, hospitals and other leading medical professionals. To learn more about Havel’s selection of anesthesia and pain control needles, please click here: Havel’s Anesthesia and Pain Control Needles.

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Data Mining for Solutions

How hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic are using data to improve patient satisfaction

Data mining for solutions to patient satisfaction

Hospitals and health care organizations are using data to help boost patient satisfaction scores. (Photo: U.S. News & World Report)

Big data is a growing trend in modern health care, and hospitals and other medical facilities alike are starting to figure out how to apply this data to help improve from the inside out. Principles like patient satisfaction, patient communication and employee satisfaction are a top priority, and now health groups from across the country are finding out that data can be used to focus in on these priorities.

The Cleveland Clinic is one hospital that’s finding out how to use data mining to fix key issues within their facility. In 2009, Dr. James Merlino took over as chief patient experience officer. At that time, the Clinic’s patient satisfaction scores had leveled off, and even declined in some cases, and Merlino had a situation that needed to be addressed. He found that analytics helped identify three areas where patients felt most dissatisfied: respect, communications among Cleveland Clinic staff and the happiness of employees.

From there, Merlino came up with a plan to get all of his employees on the right track. Better communication and accountability was critical, but data and analytics were the tools used to solve the problem.

“You have to give physicians data across the care continuum to drive real behavior change,” Merlino added.

Today, patients at the Cleveland Clinic are noticing the difference. Patient satisfaction is up in a big way, with 82 percent of patients giving high ratings to the facility, while 86 percent said they would recommend the Clinic to friends and family. This is an increase from when Merlino first arrived; in 2009 the same criteria came in at 66 percent and 76 percent, respectively.

Big data on a small scale

The trend isn’t exclusive to large health care organizations like the Cleveland Clinic. Beaufort Memorial Hospital in Beaufort, South Carolina is a 197-bed facility that sees 55,000 emergency room visits a year, on top of 200,000 outpatient visits and 10,000 inpatient admissions. The hospital often found that it didn’t have enough beds to keep up with demand, and this was an issue that Edward Ricks, CIO and vice president of information services, wanted to zero in on.

Ricks found that the hospital could save roughly $435,000 a year just by moving patient discharges up by half a day. Earlier discharges meant that new patients could be assigned a room more quickly, which could increase capacity while also allowing the potential for higher revenues from more patients. After applying data and analytics to track patient flow, Beaufort physicians began writing 50 percent of discharge orders to release patients by noon. Management was soon able to up that goal to 9 a.m. with great success. Now, the hospital is using the same technology to improve daily planning for things like prescriptions, wheelchair transportation and room cleaning.

“Our primary objective is reducing length of stay,” said Ricks.

For more information on how hospitals are using data mining for improvement, click here: Cleveland Clinic, Other Health Groups Use Data to Boost Patient Satisfaction.

Since 1981, Havel’s has offered premium quality ultrasound needles and procedure needles for anesthesia, pain control, radiology and biopsy, as well as sutures and surgical scalpel blades, for doctors, hospitals, veterinarians, dentists, dermatologists and other leading medical professionals. To learn more about Havel’s selection of procedure needles, sutures and surgical scalpel blades, please click here: Havel’s Procedure Needles, Sutures and Surgical Scalpel Blades.


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Radiology and Your Hospital: Rethink and Regroup

Ohio hospital strikes innovative new partnership with outside imaging practice

radiology MRI scan

Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio has formed a unique partnership with Radiology Associates of Canton with a focus on both patient and physician satisfaction. (Photo: Bigstock)

Patient care and satisfaction is a top priority for many hospitals and healthcare networks across the country, and many facilities are trying new approaches to keep their patients, and physicians, happy.

Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio is doing just that. Three years ago the nonprofit hospital faced challenges typical to anyone working in modern-day healthcare — financial pressure, increased competition — and when it came time to renew the contract the hospital had with an outside radiology practice, Aultman’s CEO Christopher Remark decided it was time for a new approach.

For years, the relationship between Aultman Hospital and Radiology Associates of Canton was all too common. Separated, uncommunicative and lacking in transparency, the time for change was obvious. The two parties worked together to develop a shared vision with the best interests of the hospital and practice in mind.

“When you summed it all up, it didn’t look really good, from our standpoint, from an imaging standpoint,” said Remark. “We really felt that we had an opportunity to do something different because it was right in the heat of [health care reform].”

A new focus

The end result was a shift in focus for Aultman and Radiology Associates, set around incentives tied to quality, patient satisfaction and most importantly, efficiency. Volume and money took a backseat, and the new goals included growing their outpatient market share, instituting patient-centered imaging services and preparing for new payment models for patients.

The first year of the new agreement was 2013, and it was a major success. One of the biggest successes was dropping the turnaround rate for an MRI brain observation report from 24 hours to two. Employee and physician satisfaction is up for both, which then leads to stronger patient care and better outcomes for all.

“This is the beauty of co-management because we were talking strategically, and as a hospital we were behind in these areas,” said Remark. “It was neat to forge a relationship between the cardiologists and radiologists to really make this happen.”

“This would not have happened without a visionary CEO of the hospital like Remark,” said Syed Furqan Zaidi, M.D. and CEO of Radiology Associates of Canton.

For more information on the new partnership, click here: The Radiologist’s Role in Shaking Up Your Hospital.

Since 1981, Havel’s has offered premium quality radiology needles and biopsy needles for radiologists, doctors, hospitals and other leading medical professionals. To see Havel’s selection of radiology and biopsy needles, please click here: Havel’s Radiology and Biopsy Needles.


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The Most Surprising Misconceptions of Dermatology

Four ways you’re misinformed abut the dermatology profession 

Tablet with the medical specialty Dermatology on the display

A new study reveals that the majority of Americans are misinformed about the dermatology profession. (Photo: Bigstock)

According to a recent survey, most people living in the U.S. have a misconception about dermatology and what dermatologists actually do. Not only do the results express a “lack of understanding of the day-to-day realities of dermatology,” but more importantly some are worried that the misconception could result in people not seeking out the proper care for skin diseases.

Here are the four most common misconceptions the general public has concerning dermatology:

  1. Dermatologists spend the majority of their time working on cosmetic procedures – The survey revealed that 27 percent of Americans think that dermatologists spend the majority of their time doing cosmetic procedures. In reality, about 10 percent of their work involves cosmetic procedures, while the remaining 90 percent is made up of surgery and managing medical conditions.
  2. Dermatologists only deal with medical conditions like acne, skin cancer and melanoma – Although skin cancer and melanoma are some of the most common diseases they diagnose, dermatologists treat over 3,000 different kinds of diseases.
  3. Dermatologists don’t see as many patients as other types of doctors – Dermatologists tend to work fewer hours than other specialties, but report seeing more patients.
  4. Dermatologists are overpaid for what they do – While dermatologists do tend to make more than the average primary care physician, they still earn less than other specialty fields like cardiologists and plastic surgeons.

To read more on the misconceptions of dermatology study, click here: Many Think of Dermatology as Superficial: Survey.

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3 Uses for Peripheral Nerve Blocks You Didn’t Even Know About

The common regional anesthetic procedure is finding more uses in non-surgical settings

Peripheral nerve blocks can be used in many non-surgical procedures

Peripheral nerve blocks are already used in a variety of surgical and post-op procedures, but the technique is beginning to find more use in non-surgical settings as well. (Photo: Bigstock)

Peripheral nerve blocks have proven to be a welcome relief for patients and physicians alike, with the ability to lessen the need for opioids as well as provide minimal complications during recovery. Now, anesthesia providers and pain management practitioners are starting to use nerve blocks in other non-surgical settings, including use in diagnosing and treating chronic conditions.

Here are three alternative uses for peripheral nerve blocks making the rounds in the medical community:

  1. Shingles - This disease causes a painful rash and can leave what’s called post-herpetic neuralgia, or a burning or aching sensation on the affected skin and nerves. Since the shingles rash and neuralgia often occur in the same area by the same particular neural pathway, patients have begun seeking relief through nerve blocks. Pain management practitioners suggest blocking the nerves early for the best results, saying it might even help to ease the outbreak’s symptoms.
  2. Phantom limb pain - Researchers have found that nerve blocks could be used to quiet phantom limb pain experienced by some patients. A team of Israeli and Albanian researchers concluded that intraforaminal epidural blocks “rapidly and reversibly extinguished” phantom pain, although more evidence may be needed to determine the overall rate of success.
  3. Headaches - Many patients suffering from a traumatic brain injury are probably familiar with headaches, and run the risk of developing them into a more serious chronic condition. But researchers in Canada have found that peripheral nerve blocks administered into the scalp are able to provide an immediate therapeutic effect not only in adult patients, but in pediatric patients as well. The results were published in the May 2014 issue of Headache.

For more information on alternative uses for peripheral nerve blocks, click here: Alternative Uses for Peripheral Nerve Blocks.

For over 30 years, Havel’s has offered premium quality anesthesia needles and pain control needles for anesthesiologists, doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals. To see Havel’s selection of anesthesia and pain control needles, please click here: Havel’s Anesthesia and Pain Control Needles.

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2015, and What the New Year Means for Dentistry

A look ahead at the most important issues facing the profession

Dental predictions for 2015

Predictions for the field of dentistry in 2015 include adapting to changing health care reforms and ensuring quality, affordable dental coverage for seniors. (Photo: Bigstock)

It’s time to look ahead in 2015 and see what issues are going to be the most important for dental professionals across the U.S. This year, two big issues should be on the radar of everyone in the field: changes due to the Affordable Care Act and aging baby boomers impacting the system as a whole.

Enter Bill Chase, vice president of marketing for :DentalPlans. The company is known for keeping up with the latest trends in dentistry, and with that, Chase has some interesting predictions for 2015.

For one, he says that the current changes in health care just aren’t enough.

“The Affordable Care Act does little to solve the dental crisis in America, especially for adults,” Chase said in an interview with DentistryIQ. “As baby boomers lose their employer-sponsored dental insurance and realize that Medicare doesn’t provide much in the way of dental coverage, there will be an increasing demand to address this issue.”

The hardest part may be trying to find the right balance between making dental coverage affordable without hurting the field altogether.

“As a nation, we need to sort out ways to provide affordable, quality dental care to everyone while still enabling oral health-care professionals to run profitable businesses. If we can’t do that, we’ll start seeing a big spike in dental tourism, and sadly we’ll also see many people sickened and worse for lack of access to affordable dental care.”

Another issue facing dentistry this year is the oral health of the aging baby boomer population. Chase mentions that about one in four Americans over the age of 65 has lost all of their natural teeth due to a lack of affordable coverage. In order to change these drastic figures, dental health needs to be at the forefront of the national health care conversation.

“Affordable preventive care would go a long way toward keeping seniors’ mouths healthy and smiling. We need to stop treating dental care as a luxury option and bring it into the mainstream health care system where it belongs.”

For more of Bill Chase’s 2015 dental predictions, click here: What Will 2015 Bring for Dental Professionals and Patients?

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