Every caregiver strives to expand the services they provide to their patients, while also improving quality of care and safety. These are certainly our goals at the Children’s of Alabama orthopedic clinic.
We will expand our services later this month as we welcome a new surgeon, Phillip Ashley, M.D. Dr. Ashley, who grew up in the Pacific Islands as the child of missionaries, comes to us from the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas. He will focus on general pediatric orthopedics as well as limb and hip deformities. We are looking forward to having him as part of our team.
We also are introducing a new technology for spine lengthening. For years, we have implanted rods in spinal columns of young children who have progressive spine curvature. We would implant the rod without fusing it and perform additional surgery approximately every six months to lengthen the rod as the child grew. Now we can implant magnetic rods. Surgery is still required for the initial implant, but the rods are magnetically controlled and can be lengthened 2 to 3 millimeters at a time in the clinic without anesthesia and the corresponding risk or expense. Most patients tolerate the procedure fairly well. We are one of the first clinics in the state to use this technology, and we have been able to treat patients from Muscle Shoals to Dothan.
As we grow the variety and quantity of services we provide, we continue to emphasize quality of care and safety for our patients. We have a number of initiatives in that regard. For instance, we no longer perform routine chest X-rays immediately following scoliosis surgery. After monitoring results of those X-rays and checking national scoliosis surgery databases, we discovered that in the immediate postoperative period there were rarely findings that required intervention. For the most part, the X-rays proved to be an unnecessary cost and inconvenience for our patients.
We are also seeking to reduce cast problems by developing a formal process for evaluating casts from each provider with specific safety points.
These are just two of several recent initiatives to improve patient safety and the value of the services we provide. That effort is reflected in our top 50 ranking from U.S. News & World Report.
Adding a new surgeon and continuing to work on quality and safety initiatives as we improve technology all reflect our desire to be available and provide top quality care for our patients.
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