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PinnacleHealth to open clinic focused on improving surgical outcomes

A new clinic, designed to support patients who are at high-risk for complications during orthopedic surgery, is opening this month in Harrisburg.

Harrisburg-based PinnacleHealth System is opening the PinnacleHealth Surgery Optimization Clinic in the Polyclinic Campus at 2501 N. Third St.

The clinic’s mission is to reduce surgical complications and same-day surgery cancellations, as well as reduce hospital readmissions and shorten hospital stays.

Surgeons will refer patients to the clinic before surgery to have their health status assessed. After a patient is assessed at the clinic, the registered nurse or nurse practitioner who saw the patient will review the results with the patient’s surgeon.

The surgeon can then recommend the patient improve their health before surgery. Interventions for the patient could include new treatment, lifestyle changes or referral to a specialty doctor for additional therapies or simply.

Conditions such as smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco use of weight issues can have negative effects on surgical outcomes, according to PinnacleHealth.

Because it considers these conditions more directly before surgery, the clinic will broaden PinnacleHealth’s perspective beyond the surgical procedure – the health system will be looking at the whole person, according to Dr. Joseph Answine, medical director of the clinic.

In January 2015 PinnacleHealth launched a similar program on a limited scale, focusing on elective total knee, total hip and spine patients. It found that patients who were engaged in their care prior to having surgery experienced less anxiety.

PinnacleHealth also hopes the approach will improve health outcomes.

“Taking this holistic approach can result in reduced risk for infection and decreased recovery time and pain after surgery,” Answine said.

Lenay Ruhl

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