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Connecting patients with surgeons, faster
Wait times for hip and knee surgery in Leth- bridge are being trimmed. A project at the Chinook Regional Hospital has been stream-
lining and improving consultations among patients,
family physicians and orthopedic surgeons.
As part of the central referral process, the hospital’s orthopedic surgeons meet with family physicians in Lethbridge and surrounding communities
to educate them about the process. Patients can
choose their surgeon.
“The ability to slot patients into vacant orthopedic
blocks provides us the opportunity to meet capacity in the number of joints we can do. Thus, there
is a positive impact on wait times,” says Carole
Heggedal, director of Surgery at Chinook Regional.
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Fernhout says the
project is coming together very well and surgeons
are getting excellent input from family physicians.
“Our whole goal is to reduce wait times for patients
to get their surgeries completed,” he says.
The project also involves greater collaboration
between pre- and post-op rehabilitation teams to
ensure more-thorough patient education and follow-up. This work often results in shorter hospital stays
and better patient recovery.
“Patients often have the same questions, so our
nursing and rehabilitation pre-op teams have
started group education, and providing common
materials we can share, no matter where the patient
first encounters the health system,” says Jennifer
Kowalchuk, a total joint replacement co-ordinator at
Plans are underway for the project to offer education sessions in rural communities, so patients don’t
have travel to Lethbridge.
Reported by JANiNE ECKLuND
Dr. Mark Fernhout