Blue Water Surgery Center Performs Its First Total Joint Procedure

From lower costs and attentive care to a reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections and at-home recovery, there are many benefits for patients who have total joint replacements in the ambulatory surgery center setting. The team at Blue Water Surgery Center in Port Huron, Michigan, recently completed its first total joint procedure, preparing the center to offer these benefits to patients in the market.

“We discussed performing total joint procedures at the center for years. We worried that the population in our market would not want to have such procedures at an ASC,” explained Karen Squires, Center Leader at Blue Water Surgery Center. “One of our doctors began exploring his cases and encouraging the team to investigate what would be needed to make the surgeries happen in our center.”

After exploration, the center staff took a year and a half to fully prepare to bring total joints to the center. During the preparation time, the center staff completed the large amount of due diligence needed to successfully complete their first knee replacement surgery.

Blue Water’s commitment to ensure the first total joint procedure was a success was evident in the amount of preparation the center completed. The team conducted a full run-through of the procedure to rehearse, prepare and ensure everything went as planned. The entire staff, clinicians and support roles, were engaged and invested in the process. “Each member of the team brought positive energy to this initiative. It was truly a team effort,” added Karen.

The Total Joints Toolkit is a helpful resource the center used in the preparation process as well. “We did not reinvent the wheel but used all of the resources around us to ensure we had a safe and successful outcome for our patient. There were templates and best practices from other centers in the network at our disposal.”

“We worked with the vendors, our AMSURG Materials Manager Bryan Wolf, our Operations Lead Linda White and the Total Joints Coordinator Troy Sparks to ensure we were fully prepared and resourced,” Karen said. “Our vendors and ASMURG were helpful and supportive from start to finish.”

One of the key elements of adding total joint procedures at the ASC is identifying the right patients.  Generally, younger, healthy patients with the right ensure make for the best candidates. Active lifestyles are also an important factor in having the procedure completed in the ASC. “Our first procedure, a knee replacement, took a total of three hours with great pain management. Our patient was also able to manage pain well at home.”

With one successful procedure complete, Blue Water plans to explore bringing more total joints procedures into the center. “We definitely want to get a few more procedures under our belt before we begin marketing the procedures at the center,” explained Karen, “Our goal is to expand our work in spine and total joints. We have also implemented a study for multimodal pain management.”

“I have been the Center Leader since 2006 and have always said total joints would never happen … in 2019, my biggest lesson and reminder is to never say never,” Karen concluded.