Georgia | 50 states of population health

SKIP PUTNAM. CEO of Northside Hospital Forsyth (Cumming, Ga.) 

On the top challenge 

"The most pressing issue facing our patients is the cost of healthcare. As a hospital, how do we tackle that?

On the hospital's response

"For one, we're working on keeping people out of the hospital because, obviously, keeping them out of the hospital keeps the costs down, not only for patients, but for the whole healthcare system. If patients have congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-related issues, you can send them to a clinic so they don't have to end up at an urgent care center or the emergency department. Then you can keep them out of the hospital and get them working on their recovery. So, for congestive heart failure as an example, you can go through different options to keep patients healthy and monitor them so they stay out of the hospital.

The second initiative the hospital is working on is a shift from inpatient to outpatient care. So many procedures can now be performed on an outpatient basis. Patients can go home; they're not having to spend time in the hospital around sick people. It's much easier to sleep at home, be taken care of at home, all those types of things. One example is we have shifted a huge percentage of our hip and knee replacement surgery to the outpatient setting, so patients are up and walking around quickly, which limits the potential of blood clots and infections. We have specific guidelines patients must follow — they're moving around, they sleep better at home, they have less chance of falling at home because they know the area. Plus, it keeps the costs down and patients are active quicker — that's better for them and better for everybody."

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