Spring Valley Hospital Opens Hybrid Operating Suite

By | Advancements, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Spring Valley Hospital recently unveiled its $1.8 million hybrid cardiac operating suite. The 930-square foot suite is used for advanced procedures like thoracic aneurysm repairs, minimally invasive heart surgeries, and cardiac catheterizations.

“A hybrid suite allows us to do all the operating and imaging in the same room with little or no disruption to the patient,” explained Nauman Jahangir, MD, cardiovascular thoracic surgeon for The Valley Health System hospitals. “With this particular environment, we are also able to perform more advanced cardiac procedures in a minimally invasive manner.”

Patient Benefits

Patients may initially need one procedure (i.e. balloon angioplasty for heart attack) but a hybrid operating suite can be quickly converted to accommodate a more advanced procedure (i.e. open heart surgery) if needed. This means the medical procedure can be completed at one time rather than ending one procedure and rescheduling the patient for a surgery at another time.

The advanced imaging unit helps physicians better visualize their patients’ organs, tissues and vessels to see what is happening internally, which can lead to optimal surgical outcomes.

Special Features

The hybrid suite is equipped with the GE Discovery IGS 740 equipment, the first laser-guided fluoroscopy (imaging) machine in southern Nevada.

Because of the laser-guiding, the imaging equipment can be moved to a precise location around the OR table, and capture 3-D images of vessels and blockages from head to toe. To keep the laser-guided machine in perfect position, the floor is completely level; any differences can only be the thickness of a dime. The flooring is also made of special material to help support the heavy equipment and provide a seamless floor system that prevents bacterial growth.

The OR table is extra-long and tilts in multiple directions to give physicians the best angle for operating.

Indigo-Clean™ light fixtures and bacteria-reducing flooring help proactively kill bacteria, thus reducing the risk for patients for infections. 

Continued Expansion at Spring Valley Hospital
In addition to the hybrid operating suite, Spring Valley Hospital added another surgical suite to meet the ongoing demand for surgery space by physicians. The hospital opened a four-story tower in June 2016 that features a private entrance and registration for all maternity patients, along with more private rooms for new mothers on the first floor and surgical patients on the second floor.

Spring Valley Hospital also opened an outpatient physical therapy center in 2016, and has recently added pediatric physical/occupational/speech therapy to its roster of services.

About Spring Valley Hospital and The Valley Health System

Spring Valley Hospital, located at Rainbow and Hacienda in southwest Las Vegas, is a full-service, tertiary care facility. The hospital offers emergency care, advanced cardiovascular and neurological services, comprehensive maternity services and a level III neonatal intensive care unit, an acute inpatient rehabilitation unit, outpatient wound/hyperbaric care and outpatient physical/occupational/speech therapy for adults and children.

The Valley Health System (VHS) is a network of six acute care hospitals caring for patients throughout Southern Nevada and surrounding communities. Accredited by The Joint Commission, VHS hospitals provide a comprehensive array of medical services including cardiovascular, neurosciences, maternity and women’s health, emergency and surgical care, along with specialty programs in stroke, chest pain, pediatrics, orthopedics, diabetes, wound care, surgical weight loss/bariatrics, geropsychiatric services and acute inpatient rehabilitation units. For more information, visit www.valleyhealthsystemlv.com

Updated information about The Valley Health System can be found on:
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ValleyHealthLV
YouTube: www.youtube.com/TheValleyHealthSystem
Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center
Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center
Henderson Hospital
Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center
Summerlin Hospital Medical Center
Valley Hospital Las Vegas


Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health Announces February Caregiver Schedule

By | Education, Press Releases, Recent Releases, Uncategorized


Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health announces its February schedule for caregiver programming, including the “Lunch & Learn” weekly education series, a special art series from The Cleveland Museum of Art and Huntington’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease support groups. All programs are designed for family and professional caregivers, featuring topics of interest to those who care for individuals with ALS, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, dementia and other neurocognitive disorders. Complementing excellent patient care, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is focused on providing supportive services and programs to caregivers and family members, maximizing their knowledge, skills and capacity to provide care. 

All educational programs are offered free of charge and are held at 888 W. Bonneville Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89106. For additional information contact Jasmine Sligh at 702-483-6055 or SLIGHJ@ccf.org. Visit the patient and family services program calendar at www.keepmemoryalive.org/socialservices.

Lynne Ruffin-Smith Library

Recently moved to the first floor, the library features hundreds of books, videos and brochures for patient’s families and the community-at-large. Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Receive a free tote bag when you check out a book. The library catalog can be viewed here.

On-site Book of the Month: Before I Forget: Love, Hope and Help & Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s; B. Smith and Dan Gasby

e-Library for Remote Access

The Lynne Ruffin-Smith Library now offers an e-Library selection of resources. People in rural and remote areas of Nevada, as well as those who can’t visit the library at the Clinic, can now access e-Books from their computer, phone, tablet or iPad®. To check out materials from the e-Library register as a library patron and obtain a patron number (library card number) by visiting the library Mondays – Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or call 702.483.6033.

e-Library Book of the Month: A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care; Virginia Bell, MSW

Contact the Library, louruvolibrary@ccf.org, for additional information.

NEW: Music Therapy: “Love and Friendship”    

Wednesdays from 1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Music therapy has many benefits for patients and caregivers impacted by memory or movement disorders, including providing opportunities for memory recall, decreasing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, increasing language and communication skills, aiding in regulating gait and movement coordination and improving social interactions and emotional connections with family and caregivers. Caregivers are encouraged to bring their loved one impacted with a memory or movement disorder to participate in music therapy. To register, email LouRuvoSocialServ@ccf.org

New: Spring Into Health Fare 2017: A Sampling of Everything Health  

Wednesday, March 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Take control of your health and improve your quality of life at the 2017 Spring Into Health ‘Fare!’ This health and wellness experience will include a diverse group of community organizations representing many aspects of the healthcare system that can help you maximize your well-being. The fare is free and open to the public. To RSVP email KeepMemoryAlive.org/SHF17 or call 702-778-6702

Join us and sample our unique fare featuring:

·         Blood drive

·         Dental screenings

·         First aid/CPR demonstrations

·         Health and wellness presentations

·         Health risk assessments

·         Nutritional analyses

·         Vaccinations (bring RX card)

Powerful Tools For Caregivers                                                                                                            

Tuesdays, Feb. 7 – March 14, 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an evidence-based program designed to counteract negative feelings and positively impact the health of a diverse caregiving population including adult children of aging parents, spouses/partners and caregivers at differing stages in their caregiving roles, living situations, financial means and educational backgrounds. This class meets once a week for six consecutive weeks and helps caregivers learn self-care behaviors, how to manage emotions, increase self-efficacy and find community resources. The first session is Tuesday, Feb.7 at the Cleveland Clinic offices at the World Market Center (across from the Center), Building A – second floor conference room. RSVP to louruvosocialserv@ccf.org or call702.778.6702 to register or inquire about the program.

Art in the Afternoon: “You’re Never Too Old”                                                                                      

Monday, Feb. 27, 11 – 12:15 p.m.

Art in the Afternoon, a new program that fosters stimulating conversation, creative thinking and stimulates distant memories among individuals experiencing cognitive impairment and their caregivers.  This engaging program is free and open to anyone with memory loss but an RSVP is requested. Scheduled the fourth Monday of each month from 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. The next session is Monday, Feb. 27. RSVP to louruvosocialserv@ccf.org or call 702.483.6055 to register or inquire about the program.

Art Explorations: Art Therapy                                                                                                                  

Monday, Feb. 13, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Art Explorations – Art Therapy is a new program designed to help ease behaviors and improve quality of life in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, Multiple System Atrophy and their care partners. Participants will engage in the therapeutic art making experience with discussions on the art making process, the finished product and the feelings that emerge with it. The program is complimentary but preregistration is required. The next session is Monday, Feb. 13. RSVP to louruvosocialserv@ccf.org or call 702.483.6055 to inquire about the program.

Barbara “Spicy Lady” Edmonds – Lunch & Learn Educational Series                              

Wednesdays from 12 – 1 p.m.

Feel free to bring your lunch and we will provide drinks and dessert.

·         Feb. 1: Join the Fight Against Medicare Fraud – Lori J. Powers – Nevada Senior Medical Patrol

Approximately $60 billion is wasted every year due to fraud, errors and abuse in the Medicare system. If you are a Medicare beneficiary or caregiver learn how to PROTECT your identity, DETECT and REPORT fraud, and AVOID senior scams.

·         Feb. 8: The Opiate Epidemic: A National Problem with Local Implications – Robert W. Bales, MD,MPH,FAAFP – Cleveland Clinic  

Learn the scope and consequences of the current epidemic of opiate addiction and the evolution of the current state of opiate use in the United States. Find out what resources are available to treat addiction in general as well as opiate addiction in particular.

·         Feb. 15: Are You Prepared and Protected? Staying Current with Legal Tools and Changes in Law for 2017

Learn the pros and cons of wills and trusts, changes in law for advance directives, how to navigate the POLST form power of attorney and the impact of joint tenancy. Discuss the signs of elder abuse and exploitation and get answers about long-term care planning, five year planning and VA benefits.

·         Feb. 22: HealthyBrains.org – Protect and Maintain Your Brain Health – Brook Hurd – Cleveland Clinic

HealthyBrains.org is an interactive platform that provides unique brain health assessment tools and much more. Learn the benefits of joining the app including real time assessment data, customized tips and reports, along with opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

**Filmed and archived Lunch & Learn presentations are available for viewing at your convenience.**

The Learning Arts

Dynamic conversations about art, history and more through videoconferencing.All art education programs are held at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Event is open to the public and free of charge. Scheduled 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Contact Verla, 702.778.6702, niebuhv@ccf.org for additional information.

Feb. 7: Chocolate: From Treasure to Treat – Royal Botanical Gardens

Feb.21: Relief Print Making – A Japanese/German Comparison (Part II) – Cleveland Clinic

Frontotemporal Disorders (FTD) & Progressive Aphasia (PPA) Care Partners Support Group

Wednesday, Feb.1 and Feb. 15 in the evenings

Those interested in more information, including registration can email labelld@ccf.org.

Huntington’s Disease Support Groups                                                                                                

Thursday, Feb. 16, from 12 – 1 p.m.

The group is held for gene positive individuals (asymptomatic and early stage) and adult family members. Interested individuals can contact Donna, 702-483-6035 or municd@ccf.org.

Memory Loss Caregiver Support Group:                                                                                        

Wednesdays from 1:15 – 2:45 p.m.

This weekly group is held for adult family members who provide care and/or support for loved ones with memory loss. Facilitated by Donna Munic-Miller, PhD. For additional information, email municd@ccf.org or call 702-483-6035. First time attendees must register with Donna.

Parkinson’s Disease Support Group                                                                                                              

2nd Tuesday of every month from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This group is held for early stage individuals and adult family members who provide care and/or support for loved ones with Parkinson’s disease. Separate groups meet at the same time. Phone screening for new early stage participants is required. For additional information contact JoAnne 702-483-6006 or hicksos@ccf.org.  


Karen Rubel Named Chief Operating Officer of Nathan Adelson Hospice

By | On The Move, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Carole Fisher, president and chief executive officer of Nathan Adelson Hospice, announced today that Karen Rubel has been promoted to the position of chief operating officer at the state’s largest non-profit hospice.

Prior to this promotion, Rubel had served as vice president of development for the Nathan Adelson Hospice Foundation since 2007. In her new role, her responsibilities will include: Clinical operations of the hospice, and ultimately managing the operational aspects of the organizational goals.

“Karen Rubel has been an invaluable asset for Nathan Adelson Hospice and has assisted in achieving our continued success in Southern Nevada as a whole and in the hospice industry,” Fisher said. “Her compassion, dedication and knowledge are well suited for her new role. We are excited for what the future holds.”

Among Rubel’s efforts at the hospice have been: Overseeing the construction completion and relocation of the organization’s inpatient facility on the west side of the valley; coordinating all foundation and strategic planning efforts; overseeing a plethora of fundraising events; and implementing public relations and marketing strategies as well as a new hospice “Advance Directives” effort.

Rubel earned a B.A. in English from Eastern Illinois University, and an M.A. in Administration from Dominican University in Illinois.  She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Girls Scouts of Southern Nevada.

About Nathan Adelson Hospice

Nathan Adelson Hospice, the trusted partner in providing hospice care and palliative medicine for 37 years, is the largest non-profit hospice in Southern Nevada, caring for an average of 325 patients daily. In 1978, Nathan Adelson Hospice began providing home care hospice service in Southern Nevada with the mission to offer patients and their loved ones with comprehensive end-of-life care and influence better care for all in the community.  In 1983, Nathan Adelson Hospice opened an in-patient hospice in Las Vegas, and today the hospice is recognized as a national model for superior hospice care.

The mission of the hospice is to be the Hospice of Choice, the Employer of Preference and a Training Center of Excellence.  Its vision is simple: no one should end the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain. The hospice also is home to The Center for Compassionate Care, a non-profit counseling agency providing individual, group and family counseling services to address grief, loss and issues related to surviving life-threatening illnesses. For more information, visit www.nah.org.

Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican Challenges Employees to Take on 50 Acts of Kindness in a Week

By | Charity Organizations/Events/Fundraiser, Press Releases, Recent Releases

Partners with Josh Stevens Foundation to Bring Challenge to Over 150 Schools

At Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican, humankindness drives every interaction with the people we serve, and is the foundation of the policies we champion. During the week of January 23-27, St. Rose will encourage employees to take part in The Great Kindness Challenge, which includes a suggested 50-item Acts of Kindness checklist to complete by January 27.

Locally, St. Rose is working in partnership with the Josh Stevens Foundation, a local nonprofit organization that helps schools, businesses and youth organizations across the nation to recognize and celebrate heartfelt acts of kindness. With their help, more than 150 Nevada schools are participating in The Great Kindness Challenge. Participating schools will also give out the 50-item checklist and encourage their students to complete that checklist by January 27. Students who complete the checklist will receive a gift from the Josh Stevens Foundation.

The 2016 Great Kindness Challenge was a record-breaking year with more than 5 million students completing more than 250 million acts of kindness, and this year we are set to have even more students participate. In addition to serving as a presenting sponsor of the Great Kindness Challenge, many of Dignity Health’s more than 62,000 executives, employees, and physicians will be taking the Great Kindness Challenge alongside the students that week, effectively “matching” their good deeds in hospital, clinic, and office settings.

“St. Rose is committed to practicing humankindness every day in our hospitals and care centers,” said Brian Brannman, senior vice president of operations for Dignity Health Nevada. “We are focused on putting in place policies that strengthen the human connection with our doctors, nurses, and caregivers so every guest feels welcomed, safe, comfortable, listened to, and respected. Our mission calls us to collaborate with organizations that share the same goals and help spread the word about the power of kindness, especially within schools.”

For more information on The Great Kindness Challenge and Kids For Peace, go to http://www.greatkindnesschallenge.org. For more information on the Josh Stevens Foundation, please visit http://www.joshstevensfoundation.org.

 About Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican

As the community’s only not-for-profit, religiously sponsored health system, Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican has been guided by the vision and core values of the Adrian Dominican Sisters for more than 65 years. As the Henderson and Las Vegas communities grow, the three St. Rose Dominican hospitals (the Rose de Lima, Siena and San Martín Campuses) and more than 3,400 employees will continue the Sisters’ mission of serving people in need. St. Rose Dominican is a member of the 21-state Dignity Health network of nearly 11,000 physicians, 56,000 employees, and more than 300 care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. For more information, visit our website at strosehospitals.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or our Blog. St. Rose is hiring! To apply for an open position, visit our careers website.


Technology Plays Big Role in Future of Health Care

By | Innovation

There was a moment of levity at the AT&T Developer Summit Jan. 3 and 4 when a team of young developers tackled the problem of contemporary office culture through a program that identifies and shames the office employee who takes the last cup of coffee and neglects to make a new pot. Well-executed and resonating with the audience voting in real time, it lost to the more sobering Mend Me app designed to help patients dealing with wrist mobility issues with the help of a physical therapy glove.

It was the second health care win of the day at the Developer Summit held at The Palms, following a $20,000 win for Waypoint, a team of designers who created the augmented reality application that uses a HoloLens headset for non-pharmacist health care workers needing to quickly and accurately locate and fill prescriptions.

The contest, part of AT&T’s Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Challenge, gave health care technology even more prominence at the Summit where industry leaders, developers and content creators huddled to share information and emerging technology just days before the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show. With technology responsible for sweeping transformations in health care from equipment and research to diagnostics, data, treatment and follow-up care, developers are tapping in.

As was noted during the keynotes, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are not “simply buzzwords” but programs integrated with health care. In addition to smart cities, self-driving cars, entertainment and agriculture, the potential in health care technology seems limitless. Waypoint beat out 67 entries for the win at AT&T’s first VR/AR Challenge, using IoT and open-source connections and demonstrated its solution to prescription-related emergencies and deaths within the health care industry through WaypointRX. The augmented reality experience receives electronic prescriptions, displays them on a headset that directs users to a prescription location within the pharmacy, then provides a 3-D model of the pill and dosage information before sending the user via a digital pointer to the location of the next prescription.

Waypoint Team member Umar Arshad says his wife is a surgeon and has to rely on medical techs, not pharmacists, to fill prescriptions and provide Federal Drug Administration information on pharmacy errors. The team says that medical techs might fill as many as 150 prescriptions a day, and WaypointRX gives hospital employees and techs the trained knowledge of a pharmacist. With its prize money, Waypoint plans to continue developing its prototype and purchase another Hololens kit.

AT&T also showcased the first product to come out of its Foundry for Connected Health at the Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute in Houston, Texas, in which the startup Aira designed a program incorporating smart glasses with a video device to assist the blind and visually impaired by having a remote agent watching the wearer’s environment and describing it back to the user. AT&T provides wireless connectivity to Aira, whose product promises to help clients navigate urban environments, retail stores and other public arenas.

In a company blog, Chris Penrose, senior vice president, Internet of Things at AT&T, was quoted in a story about the Foundry’s June opening that the telecommunications conglomerate had been listening to the health care industry about current challenges, including shortage of doctors and nurses and rising health costs, and Robert Robbins, Texas Medical Center’s president and CEO, said that digital health “is the next frontier for innovation as we work to improve the way we take care of patients in our hospitals, ultimately extending that care beyond hospital walls and into patients’ daily lives at home.”

UNLV’s Community Health Worker Program Aims to Bridge Barriers to Quality Care

By | Education

Wanted: health care professionals, no medical degree required.

That’s the pitch for a new UNLV School of Medicine program that aims to fill “a vital gap” in the health care system by producing community health workers who can help patients overcome social and physical barriers preventing them from receiving quality medical care.

Community health workers generally aren’t medical professionals and don’t dispense health care advice. Rather they are guides who can help members of underserved communities access health care, which could mean anything from arranging a ride to the doctor’s office and ensuring that dietary needs are being met to assisting in a search for housing.

The university launched the 10-week program last fall in partnership with the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange — the agency that provides Nevadans with Affordable Care Act coverage. Seven of the first 10 graduates who completed the training in late October are now either employed as community health workers or using those skills in other jobs, said Pamela Beal, program organizer and associate dean of clinical affairs at UNLV’s School of Medicine.


Saru Aggarwal, a medical assistant who works at the UNLV Ackerman Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Solutions — one of the medical school’s clinics — was one of the first graduates.

She said it opened her eyes to parts of the patient experience that she hadn’t considered as a medical professional, especially the experiences of undocumented immigrants and other medically underserved populations.

“When you’re actually talking to these people and figuring out their stories, it’s amazing what they would tell you,” she said. “It’s amazing where they’ve been and why they haven’t been to a place we all take for granted” — a doctor’s office.

The program to train the workers was initially funded by a one-year grant from the state health exchange, which expects some of the graduates can help fill a void left by the shrinking number of insurance brokers and agents in Nevada participating in the individual health insurance marketplace.

Because the program also provides certified application counselor training to students who want it, the program’s graduates who seek out the training will be qualified to help enroll clients in ACA insurance programs, explained Silver State Health Insurance Exchange spokeswoman Janel Davis.

Neither Medicare nor Medicaid currently reimburse health care providers for community health worker services, Beal said, though UNLV hopes that will change soon. In the meantime, organizations that employ those workers can seek reimbursement if they also serve as certified application counselors, she said.

The insurance exchange and university emphasized the importance of drawing community health workers from Native American, Spanish-speaking and rural residents to serve groups that have higher uninsured rates and are medically underserved. That ensures that the workers can connect with patients on a different level because they have similar backgrounds and shared experiences, Beal said.


“They’re part of the community. They’re trustworthy. Families can communicate with them and they can connect families with resources,” she said.

A big part of that is communicating about seemingly nonmedical issues that can still directly affect the individuals’ well-being, Beal said.

For example, patients who are struggling to find housing, a job or insurance are unlikely to be concerned about adhering to a schedule of doctor’s visits or a medicine regimen, she said.

“If a family doesn’t have food, that’s what the family’s going to worry about,” Beal said. “They’re not going to worry about a medical appointment.”

The Affordable Care Act called for expanding community health worker programs, banking that they would save money down the line by preventing relatively minor health issues that could be addressed through early intervention from becoming costly major problems later.

While the ACA’s future is in doubt amid repeal threats by the Republican-led Congress, UNLV considers community health workers integral to the future of health care.

The medical school plans to seek further funding through the exchange and other sources to continue the program and place graduates at the school’s medical clinics or other health care providers’ offices.

Community health worker programs aren’t new. The programs were seen as a “magic bullet” in the 1960s and ’70s but by the late 1980s had largely failed to meet expectations and were terminated, according to a study last year by University of Pennsylvania and New York University researchers.


Applying the lessons of those earlier failures can create effective programs, and one key suggestion is folding the workers into medical settings while keeping them focused on non-medical issues, the researchers said.

In addition to benefiting clients, graduates of the UNLV program can expect to find plentiful employment opportunities.

Job growth for community health workers between 2014 and 2024 in the United States is predicted to reach 15 percent, more than double the 7 percent overall job growth expected during that period and outpacing job growth in health education and social work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The whole idea was so they could become employable and have different types of skill sets,” Beal said. “They could be community health workers, they could (also) be certified application counselors.”

How a Las Vegas Hospital United ED Docs with Hospitalists to Reduce ED Overcrowding

By | Advancements, Hospitals, Innovation

Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center’s integration created a ‘one team’ culture

Like many hospitals, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, Las Vegas was receiving more patients in its emergency department than it was equipped to manage regularly.

One of the largest Medicaid providers in Nevada and situated minutes from the rowdiness of the Las Vegas Strip, Sunrise was struggling with hold hours in its ED. In its worst month, the hospital experienced 28,000 hold hours, with the normal average nearing 20,000 per month, says Alan Keesee, COO, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center.

Ever since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and Nevada’s decision to expand Medicaid, Sunrise’s utilization of emergency services has increased double-digits each year. Last year, the Las Vegas hospital received 157,000 ED visits, the largest in the state, by far, says Keesee. With well over half of those visits attributed to Medicaid patients, he added.

Something had to be done to ease the burden on providers. Keesee says leadership saw an opportunity to streamline processes and get patients up to the floors and reduce patients’ length of stay overall.

Sunrise decided to integrate its emergency department and hospital medicine teams into one — unifying them under a single medical director.

The result was a one-team, one culture philosophy, says Keesee. The hospital’s efforts to increase the number of providers through recruitment and the development of team-based models for observational patients and protocols as part of the integration has also helped reduce hold hours.

Whereas most hospitals have their observational patients spread across the facility, Sunrise created a 30-bed observation unit, and dedicated providers and case managers to oversee that unit and monitor results, which has helped increase the number of patients discharged prior to 11 a.m. to 50 percent, up from 10. These measures have also contributed to a one day decline in length of stay for patients.

And not only have those hold hours dropped 79 percent in the ED to 6,000 hours per month, but there has been a palpable change in culture and care. One of the most noticeable changes has come from a nursing standpoint, says Keesee. Nurses now know who is on a team that day, and trust has greatly improved since having a dedicated leadership team focused on shared goals. Nurses will call and text physicians, and are able to know who their doctor is that day, says Keesee. “It’s really increased overall nursing and physician collaboration,” he added.

Keeping the momentum going and avoiding old pitfalls is always a concern after a large integration. Keesee notes that in order to keep pushing forward, leadership needs to come together to continually look for areas to collectively improve.

“You can’t do that in a silo, just the ED, just the hospitalists, you have to really have all those voices at the table, to make the improvements [and] continue to move forward,” says Keesee.

“If you’re disconnected, as an administration, with your medical leadership it’s really hard to move the organization forward with patients.”

Leveraging HPC for Alzheimer’s Research and Beyond

By | Innovation, Research Facilities

In the video from the HPC User Forum in Tucson, Joseph Lombardo from the UNLV Supercomputing Center presents: Leveraging HPC for Alzheimer’s Research and Beyond.

“The National Supercomputing Center supports research projects at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas by providing a full-service supercomputing facility, plus available training and services, to academic and research institutions, government and private industry. NSCEE’s focus is on R&D related to energy, the environment, medical informatics and health care delivery. In this presentation, Lombardo will highlight results from an Alzheimer’s research project and the NSCEE’s new system at the Supernap and how it is being used to advance research for HPC users in both academia/R&D and commercial industry. Lombardo will also highlight two emerging projects; the New School of Medicine and new Technology park.”

First Genomics Startup Company Centered Around UNLV Biotechnologies Formed

By | Advancements

Exciting personalized medicine advancements based on UNLV research are on the horizon, thanks to Heligenics LLC, the first genomics spinoff company to emerge from UNLV.

Heligenics was formed to commercialize several biotechnologies created in the laboratory of Martin Schiller, executive director of UNLV’s Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine, including:

  • The GigaAssay™ a high-volume gene-screening system used to screen for interactions between genes and drugs
  • High-confidence personalized nutrigenetic reports
  • HIV Toolbox, an integrated database and web application for HIV drug-­target discovery

“Heligenics is the first of hopefully many commercial applications of our genomics technology,” Schiller said. “We thank UNLV and the state of Nevada for their support and for allowing this launch as part of our goal to return economic benefit to the community from our research.”

Heligenics anticipates that the first two projects to come to market will be the GigaAssay™ system and the nutrigenetic reports, which may be app-based.

The GigaAssay™ system allows genomics researchers and drug companies to measure millions of cells individually at once, thereby enabling an entire portfolio of products or diagnostics to emerge from a single experiment. For instance, variation in a cancer gene mutant can be measured to track disease progression, resulting in new treatment protocols or the development of new drugs that can attack the mutation. TheGigaAssay™ system can also be used to improve or discover new therapeutic antibodies, proteins that normally bind to and help the body fight pathogens or aberrant cells. GigaAssay™ results would allow such an antibody to be repurposed to bind to any protein variation and leveraged more effectively in the treatment of cancer and immunological disorders.

The nutrigenetic reports will provide patients with the information they need to understand the way their genes and diet affect one another. These reports can help patients create personalized diets, based on their unique genetics, that could reduce their risk for disease and improve their health. The nutrigenetic reports will be generated from saliva samples gathered via a direct-to-consumer mail service.

Additional technologies are also in commercial planning, including SciReader™, a web application that automatically and instantaneously displays definitions for scientific documents.