St. Mary Medical Center is a Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecology (COEMIG) and for Robotic Surgery (COERS). These complementary designations, awarded by the Surgical Review Corporation (SRC), attest that the gynecologists and clinical teams at St. Mary Medical Center bring the highest levels of knowledge, expertise and professionalism to the practice of women’s healthcare.
For the hospital and medical staff, these Center of Excellence designations are further confirmation of excellence from a nationally recognized best practice healthcare organization. This recognition attests that gynecology patients at St. Mary Medical Center can continue to expect a quality experience while undergoing minimally invasive robotic surgeries, according to OB/GYN Douglas Dedelow, DO.
“A Center of Excellence represents a standardized method of approaching patient care,” said Dedelow, who is a Community Care Network (CCNI) practitioner at St. Mary Medical Center. “The reviewers come in and look at our practices and help guide us on standardizing every part of the patient experience, making it more efficient, safer for the patient and continuously improving outcomes.”
COEMIG status recognizes hospitals and surgeons around the world who provide exceptional minimally invasive gynecologic surgical care and who are dedicated to continuously improving healthcare quality and patient safety, according to SRC. The accreditation process is rigorous and focused on the hospital’s adherence to surgical best practices and evidence of quality outcomes for patients.
“St. Mary Medical Center has undergone a process where they obtain certification demonstrating excellence in pre-operative, inter-operative and post-operative care for our patients,” explained OB/GYN Travis Haldeman, DO, another CCNI surgeon who was involved in the accreditation effort. “Our patients know that, being a center of excellence, we have achieved these quality goals and have a program in place for optimal patient care.”
St. Mary Medical Center has been a COEMIG-accredited hospital for a number of years and received reaccreditation in 2017. In 2018, the hospital also was accredited as a Center of Excellence for Robotic Surgery (COERS). This designation was determined based on extensive, documented use of the da Vinci® robotic platform for minimally invasive surgery in a variety of disciplines including gynecology, general, urology, bariatric and thoracic surgeries. Overall, surgeons at St. Mary Medical Center have performed more than 1,300 robotic procedures. Common gynecologic procedures performed using da Vinci include partial and total hysterectomies, diagnostic laparoscopy and pelvic-support procedures.
“Procedures with da Vinci result in less hospital time, less risk of infection, and less pain for the patient,” Dedelow said. “Many times patients can go back to work more quickly. Being a Center of Excellence for Robotic Surgery means that everybody in the hospital is on the same page, from when the patient walks in the door to when the patient leaves.”
Robotic surgery bears some similarity to laparoscopic surgery, but Haldeman said the robot offers distinct advantages to patients and providers.
“The goal of any minimally invasive surgery is to provide a similar surgical experience, but perform it through smaller incisions,” he explained. “The robot gives us an advantage in that the instrumentation is superior to that used in traditional laparoscopy. We are able to use ‘wristed’ instruments which allow us to get into smaller spaces and perform the procedures that are a little bit more technically advanced.”
An added benefit of da Vinci for gynecology patients is that physicians can partner with surgeons from other fields to complete multiple procedures in a single surgical session.
“Commonly, I work with another surgeon to accomplish different goals during the same procedure time,” Dedelow said. “So the patient only has anesthesia once. I perform my part, and then a general surgeon or an urologist comes in to accomplish their goals. If you combine the two procedures in one operating room experience, then it takes less time and results in less pain and even less cost.”
“St. Mary Medical Center is proud to provide excellence in comprehensive women’s care to patients in Northwest Indiana,” said CEO Janice Ryba. “Our dual Center of Excellence designations for minimally invasive gynecology and robotic surgery are a reflection of that commitment. I want to thank our surgeons and surgical staff members who have worked so diligently to earn and maintain these important achievements. The certification process validates the team’s steadfast dedication to maintaining best practices and delivering outstanding quality care to our patients each and every day.”
St. Mary Medical Center is one of three Community Healthcare System hospitals to use the da Vinci robotic system. Community Hospital in Munster and St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago also utilize da Vinci technology.
Drs. Dedelow and Haldeman are part of CCNI’s Innovative Women’s Health practice with offices in Hobart, Valparaiso, Portage, Merrillville and Winfield. To make an appointment, call 219-942-8620.
To learn more about the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit COMHS.org.