The North Dakota Surgery Center has infused a hometown feel into a national healthcare trend. A group of Grand Forks doctors that all grew up here and still call the GRAND region home, have partnered with a Nashville-based healthcare entity to offer a unique surgery center that follows the same-day surgery trend taking place in major metro areas across the country.
David Schall, orthopedic surgeon and University of North Dakota graduate, says the NDSC that was completed earlier this year and officially opened in October, is a “blow your mind,” type of facility that he and the other doctors are energized and impressed by every day they work there.
The idea behind the center, and others like it, is to provide a more efficient, flexible and controlled setting for doctors and patients. All procedures are same-day. From knee replacements to eye work to spines, every surgery performed at the center is designed to send the patient home in 23 hours or less after completion.
Robert Clayburgh, long-time Grand Forks surgeon and current medical director of the NDSC, says the strategy is great for both patients and doctors. “Our facility sees extremely high patient satisfaction and much lower infection rates,” Clayburgh says. A same-day surgery approach decreases the amount of infection exposure a patient deals with in comparison to other facilities. Larger procedures, however, must be done at hospital-type locations.
Doctors affiliated with the center are allowed greater freedom to implement cutting edge technology, material and procedures quickly, according to Schall, and the flexibility and control allows for the best options with treatment and helping expedite the recovery process. There is no long waiting period or committee review process required to add a new piece of technology into a surgery, Schall says. For a group of doctors that spends a great deal of time reading or learning about the latest in techniques, Schall says it is a great advantage to patients at the NDSC.
The facility offers state-of-the-art operating rooms, modern aesthetics worthy of an interior designer and the type of setting that Schall says both doctors and patients would copy if they had a choice for creating the best possible surgery center. Schall, like the other doctors, also performs operations at several other locations. The NDSC, however, gives him the most joy. Even after an 11-hour day in the operating room, he was energized and excited to talk with us about the uniqueness of the center and why every day there doesn’t feel like work.
The Nashville group handles the administration and operations side of the center, and the doctors decide what they need, from staff to technology. Both Schall and Clayburgh were happy to have the control. The center’s staff was handpicked by the doctors. Procedure costs are always on-par with, or lower, than more traditional surgical centers.
When the group of Grand Forks doctors and the Nashville team first started talking about the region, Clayburgh says the Nashville team quickly saw the need and opportunity for a facility. Schall’s work with knee replacements helps to illuminate why same-day surgery centers are on the rise. More than 1.2 million knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year and by 2026 the vast majority of all the procedures will be done at center’s like the NDSC. (The day we visited to capture photos of Schall, he had already performed three knee surgeries by noon).
“We all want to be known for providing the best quality care possible to our patients,” Schall says, “and with this new facility, we can move towards that goal.” G
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PHOTOS BY: SUSTAD PHOTOGRAPHY
From Issue 1, 2019