2005 News Stories

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First year birthday's are a big deal to many in Hawai’i. It's no less the case for the Women's Health Center (WHC) at The Queen's Medical Center, which just celebrated its first year.

It really was like a birth for the many who worked on developing the WHC, which opened its doors in the winter of 2004. Thousands of Hawai’i women were surveyed, Queen's physicians gave their input and local and national health trends were analyzed. The work has paid off— The WHC has so far surpassed expectations in more ways than one. Patients have consistently indicated that the WHC "exceeds or greatly exceeds" expectations by 96 to 98 percent.

The WHC offers Hawaii's women:
*A medical director specializing in women's health.
*Access to Hawaii's best doctors and medical experts in virtually every specialty.
*Mammography, ultrasound, bone density & stereotactic biopsy diagnostic services.
*Osteoporosis evaluation and treatment.
*Physical therapy for pregnancy, postpartum, lymphedema, osteoporosis, incontinence and pelvic pain.
*Menopause counseling.
*Cardiovascular risk assessment.
*Genetic consultation.
*Breast cancer support group.
*Health education classes.
*Exercise classes.
*Massage and Healing Touch.

There's still more to come. The WHC is working with Queen's oncologists to develop a strong, comprehensive breast health program.

The future is bright after just one year, and a celebration truly is in order. Queen's Women's Health Center began as a concept on paper and has grown to become an exceptional women's center, unique to the women of Hawai’i.

That researchers in Hawai'i are committed to addressing Native Hawaiian health issues is a given, but now the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized the importance of supporting this research. The NIH recently awarded a $6 million partnership program grant to The Queen's Medical Center and the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (DNHH) at the University of Hawai’i John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). In 2002, The Queen's Health Systems contributed $5 million to JABSOM to create and develop DNHH, which addresses the health disparity issues of Native Hawaiians in collaboration with QMC and other organizations with similar missions.

Over the next five years, Todd Seto, MD, MPH, cardiologist and medical director of the Center for Best Health Care Practices at QMC, will work with Marjorie K. Mau, MD, MS, professor and chair of DNHH, to conduct four studies aimed at improving heart disease disparities in Native Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders.

The partnership program awarded the NIH grant is called the Heart Disparities Partnership Program. In addition to QMC and DNHH, the program includes the Kalihi-Palama Community Health Center, Kokua Kalihi Valley Community Health Center, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and Waimanalo Health Center.

To examine heart failure disparities, the team led by Drs. Seto and Mau will: determine if access to diagnostic studies are feasible at the community level, determine if an intervention for heart failure patients will improve health outcomes and quality of life, evaluate the potential causes of heart failure among Native Hawaiians and Pacific islanders compared with other ethnic groups in Hawai’i and identify families who may have several members affected by heart failure.

A hand-carried ultrasound device designed to detect abnormal heart function may make community level diagnosis possible. The researchers want to determine if the devices are as accurate as the much larger ones in hospitals. They will also see if community health center staff can be trained to take simple readings and tell researchers which patients need care. If this is possible, then the usual long wait for diagnosis at hospitals would be eliminated.

In short, the Heart Disparities Partnership Program aims to synergize the strengths of all partnering organizations to lessen health disparities. "One of the overall goals," says Dr. Seto, "is to improve access to quality health care for Native Hawaiians and other similar at-risk communities so that people can live healthier lives."

Over 300 computers on wheels, or COWs (wireless, roving computers) will be in use at The Queen's Medical Center by the end of 2005. An additional 70 wireless notebooks will be added to clinicians' computing power. All patient care units will eventually have some form of wireless computers in addition to the conventional, stationary models already in place, effectively doubling computer access in most patient care areas. Wireless computer use at Queen's has been made possible by a fast, reliable-and secure-wireless network that covers over 600,000 square feet using 259 radio frequency access points.

But why COWs? There are big benefits for patients. Patient data will be timely and up-to-the-minute accurate, and be available to clinicians when and where it is needed. Orders will be placed as care decisions are made. The light, maneuverable COWs can be wheeled anywhere they are needed, including right next to the bedside. COWs will also pave the way for barcoded medication administration in 2006, adding an extra layer of accuracy to administered meds.

COWs will work hand-in-hand with a new, integrated, advanced computer system—scheduled to go live in January 2006—that will also provide major patient safety gains, including: strong clinical decision support that will tell clinicians about allergies and drug interactions, written orders, the most error-prone part of patient care, will be eliminated, all data will be integrated, dramatically reducing the chance of missing critical data, and Pharmacy will be incorporated within the system so pharmacists can verify drugs before they are given to patients.

The future has come to Queen's. Computer technology will help free clinicians from burdensome tasks and allow then to spend more time where they are needed most--at the bedside caring for patients.

The concept of "Queen's Heart" is big. Simply put, Queen's Heart is located anywhere Queen's health professionals care for people's hearts. Queen's Heart as a department was previously called the Queen's Heart Center, but "center" was dropped because there is no central destination for heart related services—nor should there be. If there is a "center" in all of this, it's a focus on the patient.

Cathy Young, RN, vice president, Patient Services, envisions Queen's doctors, nurses, technologists and other staff that take care of people's hearts all as part of a team that comprises Queen's Heart, wherever they may be physically located. A part of creating this big team approach has led Queen's Heart to launch the Cardiac Transfer Center and Cardiac Curbside.

The Cardiac Transfer Center makes it easier for doctors and other hospitals to access services. "One phone call starts the process," says Garla Souza-Roy, RN, coordinator of the Cardiac Transfer Center. "No other arrangements are necessary." Doctors typically request transfers to Queen's if a service is not available at the current hospital. Souza-Roy reserves a bed, obtains a cardiac nursing report, verifies insurance and arranges transport. In most cases, the patient can receive services upon arrival at Queen's without delay. Office hours are Mondays through Fridays, 8:00am to 5:00pm, but the Center is on-call 24/7. The Cardiac Transfer Center can be reached at 808.547.4707 (1.877.762.4931 toll-free from the neighbor islands).

Some outpatients don't have a way to get to Queen's and back home again for invasive procedures or for those that require conscious sedation. Cardiac Curbside is a complimentary car service that picks up patients who have no other means of transportation. The free ride, available anywhere on O’ahu, has drivers trained in CPR and first aid. Cardiac Curbside can also be reached at 808.547.4707.

In addition, coming in 2006 are three advanced technology cardiac catheterization labs, complete with all the latest equipment.

With heart disease being the leading cause of death in America, Queen's Heart is working to positively impact cardiac care, not only at Queen's, but throughout the State. Queen's Heart is about the big picture of heart care in Hawai’i.

Hawai’i Kai has grown from sleepy suburb to boomtown. Commercial development in the area has reflected the growth, with multiplex theaters, trendy restaurants, a busy Costco and a host of other businesses. The most prominent addition will be a brand new, 11,000 sq. ft. Queen's Health Care Center (QHCC) in the Hawai’i Kai Shopping Center, which is located at 377 Keahole St. The clinic is scheduled to be completed in January 2006.

"The new center will provide needed services and convenience for the people of Hawai’i Kai, and we look forward to building stronger ties with the community for years to come," said Art Ushijima, President and CEO of The Queen's Medical Center. QHCC has had a clinic in the Hawai’i Kai Shopping Center near Longs Drugs for years, but will move across the parking lot to occupy the last undeveloped parcel alongside the marina to the right of Safeway. Far larger than the current 1,800 sq. ft. clinic, the new clinic, which will be a separate building, will be QHCC's first comprehensive health care center, and for the first time be a collaboration between three groups-Ambulatory Services, Inc. (dba QHCC), DLS and physician practices.

The new QHCC will offer five to six full time, primary care physicians and multiple specialty services, including OB/GYN, general surgery, cardiology, oncology, podiatry, gastroenterology and neurology. Rehabilitation services (physical, occupational and speech therapy) will also be offered. Diagnositic imaging services will include x-rays, mammography and bone density testing. Patients will be able to access cardiac non-invasive services, including testing and screening, and Diagnostic Laboratory Services (DLS) will be available at the site for blood tests.

The new Hawai’i Kai QHCC will have extended hours and be open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. DLS will open at 6:00 am for early birds. QHCC will have seven clinics statewide in all: Hawai’i Kai, which will be the largest, Kapolei, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Honolulu International Airport, Hilo, Lihue and Kona, which will opens at the end of August.

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