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The Department of Orthopedics keeps a relatively low profile at The Queen's Medical Center, yet its doctors keep both the main Operating Room and the Same Day Surgery Center busy with over 5,700 cases a year, or about 29% of all surgeries. The department performs the majority of joint replacements on O’ahu.

It's not only practice that makes orthopedics at Queen's among the best in the nation. In 2007, standardized care paths were established for joint replacement and spine surgery to improve patient outcomes. Improving quality involves the entire orthopedic team, including doctors, nurses, OR staff, recovery staff, surgical floor staff, physical therapists, occupational therapists and other ancillary staff. As a part of the effort, the orthopedic nursing staff completed competencies to improve and standardize their knowledge base. In addition, the department is actively working on the Surgical Care Improvement Program, a national program to improve the care and outcome of surgical patients.

Morris Mitsunaga, MD, Chief of Orthopedics, says his vision for the department also includes research and education. A research and education fund for staff and residents has been established, with the first grant from the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. Of course, technology at the Department of Orthopedics represents the finest and most advanced in the country, including the newly purchased Stryker Navigation System, which is primarily used for complex pelvic fracture. The system provides surgeons with 3-D imaging during surgery. Multiple views of a patient's body allows surgeons to make micro adjustments resulting in more precision than ever before.

The combination of these top quality components of the department has led a national health rating organization to give Queen's Department of Orthopedics its highest rating for total hip replacement and hip fracture repair. Karen Schultz, RN, Vice President of Patient Care, commented that Orthopedics really has a goldmine of talent spanning the spectrum of orthopedic subspecialties. "I was told by an outside consultant that if you have one ortho trauma surgeon who can do acetabulum fractures [very complex injury to the socket of the pelvis], then you are very fortunate." she said. "We have three. Because of [our surgeons'] skills and abilities, almost every hospital in Hawai’i transfers their most difficult cases here." Schultz added that Queen's also has outstanding talent in arthroscopy and hand and spine surgery, and that Orthopedics will further develop its musculoskeletal program early this year.

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