Clinic in Focus
Continuing our series of interviews featuring outstanding hyperbaric and wound care centers around the world, we spoke with Susan Lowber at Swedish Edmonds Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbarics, a UHMS-accredited facility in Edmonds, Washington.
How long has your clinic been in business?
The hospital site has been here for over 50 years and has offered wound healing services for over 10 years. We expanded to include hyperbaric medicine in the fall of 2008.
How has seeking UHMS accreditation affected your clinic?
In order to receive accreditation, our facility underwent an intense review by a team of UHMS experts. The team examined staffing and training, equipment installation, operations and maintenance of the facility, patient safety, and standards of care. Accreditation by the UHMS recognizes a center’s commitment to patient care and safety and is validation that the center meets the most rigorous industry standards.
The accreditation gives confidence to both the patient and other community providers that we are providing excellent care to the patient while up- holding the highest safety standards and clinical knowledge. We are one of only two centers in the state of Washington that are accredited.
What are the most common indicators treated at your clinic?
In the wound clinic: leg ulcers (both venous and arterial), wounds resulting from peripheral edema, diabetic foot ulcers, post-surgical wounds, decubitus ulcer, and infected wounds.
For HBO treatments: severe diabetic foot ulcers, compromised surgical flaps and grafts, medical conditions resulting from radiation injury (soft tis- sue radionecrosis and osteoradionecrosis), and refractory osteomyelitis.
What is the most memorable treatment success story that has come out of your clinic?
We have had many remarkable outcomes, particularly with hyperbaric medicine patients. But recently we had a patient who had complications from radiation therapy after treatment for esophageal cancer, which resulted in soft tissue radionecrosis (STRN). She developed an esophageal cutaneous fistula, an opening where fluids would leak through her throat, and she was unable to swallow or eat and had constant drainage of saliva from her neck. After 50 hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, her fistula healed and was no longer draining. She was ecstatic as she was now able to eat and drink again after not being able to do so for several months.
Do you work with a management company?
No, we are independent.
If you had to pick one thing to attribute your clinic’s success to, what would it be?
Caring. Our experienced clinical staff genuinely cares about the patients. Not only do we address the wounds, we also look at the condition of the patient as a whole for multiple factors that can affect wound healing, including nutrition, medications, insufficient blood flow to arteries, and other illnesses. When appropriate, our wound care team will refer patients for studies and collaborate with other medical specialties to ensure our patients are receiving comprehensive, quality care. We also assist patients in obtaining social services and home healthcare if they seem unable to make arrangements for themselves. We have many satisfied patients who have given us excellent reviews upon completion of their treatments.
What is one marketing recommendation that you can make to help clinics increase their patient load?
We believe that developing good relationships with our referring providers are key to growth for our center and would also benefit other wound healing centers. Both of our physicians regularly and pro- actively engage in personal communication with the referring providers, whether by phone or face- to-face contact, which is always appreciated by the medical community.
Are there any additional questions you'd like to answer, or is there any other information about your clinic you would like to showcase?
Both of our physicians are board certified in undersea and hyperbaric medicine. One of our physicians, James Wright, MD, FACS, is a board certified plastic surgeon and has also been involved in research in hyperbaric medicine during his tenure with the US Air Force. Darren Mazza, our Hyperbaric Safety Supervisor, has been the recipient of the monthly “Most Valuable Player” (MVP Award) from our hospital, Swedish Edmonds. He has also writ- ten several articles on hyperbarics in the clinical setting.
Last May, we moved into a state-of-the-art facility near our hospital, with 10 treatment rooms located on the ground floor level for ease of access for our patients. And finally, our patient satisfaction numbers are high: 92.9% in 2014 and 96.0% to date for 2015.
Pictured below: The staff of the Swedish Edmonds Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbarics in Edmonds, Washington.