Orthopaedic specialists look to the future

In Needham, aging populations are continuing to grow, estimated to be 27% of the demographic by 2020, according to the Public Health Department. A key consideration for aging residents is how to effectively remain in the community and in their homes, while maintaining mobility. Enter the Department of Orthopaedics at BID–Needham, which focuses exclusively on patient care and getting patients back to full mobility.

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“We are fortunate to have such an outstanding orthopaedics team here in Needham—everyone on staff is a Harvard faculty member, so we have expertly-trained surgeons, teachers and scientists, all focused on providing the highest-quality patient care,” says John Fogarty, president and CEO. “There is a full-range of superb orthopaedic specialists practicing here, and we also have the convenience of a community setting without sacrificing quality or access.”

A HOME FOR LEADING SURGEONS

Chief of the department, Kathryn Grannatt, MD, has collaboratively worked with Fogarty and the hospital administration to make Needham a center of orthopaedic excellence. Together, they’ve established what Dr. Grannatt sees as an exceptional place for clinicians and patients: “We have been able to build this program, tripling the size of the department, and are now delivering comprehensive orthopaedic care right here at home.” 

A recent addition to the department, hand surgeon Carl Harper, MD, feels strongly that this is not just a community hospital, but a world-class place where “leaders in their field operate and work. And it just  happens to be located in Needham.”

The department offers a full range of orthopaedic services, including general orthopaedics and fracture care, but also high-level sub-specialty care including total joint replacement, hand and upper extremity, foot and ankle, sports medicine and shoulder, as well as treatment for the back and neck in the Spine Center. Another unique factor in the region is the hand and upper extremity service, which is comprised of both orthopaedic and plastic surgeons working together to best address the patient’s reconstructive needs.

GETTING BACK TO LIFE

Rehabilitation plays a significant role in successful orthopaedic procedures. Hand surgeon Tamara Rozental, MD, feels the Rehabilitation Medicine Department here is “incredible.” The certified hand therapists who join the surgeons for clinics are uniquely integrated with the department. This allows clinic patients to be automatically assessed by therapists, as well as have splints created on-site during an appointment.

The attention to detail and care does not go unnoticed by patients. “I get thank you letters from patients nearly every week that talk about how personalized their experience was in the hospital, from the nursing to the volunteers. I think it's amazing that in this era of increasing technology and decreasing personalization, this is a place where people feel very comfortable—like a person, not a number,” says Dr. Grannatt.

What makes care extraordinary for patients is the “tremendous continuity” between BIDMC in Boston and BID–Needham. Many clinicians practice at both locations and have created a seamless experience for patients. According to Dr. Rozental, “the same team practices in both places. We are always
communicating and collaborating with each other and are thus able to offer the highest quality of care to our patients.”

A LEAP FORWARD

For the future of the orthopaedics field, the clinicians see a move towards increasingly less invasive and more specialized treatments, with technology moving towards prevention. Genetics in orthopaedics may one day help surgeons like Dr. Grannatt regrow cartilage from a patient’s own cells rather than performing joint replacements.

In the near term, the department anticipates another significant change that will benefit patient care and increase capacity. The new state-of-the-art Clinical Center at BID–Needham, opening in 2019, will house physicians, physical therapy and X-ray equipment on the same floor. 

Dr. Rozental calls this new facility “a game changer; even though our teams are very integrated, our facilities have not been.” The new space will centralize orthopaedics under one roof, which will prove beneficial to both the physician and the patient experience, having the full complements of all the specialties in one location. The surgeons say the ability to see more patients will markedly improve with the added efficiencies in the new center. 

“The space will add to the collegial environment where we can discuss patient cases, face-to-face,” says Dr. Harper. “And it will be a beautiful facility,” adds Dr. Grannatt.

To make an appointment, call 617-667-3940 or email orthoneedhamappointments@bidmc.harvard.edu.