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Clinical excellence in urology at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center

July 03, 2024 Posted in: Leadership
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By Michael Coburn, MD, FACS, Professor and Mary Hugh Scott Chair, Scott Department of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine and Richard Link, Professor and Carlton-Smith Endowed Chair in Urologic Education, Scott Department of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine

 

At Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, we are dedicated to the pursuit of innovation, continually finding new and better ways to improve patient outcomes through leading-edge technology. We are gratified to again be recognized as a Best Hospital for Urology by U.S. News & World Report, a designation that illustrates our commitment to excellence in treating a wide variety of urological conditions and performing complex surgical procedures. 

Through ongoing research, a rigorous training program and an openness to learning and applying the newest surgical techniques and treatments, the team at the Scott Department of Urology at BSLMC is blazing new trails and improving patient lives. 

The BSLMC Scorecard

BSLMC’s ranking of number 29 in the nation for urology demonstrates our outstanding breadth and excellence in the clinical care environment. We achieved a score of “excellent” or “above average” in numerous categories, including:

  • Thirty-day survival rates: Patient survival 30 days after admission as compared to other hospitals

  • Discharging patients to home: How often patients are discharged directly to home instead of another facility

  • Patient experience: Opinions of inpatients who completed a government-endorsed survey in 2021

  • Nurse staffing: More nurses per patient, which is linked to better outcomes

  • Advanced technologies: Robotic surgery, image-guided radiation therapy, diagnostic radioisotope services, PET/CT scanner, stereotactic radiosurgery and intensity-modulated radiation therapy

  • Patient services: Programs that improve the patient experience

 

BSLMC was also recognized as a high performing hospital for prostate cancer surgery and scored very high in the relative volume of high-risk urology patients over the course of three years, which translates to better outcomes. 

People Making the Difference

We know the expertise and humankindness of our team members truly make a difference for our patients. That’s why we are dedicated to recruiting outstanding faculty who are renowned regional, national and even international leaders in their surgical subspecialty areas and their focus within urology, including oncology, pediatrics, minimally invasive surgery, male reproductive medicine, female urology and trauma/reconstruction.

Our expert surgeons are committed to sharing their knowledge and teaching other surgeons to perform complex urological procedures that require dedicated training and practice. In many cases, our team members serve as pioneers in making these surgeries more widely available throughout the region and the country.

Our residency training program also has a reputation for being one of the strongest in the nation in urology. This five-year program gives trainees intensive training in all specialty areas and exposure to many practice environments.

[H2] Moving the Needle Forward in Surgical Procedures

At BSLMC, we have long been recognized as a leader in minimally invasive urologic surgery, particularly in the area of robotic-assisted surgery. In January 2023, we became the first center in the Catholic Health Initiatives network to offer single-site robotic surgery using the new da Vinci SP platform. This novel surgical system provides many advantages for patients undergoing complex urological procedures, improving outcomes without compromising function. Benefits include:

  • Fewer complications

  • Less time spent in the hospital

  • Reduced pain

  • Shorter catheterization time

In addition, BSLMC surgeons are leaders in performing many other types of urological procedures, such as implant surgery for erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence and procedures for urinary tract and voiding dysfunction, including implantable nerve stimulators for the most challenging cases of lower urinary tract dysfunction. 

We were also the first center in the Houston region to perform mini percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), a minimally invasive version of percutaneous stone surgery, and for more than 10 years, we have been one of the only facilities in the region to perform single-site laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. As local and national leaders in training surgeons in advanced techniques such as these, we are helping to make the most innovative procedures more accessible throughout the country.

Continual Progress Through Research

Being a center of excellence means never resting on our laurels. In fact, we never stop striving to discover new treatments and become experts in the newest available technologies. Our team members are involved in a number of important research initiatives and clinical trials, including studying:

  • The genetic basis of kidney cancer

  • Male reproductive medicine and surgery, particularly the use and expansion of robotic surgery techniques 

  • Voiding dysfunction

We have a strong focus on the development of simulation and 3D printing to improve surgical education and robotic surgery. We were one of the first facilities to develop three-dimensional models of patient-specific tumors and do pre-surgical rehearsals on the models before proceeding to the kidney tumor removal procedures. 

Looking Ahead

As we look to the future, we are always looking for ways to grow. Our aims include recruiting more faculty to expand our clinical platform, building new spaces and continuing our focus on innovation and research. 

We are expanding our surgical space footprint with new operating rooms in the O’Quinn Medical Tower at the McNair campus, as well as rebuilding the cystoscopy suite at the main hospital and significantly enhancing our endoscopic surgical capability. Working closely with leadership at St. Luke’s Health, we will continue to identify ways we can better meet the needs of our patients while offering clinically excellent urological care.

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