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Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center neurosciences program earns top marks

July 03, 2024 Posted in: Leadership
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By Ganesh Rao, MD, neurosurgeon at St. Luke’s Health and Professor and Chair of Neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine

 

Thanks to our connection to Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center attracts high-quality, experienced neuroscience specialists. These clinicians, paired with a strong team in the operating room, intensive care unit and various patient units, strive for excellent care day in and day out. This commitment to excellence has garnered the attention of U.S. News & World Report, earning our facility the title of one of America’s top 50 hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery care.

This is not a one-off award. We’ve achieved this recognition multiple times in the past, and we intend to continue providing award-winning care moving forward. To that end, we continually seek ways to improve our services, bringing in new technology as appropriate, driving the field ahead through ongoing clinical trials and growing our infrastructure to better meet the needs of those requiring renowned neurological care.

Earning U.S. News & World Report recognition is dependent upon a series of meaningful metrics, which fall under the following umbrella categories: 

  • Conditions/procedures applicable to neurology and neurosurgery

  • Key programs, services and staff

  • Outcomes and patient experience

  • Professional recognition

Excelling in Outcomes and Experience

Of these categories, outcomes and experience have the greatest effect on scoring, and we performed well in this area. Our 30-day survival rate was ranked as excellent, which reflects morbidity and mortality rates that fall well below the national average. 

Our discharge-to-home rate was also scored as excellent. Succeeding in this arena begins in the operating room, where our patients experience few surgery-related complications, reducing the need for unexpected care after a procedure. This success rate is further enhanced by our physical therapy team. While some complex patients require skilled nursing care or inpatient rehabilitation following discharge, our physical therapy team works to mobilize patients immediately after surgery. Their expertise increases a patient’s likelihood of returning home directly after discharge and resuming regular life without excessive delay.

All this quality care was offered to a “very high” volume of high-risk neurology patients. In a three-year period, we discharged 2,602 patients who presented to us with the full breadth of neurologic conditions. 

Technology, Training, and Alzheimer’s Care 

Because we are a neurologic referral center for Texas and beyond, many of our cases represent the most severe and advanced neurologic illnesses in the country. Achieving positive outcomes requires having the right people in the right place with access to the right resources.

A few of these resources include:

  • Alzheimer’s unit. Patients experiencing cognitive decline receive care tailored to their specific needs by clinicians with in-depth knowledge and experience in caring for the population with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Nurse training. Educated nurses are better positioned to provide excellent patient care. Because neurology and neurosurgery evolve rapidly, BSLMC invests in our nurses through ongoing training to ensure best practices are always followed. 

  • Technology. Certified as a level 4 epilepsy center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, BSLMC has the equipment necessary to place electrodes in the brains to identify the source of seizures. Neurosurgeons can then remove the problem area, bringing symptomatic relief. Intraoperative CT scanning provides real-time imagery, which provides guidance for a variety of brain and spine surgeries. 

Unique Points of Service

BSLMC provides the full continuum of neurologic care, from diagnosis to treatment to follow-up management. We offer all expected therapeutic options, along with advanced, innovative treatments. 

A few areas that set our program apart and warrant our inclusion in the top 50 centers for neurology and neurosurgery care include:

  • Additional condition-centric centers. Along with our Alzheimer’s unit, BSLMC offers several other centers where patients receive subspecialized care for multiple sclerosis, pituitary conditions and other neurologic issues. At these centers, patients connect with clinicians who focus on these areas and offer hard-to-find expertise. 

  • Psychiatric neurosurgery. Whereas obsessive-compulsive disorder or depression are commonly relegated to psychologists or psychiatrists, our collaborative approach combines psychiatry and neurosurgery and yields positive results in the proper patient population. 

  • Response neural stimulation. A surgeon implants a small device with leads that attach to the area of the brain that initiates seizures. When abnormal activity occurs, the device emits an electrical pulse, stopping the seizure or preventing it from progressing.

  • Thrombectomy. Used to remove a blood clot causing a stroke, this surgery is a vital offering of our Comprehensive Stroke Center. Our low door-to-treatment time ensures quick revascularization, which improves outcomes.

Eager to Improve

When patients come to us, they’re under duress. They want to know they’ll receive good care from people who are experts in their field. The data and this repeated recognition from U.S. News & World Report make it clear that we provide excellent treatment that empowers patients to return home in a timely manner.

Though pleased with earning this award again, we’re eager to improve our care. In the coming years, we hope to earn designation as a level 3 or 4 trauma center. We already provide the level of care necessary, and earning that recognition will help more people realize quality care is right here in their backyard. More importantly, the trauma designation will connect us to additional resources to further improve the care we can provide.

While the U.S. News & World Report award is meaningful, it does not drive what we do. Patients drive us. They’re the foundation of our commitment to quality. Patients are why we’re here, and why—with or without outside recognition—we will forge ahead in the future, providing award-winning care to all who turn to us.

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