Outpatient Surgery Center celebrates 20th anniversary
Staff at the Outpatient Surgery Center wore pink and gray uniforms when the facility opened in 1987.
Loma Linda University Medical Center’s Outpatient Surgery Center (OPSC) celebrated 20 years of operations, from 1987 to 2007, this past February. Staff from the center honored the milestone with an event that gathered several of the founding staff members for a photo outside the building.
The OPSC was opened in February 1987 by the faculty physician group. During the first year of operations, close to 2,000 cases were done. In the last three years, the OPSC averaged between six and seven thousand cases done each year.
The vision for the center grew out of physicians looking to provide a more cost-effective and easier access for surgery patients.
“It was designed to be much more patient friendly,” says Thomas Zirkle, MD, an attending surgeon in the plastics department. “The patients could get into and out of the building much quicker.”
When the OPSC opened, 15 surgeons were making use of the facility. Currently, more than 40 surgeons take advantage of the seven operating rooms.
“We opened with six operating rooms, even though we weren’t using them all,” says Pat Crudup, nurse manager for the OPSC. “Now we have seven and use them all.”
In 1989, Loma Linda University Medical Center bought the facility from the faculty physicians. The thought placed into the design of the center helped keep it viable throughout its two-decade history.
“The facility was built with enough flexibility to still be providing quality pat
Members of the OPSC staff, including Thomas Zirkle, MD, Richard Hamamura, MD, Pat Crudup, nurse manager, and Liz Dickinson, RN, CNOR, senior vice president of patient care services, celebrate 20 years of operations in February.
ient care 20 years later,” notes Liz Dickinson, RN, CNOR, senior vice president of patient care services.
“As far as placement for equipment, gases, places for gurneys to go, all those details, we designed it all,” adds Dr. Zirkle. “We simply had the architect draw in the walls.”
The OPSC was one of the first places to emphasize patient-centered care throughout the entire patient experience. Due to the nature of outpatient procedures—with patients walking in alert—particular attention was paid to the aesthetics surrounding and inside of the facility.
Innovation and the continuity of leadership at the center have played a large role in growing the case load, recruiting physicians, and staff retention, as well as financial performance.
“I think the outpatient surgery center has had a positive impact on the perioperative departments across campus,” says Ms. Dickinson.
These aspects of the OPSC directly translate into excellence in patient care. Inspectors and reviewers from state and accrediting agencies have all commented on the OPSC’s high quality of care. Several note how the staff is able to operate in the streamlined fashion that is the main advantage of an outpatient surgery facility, while still holding to the same high standards of a functioning hospital.
Milestones of the Loma Linda University Medical Center Outpatient Surgery Center
• The introduction of electroconvulsive (shock) therapy
• The beginning of pain block treatments
• The widespread use of endoscopic surgeries
• The growth of case volumes
By Preston Clarke Smith