Local healthcare marketing experts to speak in Austin, Texas

Kristi Schmidt, vice president, chief marketing & communications officer at Essentia Health, and Mike Seyfer, chief executive officer and partner at HTK Marketing Communications, will be among the nation’s key healthcare marketing thought-leaders presenting this week at the 22nd annual Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit in Austin, Texas.

Presented by The Forum for Healthcare Strategists on May 8–10, The Summit is the leading conference for senior-level marketing, strategy, physician relations, sales, and business development executives from hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, integrated networks and medical groups. In 2016, more than 750 executives attended, and the 2017 Summit is expected to draw an even larger audience.

“It’s an honor to take the stage with such a laudable lineup of healthcare marketing experts and innovators,” Seyfer said. “Kristi and I are excited to share our research, insights and strategies for tackling today’s most important challenges in our field.”

Schmidt and Seyfer will lead a May 10 session entitled, “Why Patients Switch: What Your Brand Needs to Know.” In it, they’ll discuss how behavioral insights can uncover why patients either come to, or leave, a healthcare organization. Using the results of three interrelated studies on what causes consumers to make a change, they’ll explain how that information is being used to shape big picture brand development as well as day-to-day strategies.

Public invited to tour new Essentia Health-Sandstone hospital

From our friends at Essentia Health:

Essentia Health invites you to celebrate its newest $26 million investment in community health with the completion of the Essentia Health-Sandstone hospital, as part of the Pine Healthcare Campus. An open house will be held Tuesday, May 9, from 4-6 p.m. at the new location, 705 Lundorff Drive, Sandstone.

The hospital’s completion represents the first in a series of health care investments in Pine County. Gateway Clinic and Thrifty White Pharmacy will be opening in the facility later this fall.

“From the start, we designed the Sandstone hospital to reflect the needs of our patients and their families,” says Michael Hedrix, hospital administrator. “We are committed to the people who live and work in Pine County and are thrilled with the completion of this beautiful, new facility.”

Essentia Health-Sandstone, a Level IV Trauma Center and Acute Stroke Ready center, provides 24-hour emergency care and now has a much more visible location adjacent to Interstate 35. The hospital provides both basic and advanced life support ambulance services and serves as a critical-access facility. The new facility will also have expanded services such as interventional radiology and TeleWound care.

The open house will include self-guided tours, burgers and brats, music and fun. We hope to see you there. The hospital will officially open May 17.

Essentia Health’s heart valve replacement program expands to help more patients

A revolutionary heart procedure that has given cardiac patients a life-saving alternative to open heart surgery is now expanding to treat more patients. The Food and Drug Administration now allows intermediate-risk patients the option of having transcatheter aortic valve replacement, a minimally invasive procedure that replaces the aortic valve.

“Risk for open heart surgery is determined by a multidisciplinary group of physicians and coordinators,” said Dr. Jason Schultz, an interventional cardiologist who directs the TAVR program at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. “Previously, TAVR was approved for only high-risk patients who were not good operative candidates.”

Using a scoring system called STS, the group determines each patient’s risk of open heart surgery. An intermediate-risk patient has an STS of 3 or greater, meaning there is a 3 percent chance of a bad outcome from open heart surgery within a 30-day period. Before the FDA approved the expanded procedure, patients had to have a score of 8 or greater or be deemed a poor surgical candidate.

“TAVR represents a less invasive means of achieving the same goal as open heart surgery,” said Dr. Schultz. “And while surgery remains an option for intermediate-risk patients, the trial data suggests outcomes with TAVR are at the very least equivalent to surgery, and in some cases better with the TAVR procedure.”

TAVR uses a valve composed of pig or cow tissue, similar to surgically-placed heart valves, within a metal stent. The valve is delivered through arteries in the body via the groin, under the collar bone, or under the breast or ribs. Once inside the heart, the valve expands to about an inch in size and begins working immediately — all while the heart is beating.

St. Mary’s Medical Center is the only hospital north of the Twin Cities to offer heart patients this choice. Since St. Mary’s began offering TAVR in the fall of 2013, the Heart & Vascular Center has performed 157 procedures.

New hope for heart failure patients at Essentia Health

Dr. Kimberly Boddicker. Submitted
By Maureen Talarico

Heart failure patients at Essentia Health have a new monitoring option that can help make their day-to-day lives much more convenient and also reduce potential hospital stays.

The Heart & Vascular Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth now offers a new microelectromechanical systems technology to detect changes in blood pressure. It’s called the Cardio MEMs HF System, and is a tiny wireless sensor implanted in the pulmonary artery.

“CardioMEMs is a permanent pressure sensor without batteries or replaceable parts and is the size of a large paperclip,” said Dr. Kimberly Boddicker, who is the director of the heart failure program at Essentia. “Pressures in the heart can rise several days to weeks before a patient experiences symptoms requiring hospitalization, so this allows us to be more proactive with treatment.”

The CardioMEMs sensor was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2013 and is implanted during a non-surgical procedure. It measures pressure changes within the pulmonary artery and also heart rate, then transmits the information straight to the Heart Center. Since January, three devices have been implanted in Essentia patients.

“Most of the patients we have discussed this with have been receptive,” said Dr. Boddicker. “We also have many patients who travel a distance for office visits, so now we can offer them a means to provide more timely care, and save on travel.”

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands. Nearly 6 million adults in the United States suffer from the disease. Much of the cost of treating heart failure comes from patients having to spend time in the hospital. Clinical trials showed the CardioMEMs can cut re-admission to hospitals by about half.

“We have some patients with both heart and lung disease or heart and kidney disease who experience similar symptoms from both conditions. The CardioMEMs also helps decipher which disease is causing symptoms at any moment and allows us to be more focused with our treatment,” she added.

The CardioMEMs sensor is designed to last the lifetime of the patient. There is no pain or sensation for the patient during the readings. The device is covered by Medicare and insurance companies. For more information, please contact the Heart & Vascular Center at (218) 786-3443.