Innovations | Springfield Clinic
About Springfield Clinic

Innovations

Medical Innovations

As part of their dedication to providing the highest quality health care, the physicians and surgeons of Springfield Clinic are leading the way in health care technology, delivering the best of what medical science has to offer, right here in central Illinois. 

In order to provide innovative new medical solutions, Springfield Clinic doctors are engaged in continuing medical education, attend national conferences, actively participate in national, regional and local medical groups and aggressively seek new therapies and treatments for their patients through clinical research.

Our doctors are delivering state-of-the-art therapies for conditions that would traditionally require treatment in larger, more metropolitan medical centers. Innovative new surgical procedures, therapies and medications are yielding real results for real patient close to home. 

We hope you enjoy these and other stories of hope and healing at Springfield Clinic.  

Cartilage Transplant

Cartilage Transplant Gives Knees New Life

For many years, the treatment options for patients suffering with Articular Cartilage defects or damage have been limited, but a revolutionary new procedure performed by Dan Adair, MD at Springfield Clinic offers hope.

Dr. Adair, specialist in Orthopedic Surgery, is one of the first in the area to perform chondral allograft transplantation, a method which removes the immature cartilage cells from a human tissue donor and transplants them into the host patient’s knee. The immature cells divide normally and create a more natural replacement for the patient’s missing or damaged cartilage. The procedure has been approved by the FDA and is endorsed by the International Cartilage Repair Society.

Articular Cartilage is a highly complex human tissue that provides cushion between bones in the knee and creates a smooth surface for its motion. Attempts to produce an artificial replacement for the tissue have met with little success. “Researchers thought they were ten years away about twenty years ago. Everything I read says we’re at least another ten years away from a product that can simulate our own tissue,” commented Adair.

More common alternatives, like Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, where cartilage cells are grown in a lab, or Microfracture surgery, where tiny fractures are made in the bone to stimulate re-growth of the tissue, lack the durability desired. In some cases, knee arthroplasty (knee replacement surgery), depending on the patient’s condition, has yielded the best results.

“We’re very good at metal and plastic, but we’re looking for better solutions,” said Dr. Adair. “This new procedure allows us to biologically replace cartilage. The quality of the repair appears to be superior to traditional methods, especially when performed on younger patients.” According to Adair, chondral allograft transplantation is also less painful for the patient and is technically easier than alternatives, which makes it less expensive.

For more information, contact the Springfield Clinic Department of Orthopedic Surgery at 217.528.7541.

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

Innovative Endoscopic Procedure Available at Springfield Clinic
(view EUS video)

For years, the use of imaging in medicine has helped detect abnormalities in the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, pancreas and liver. Until recently; however, patients would still require a biopsy or surgical resection to determine the nature of the problem. Patients would often undergo invasive procedures, which would require hospital stays, and, at times, lengthy periods of waiting for results. Now, a technologically advanced procedure performed at Springfield Clinic offers an alternative solution.

Ashish Chopra, MD, specialist in Gastroenterology at Springfield Clinic, is specially trained in the new diagnostic procedure known as Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) with Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA).

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) combines endoscopy, introduced through a patient’s mouth, and ultrasound to explore internal organs. When a tissue sample is required, Fine Needle Aspiration, or FNA, uses a thin needle attached to the endoscope. The needle can be used to remove tissue samples, guide treatments, analyze masses, and help diagnose conditions. Using EUS with FNA, physicians are able to get a deeper biopsy, and can look through thin layers of tissue with minimal invasion. EUS with FNA can even be used to determine the stage of cancer once it discovers a nodule or mass.EUS with FNA has been available in larger markets for years. “Up until a few years ago, patients in the Springfield area were referred to Chicago or St. Louis for this procedure,” said Chopra. “Now it can be done locally.” Dr. Chopra performs EUS with FNA as an outpatient procedure in a hospital setting, but expects the service to soon be offered at Springfield Clinic’s Ambulatory Surgery & Endoscopy Center.

Dr. Chopra stresses the importance of having access to this kind of procedure in Springfield. “It’s here, it’s safe, and it offers good diagnostic accuracy to determine what’s going on.”

Retinal Vein Occlusion

September 11, 2009 - For many years, patients suffering with Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO), a common but serious inflammation of the retina, faced almost certain vision loss and eventual blindness. But a new treatment, the first and only to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), offers hope for these patients. 

The new medication, commercially known as Ozurdex, is contained in a thin implant, similar in size to a pencil lead, which is injected through a small needle into the area behind the lens known as the vitreous. The implant slowly dissolves, releasing a continuous and predictable dose of cortosteroid dexamethazone, a medication which reduces inflammation and helps reverse the vision loss caused by Retinal Vein Occlusion.

Amish Purohit, MD, a Retinal Surgeon with Springfield Clinic’s Department of Ophthalmology, has been involved with the development of the drug since the Phase I clinical trials began more than five years ago. Dr. Purohit recently served as one of 15 investigators from across the country to review the final clinical data and make recommendations to the FDA. He is now one of the first in the country to offer the therapy.

“I’ve treated hundreds of patients with this drug as part of clinical trials and am so excited that I can now offer it to my patients as an FDA approved therapy,” said Dr. Purohit.

RVO is common among the elderly and is frequently the result of natural aging or other contributing factors like high blood pressure and glaucoma. Symptoms often include dramatic blurring or loss of vision. Until now, only experimental therapies have been available, many of which have been costly, time-consuming or unpredictable in terms of their effectiveness.

“Ozurdex represents a major advancement in the treatment of RVO,” noted Dr. Purohit. “We can deliver a single dose of medication that can last up to nine months. This less invasive approach translates to improved patient comfort and fewer risks of bleeding and infection.”

Dr. Purohit added, “I treated my first patient earlier today and could not be happier with the results. The injection did not cause any pain or discomfort and the patient indicated it was much easier than she thought it would be.”

For more information about vision loss or its treatment, contact Amish Purohit, MD at Springfield Clinic’s Department of Ophthalmology by calling 217.528.7541.

Robotic Surgery

In traditional open surgery, the physician makes an incision, then widens it to access the anatomy. In traditional minimally invasive surgery the surgeon operates using rigid, hand-operated instruments, which are passed through small incisions and views the anatomy on a standard video monitor. At Springfield Clinic, we are proud to offer an alternative solution.

Specialties offering robotic surgery: Colon and Rectal Surgery, Gynecologic Oncology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otolaryngology/Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT), Urology

Some of the major benefits of robotic surgery, using the daVinci Surgical System include:

  • greater surgical precision
  • increased range of motion
  • improved dexterity and access
  • enhanced visualization

Benefits experienced by patients who undergo robotic surgical procedures may include:

  • a shorter hospital stay
  • less pain, blood loss, risk of infection, scarring
  • fewer transfusions
  • faster recovery and quicker return to normal daily activities

None of these benefits can be guaranteed, as surgery is necessarily both patient- and procedure-specific.

Videos

Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF)

Revolutionary GERD Procedure Available in Springfield

Patients who suffer from diseases like acid reflux often suffer in silence, taking over-the-counter and prescription medications to dull the effects without treating the condition itself, rather than undergoing a painful surgical procedure. Thanks to a revolutionary new procedure performed in a local setting exclusively by Springfield Clinic General Surgeons James Fullerton, MD, and Kristofer Mitchell, MD, patients can find relief without invasive surgery.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which stomach contents can flow back into the esophagus causing inflammation. Treatment often involves long term medical therapy or an invasive abdominal surgery.

Open and laparoscopic surgical procedures have been used to treat GERD effectively for years. Unfortunately, even laparoscopic surgery has the potential for complications. For this reason, very few GERD patients currently choose surgery to treat their condition.

As opposed to laparoscopic and open procedures currently used to treat the condition, Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication (TIF) is a new procedure performed endoscopically. While the patient is under anesthesia, the recently developed EsophyX device is introduced into the stomach through the mouth. Folds of stomach tissue are gathered together creating a barrier to prevent reflux, leaving no scars and causing very little discomfort. Dr. Fullerton and Dr. Mitchell are the first surgeons in Springfield to introduce this procedure.

“Studies indicate after two years following this procedure, 79% of patients are able to stop taking medication for reflux disease completely,” said Dr. Fullerton. “Between the lower cost of the procedure versus surgery, and the cost of medication over time, there is certainly the potential for a lower overall cost.”

Typically completed in under an hour, the TIF procedure is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting. After an overnight stay, most patients can go home the following day, and are able to return to their regular activities within that week.

Technology

At Springfield Clinic, we encourage progressive thinking and innovation so we can continue to lead the way in healthcare delivery. We advance groundbreaking technology to deliver quality care in a state-of-the-art environment with our Electronic Health Record (EHR), myHealth@SC Patient Health Portal, mySpringfieldClinic app and more.

Our award-winning technology makes Springfield Clinic completely connected!

     

EHR

Electronic Health Records

Powering Better Patient Care

Your complete health record is available electronically for you and your physician.

Springfield Clinic’s physician practices use a state-ofthe-art technology called electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs essentially replace the paperbased charts that are currently used to record and store patient-specific health information. They are tools that provide more accurate, up-todate, and readily available personal health information to help your physicians better care for you.

Q & A

What is an electronic health record?

An electronic health record (EHR) is an electronic document that contains a patient’s complete health history – from childhood immunizations and allergies to adult surgeries and diagnoses. It includes information like test and imaging results, medication history and physicians’ notes. It’s basically an electronic version of the traditional paper chart.

Why is an electronic health record better than a paper chart?

A paper chart exists in a single, physical location, and is typically difficult to share, even within a single office. Further, it can become quite large and complex over time. EHRs, however, are accessed through the Internet, and can be securely viewed at any time and from any place. Additionally, EHRs are connected to a library of medical information that can help physicians make diagnoses and develop treatment plans based on the latest medical research.

What benefits do EHRs provide to me?

EHRs will make your office visit much more efficient and thorough by providing the following advantages:

  • Your health information is easily retrievable – at any time – by only your authorized clinicians and physicians
  • Your health history is automatically updated each time you visit your physician’s office
  • Electronic records are more easily understood than cumbersome – and oftentimes illegible – paper charts
  • Secure technology protects your privacy
  • Improved quality of care without increased costs

How can an EHR make the care I receive more efficient?

Providers will no longer need to search or wait for your patient chart. In addition, lab results and X-rays will be sent electronically to your physicians as soon as they are completed, for immediate analysis, diagnosis and treatment.

Should I expect any changes when I visit my physician’s office as a result of EHRs becoming available?

There are two main changes you are likely to notice:

  • Initially, your visit to the office might be slightly longer than usual, as our staff adjusts to the EHR system. Please be aware that our initial investment in time will pay off in future efficiencies for you.
  • Your physician will view and enter your health information using a computer or “tablet” in the exam room. While it may look different, your physician is using the electronic device to enter the same information he or she would write on the traditional, paper chart.

Who can access my electronic health record?

Your EHR is very secure. Only participating medical practices that you have chosen can access your information. All EHR information is stored on secure technology within the Springfield Clinic’s electronic network.

Can I access my own electronic health record?

During an office visit, you and your physician can jointly review your electronic health record. You may also access your medical information by registering to use our secure patient portal, myHealth@SC. More information is available at www.SpringfieldClinic.com/myHealthAtSC.

Is Springfield Clinic building its own EHR system?

Springfield Clinic utilizes Allscripts’ TouchWorks Electronic Health Record system. It is an awardwinning, well-established product that has received high ratings in surveys conducted by the health care community. Springfield Clinic’s EHR system is well respected and customized to meet the unique needs of the Clinic – all in an effort to provide better care to you.

Are other physician offices making EHRs available?

Springfield Clinic was on the cutting edge of implementing this techonology in 2008. Today, Springfield Clinic’s EHR network has grown to maintaining not only its own records, but an entire consortium of health care providers in the central Illinois region.

Is this effort part of our nation’s endeavor to make health records electronic?

The use of appropriate technology in health care is a way to improve the quality of care and control health care costs. In early 2000, the government set a goal to establish electronic health records for most Americans within 10 years, and Springfield Clinic has diligently followed that plan.

mySC App

The mySpringfieldClinic app lets you explore Springfield Clinic physicians, locations, and specialties. Use this handy app to

  • Find a doctor, specialty or office location, all with easy and flexible search features.
  • Contact your Springfield Clinic doctors with the touch of a button or locate the nearest office and bring up directions right from your device.
  • Keep track of your preferred SC Physicians and SC Locations by adding it to your favorites!
  • Link to Springfield Clinic resources including myHealth@SC, videos, and the Health Library.

When you need us most, Springfield Clinic is available 24/7 at your fingertips. Download this FREE app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device today!  

myHealth@SC Patient Portal

myHealth@SC is Springfield Clinic's personal patient portal. For more information or to sign up, visit our myHealth@SC info page