Quality care closer to home

NORWALK By opening a new heart and vascular center, Fisher-Titus Medical Center is expanding its mis
Annie Zelm
May 24, 2010



By opening a new heart and vascular center, Fisher-Titus Medical Center is expanding its mission to provide quality care closer to home.

The $11.3 million Snyder/White Heart & Vascular Center, featuring cutting-edge technology and new physicians, is scheduled to open Monday.

“The vision we had was for our cardiac patients to conveniently park, walk through the doors and receive all the services they need,” Cardiac Services director Suzanne Inglis said. “About 60 percent of our patients are of Medicare age, and it’s difficult for them to travel.”

Lorna Strayer, vice president of business development, said as the medical field evolves, so do patient expectations. Patients today look for convenience, as well as education and personal consultation from their physicians.

“One of the leading issues within Huron County is diagnostic problems related to the heart and veins,” Strayer said. “We started with that need and moved forward from there.”

Contractors from the Robins & Morton Group broke ground on the facility last October, but coordinating the new services was a hospital-wide effort. Administrators recruited several cardiologists to the hospital’s team. The University of Toledo Physicians-Heart and Vascular cardiologists also set up a full-time office and six examination rooms in the medical center.  The addition of eight new employees brought the cardiovascular services staff to 23 people.

This allows the hospital to offer new services such as low-risk diagnostic heart catheterizations and internal defibrillator implants, Inglis said.

The 22,000-square-foot building includes two state-of-the-art cardiovascular laboratories and an 11-bay area where patients can wait before surgery and recover afterward. Consulting rooms allows physicians to show images to the families using laptop computers, providing a more visual explanation of their diagnosis and treatment. An exercise room helps patients lead a healthier life as they recover.

Some of the latest technology allows physicians to detect potential heart diseases more quickly. With new imaging equipment in the vascular labs and an advanced flat-panel CT scanner, physicians can capture precise digital images of any area of the body.

 The machines facilitate a quicker diagnosis using the lowest possible levels of radiation. Inglis said the administration plans to introduce its new line of cardiac care slowly, beginning with the low-risk heart catheterizations. Since July 2007, they’ve completed more than 150 of these procedures. When they reach 500, Inglis said the next step is to introduce the more advanced procedures of angioplasty and stent placements.

“We want to start slowly and build trust so we can safely do these procedures for people in their own hometown,” she said.

“We’ve approached everything with quality in mind.”