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October 25, 2012- DMC’s Harper University Hospital and Hutzel Women’s Hospital a “Center of Excellence” in Minimally Invasive GYN surgery

DMC Harper University Hospital and Hutzel Women’s Hospital program in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery has been awarded the highly sought-after "Center of Excellence" designation by the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL), the leading association promoting minimally invasive gynecologic surgery among surgeons throughout the world. The announcement by the AAGL last week confirmed that the minimally invasive surgery program at both DMC Harper University Hospital and DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital is now officially enrolled (as of Oct. 4) as a Center of Excellence (COE) in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

Only nine U.S. medical institutions have been named as COEs by the AAGL, which created the special designation for excellence less than a year ago.

The coveted "Center of Excellence" award is based on a strenuous evaluation by the authoritative Surgical Review Corporation of 16 different quality measures . . . including successful patient outcomes, complications following gynecologic surgery, total number of procedures completed each year by surgeons, and the level of experience and education achieved by surgeons in demanding areas of practice such as robotic surgery.

"Winning a Center of Excellence designation from the AAGL is a major step forward for the minimally invasive gynecologic surgery program at Harper and Hutzel Hospitals," said Thomas A. Malone, M.D., the President of DMC Harper-Hutzel University Hospital.

"We’re greatly encouraged by this title at Harper-Hutzel, because it provides authoritative evidence for patients who need gynecologic surgery that they can be assured of getting the best treatment available in the world today right here at the DMC." 

"Minimally invasive procedures can preserve women’s fertility, minimize pain and scarring, and offer a speedy return to daily living for millions of women. These procedures treat common gynecological problems such as fibroids, endometriosis, incontinence and abnormal bleeding," said Susan L. Hendrix, D.O., Harper-Hutzel Center of Excellence Director. "Two-thirds of women experience a pelvic health problem during their lifetime and we now have a less invasive option to address those problems. As well, it shows our promise to provide the best in care to our patients by showing our dedication to the continual improvement of healthcare quality and safety."

David C. Kmak, M.D., the Director of the DMC Hutzel Women’s Hospital Outpatient Gynecology Clinic, was equally upbeat about the new designation. "This assures patients that they can get the best care available today at Harper - Hutzel Hospitals."

Describing the "best practices" standards for the COE designation, Dr. Kmak noted that the evaluation by the internationally recognized Surgical Review Corporation carefully examines patient outcomes – along with physician expertise – in such high-tech, challenging procedures as robotic laparoscopic gynecologic surgery.

"One of the key things that [surgery] patients always ask is: can the surgeon effectively manage the very latest techniques successfully, and how often has this surgeon performed a state-of-the-art procedure?"

"The DMC program has now been certified as one of the top nine such programs in the entire U.S. - clear-cut evidence that patients can get world-class robotic and other minimally invasive forms of gynecologic surgery at DMC Hutzel - Harper Hospitals."

S. Gene McNeeley, M.D., Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harper-Hutzel noted that Hutzel Women’s Hospital has been at the forefront of women’s heath care since it was established in 1868. "We continue that legacy by being designated a COE. Our minimally invasive facilities and surgeons are among the best in the country."

Ann Marie Creed, MSA, the Associate Vice President of Adult Clinical Services at both Harper and Hutzel Hospitals, said that the COE designation "underlines the fact that our program has now achieved gold-standard status in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, worldwide."

"The AAGL is the governing body that determines what excellence in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery is," said Ms. Creed, "and their recent selection of our program speaks for itself." The Surgical Review Corporation – which performs the actual evaluations – has in recent years helped to establish the standards for both bariatric and stroke surgical care, and their new program [now one year old] is now doing the same for women’s gynecologic surgical care.

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