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    Pullman, WA—Pullman Regional Hospital is implementing new medical technology for robotic-assisted surgery, bladder cancer surgery, imaging, the detection of silent seizures and a new medical record system. In 2021 and 2022, $1 million in philanthropy—through donations and grant awards, helped fund surgical robotics like the da Vinci Xi, CORI and VELYS so the hospital could invest in additional medical technology. 

    Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview is used by urologists to “see” more potential bladder cancer while performing bladder cancer removal surgeries. “The reoccurrence of bladder cancer is high; missed tumors can contribute to recurrence. In surgery, the Cysview solution will illuminate potential cancers bright pink under a blue light, which can ensure I remove more tumors than are detected through magnification and typical light,” said John Keizur, MD, Urologist with Palouse Urology.    

    Ceribell is a portable, wearable EEG technology to help detect silent seizures in critically ill patients. “In less than 10 minutes, we can connect with a neurologist specializing in seizure. A timely seizure diagnosis is crucial; the longer a seizure remains untreated, the more brain damage can occur. This tool helps us better detect the silent brain killer,” said Pete Mikkelsen, MD, Medical Director of Emergency Services and Chief Medical Officer for Pullman Regional Hospital. “As EEG becomes the “standard of care” for critically ill patients and cardiac patients, timely testing is important.”

    CORI technology by Smith & Nephew is a hand-held robotics tool which uses surgical navigation and mapping for precise fitting knee-replacement surgeries. “This new technology is a great example of why I enjoy being an orthopedic surgeon. Our field is always changing, and new technology that allows us to help our patients is constantly being developed. This leads to improved function and a better quality of life,” said Kyle Hazelwood, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon and University of Idaho Vandals Team Physician with Inland Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Clinic of Pullman and Moscow.

    In 2022, the da Vinci Xi replaced the Si model, which was first introduced at Pullman Regional Hospital in 2012. The hospital’s da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical system is used by seven local surgeons for procedures in urology, gynecology, and general surgery. A dedicated robotics team in Pullman Regional Hospital’s operating room has ten years of experience in da Vinci surgeries. “The very fine movements of the robot in small spaces—like the upper and lower abdomen—is critical for a successful surgery. It really does improve the experience for the patient, and that’s what I appreciate about it,” said Nancy Panko, MD, Medical Director and Surgeon with Pullman Surgical Associates.

    The Medtronic GI Genius helps improve the accuracy of colon cancer screenings using high-definition monitors and computer-aided detection with artificial intelligence for pattern recognition. Through a grant from the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Pullman Regional Hospital received two devices used during colonoscopies. “My experience in the past 100 cases using the system has been that it is a useful tool that adds a second pair of eyes to screen for colon cancer during a colonoscopy. That helps us keep our patients healthy.” said Ben Adkins, MD, a Family Medicine physician with Pullman Family Medicine.

    A recent upgrade to the hospital’s MRI software, AIR Recon, reduces scan time without compromising quality. “All imaging modalities offered at Pullman Regional Hospital are accredited by the American College of Radiology, meaning we’ve met and exceeded the highest of standards for imaging so that we can promise the highest quality of images, quickly and safely,” said Austin Swopes, Director of Imaging Services at Pullman Regional Hospital.

    The TIMS System is a portable recording and observation swallow study unit used by radiologists and speech therapists to diagnose and monitor both chronic and acute swallowing disorders for all ages of patients. “We use the TIMS on a weekly, almost daily, basis. I can better customize therapy because I can see the anatomy of my patients while they are actually eating and drinking. Swallowing difficulties are very common for people with MS, ALS and Parkinson’s, and for people who have had a stroke, have autism, respiratory disease, prematurity, developmental delay or have recently had a throat surgery. Fluoroscopy, or an x-ray ‘movie’ with the TIMS system allows me to watch and record my patient’s swallowing function using different thicknesses of liquids; this is absolutely the gold standard for swallow studies,” said Kelly Steele, Speech Language Pathologist at Pullman Regional Hospital.  

    UroLift is a non-surgical urology procedure to relieve urination complications due to an enlarged prostate. “It’s a simple procedure that doesn’t require surgery and can replace some medications. Small implants are placed to hold prostate tissue from compressing on the urethra. Most patients experience instant relief and increased urine flow with minimal recovery and no catheter,” said John Keizur, MD, Urologist with Palouse Urology.    

    VELYS Digital Surgery by DePuy Synthes is a robotic-assisted surgical system that attaches to the side of the operating table and provides continuous real-time feedback to the surgeon throughout the procedure. Using AI technology, VELYS guides and maps where a surgeon should remove bone, resulting in an efficient surgical experience and a long-lasting implant. “The VELYS system is world-class. It, coupled with the talented and seasoned operating room team at Pullman Regional Hospital, creates a surgical experience that rivals anywhere. You don’t have to go to Spokane or Seattle for the best surgical team or technology; you can get that right here in Pullman,” said Ed Tingstad, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon, Pullman Regional Hospital Chief Medical Officer and Washington State University Cougars Team Physician with Inland Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Clinic of Pullman and Moscow.

    Additionally, philanthropy supported the implementation of Epic, an electronic medical record system which will be used by Pullman Regional Hospital and its network of clinics. Epic is the most utilized electronic medical record in the nation and the state of Washington; 59% of hospitals nationwide and 77% of Washington hospitals use Epic. Epic replaced Meditech on January 28, 2023.  Pullman Regional healthcare entities using Epic include: Pullman Regional Hospital, Palouse Health Clinic (Palouse, WA), Palouse Heart Center, Palouse Pediatrics (Moscow and Pullman), Palouse Psychiatry & Behavioral Health, Palouse Sleep Medicine, Palouse Urology Center, Pullman Family Medicine, Pullman Foot & Ankle, Pullman Surgical Associates, Summit Therapy & Health Services and the WSU Family Medicine Residency Center. 

    Through Epic, patients will register for a MyChart account which offers the ability to message with your doctor or provider, check test results for labs and imaging, view medication lists and post-visit summaries and hospital discharge instructions. Patients will even be able to schedule appointments for some healthcare services through the MyChart app or by logging in online to their Pullman Regional MyChart account.

    “State-of-the-art medical technology is a wonderful complement to the skill and experience of our doctors and nurses,” said Matt Forge, Pullman Regional Hospital CEO. “We are so grateful for generous donors and the work of our Foundation Board to support our hospital and put life-changing tools in the hands of very talented medical professionals.” 

    Contact: Alison Weigley, Director of External Relations
    Pullman Regional Hospital
    Office: (509) 332-2041 / Cell: (509) 330-0242

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