Physician-owned hospital assists in 'Crush The Curve Idaho', becoming destination for robotic spine surgery

Alan Condon -   Print  |

Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, Idaho, has been engaging in "Crush The Curve Idaho," an initiative coordinated by local businesses and leaders to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The program boosted the number of Idahoans that can be tested to at least 1,000 per day.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little suspended elective surgeries on March 23, with NSH opting to also limit its practice in accordance with decision-makers, a hospital spokesman told Becker's Spine Review.

Some elective surgeries for spine and knee patients were maintained, but most nonessential procedures were temporarily suspended.

As one of only 238 physician-owned and operated hospitals in the U.S., NSH did not have to handle ER and COVID-19 cases.

The hospital has implemented heightened protocols for screening patients prior to surgery as elective surgeries begin to resume across Idaho. NSH is preparing for a safe return to these procedures — particularly spine surgery, where it has bolstered investment in recent years.

Listed as the top-rated hospital in Idaho for spine surgery and among the top 100 in the nation, according to rankings authority Dexur, NSH touts an impressive robotic spine program.

Among the hospital's robotic spine technologies are Synaptive Medical's Modus V, a digital microscope, Stryker's iSuite operating room software and Globus Medical's ExcelsiusGPS, a robotic navigation system used for the precise placement of pedicle screws.

Additionally, it features the Xenex LightStrike Robot; a disinfection system designed to kill pathogens in surgical suites using xenon bulbs and ultraviolet light.

NSH acquired the ExcelsiusGPS robot last year and became a site for spine surgeons to observe it in action, according to The Spokane Journal. The robot is used in procedures such as minimally invasive spinal fusion, revision spinal surgery and scoliosis correction surgery.

Roland Kent, MD, a part-owner of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho-based Axis Spine Center and NSH, demonstrates how the robot works to visiting surgeons. It is one of the first hospitals in the Pacific Northwest that uses some of the system's advanced features, according to a hospital spokesman.

Another spine surgeon, Douglas Blaty, DO, is focusing on the Modus V, which generates HD images while mounted on a robotic arm that tracks the surgeon's instruments.

Dr. Blaty has performed more than 40 procedures with the device and the hospital recently purchased a package that upgrades its functions and features, including highlighting certain aspects of the musculature.

NHS is also investing in medical tourism — both internationally and domestically — to expand the reach of its robotic spine program.

Patients from Alaska, California, Arizona and Florida are visiting the hospital for advanced robotic spine procedures as interest in the technology continues to grow.

More articles on robotics:
Geoff Martha, Kevin Lobo & more: 5 CEOs to know in the spine industry
Wright Medical inches toward sale, makes pay cuts due to pandemic: 5 updates
How COVID-19 has affected Medtronic, Stryker, Johnson & Johnson's shares over the last month

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