An early, proactive review can help hospitals avoid pitfalls that can plague new neurointerventional services.
Originally developed within the specialty of radiology, neuroendovascular interventions may now be called neurointerventional radiology, interventional neurology, and neuroendovascular surgery, depending on the training of who is holding the instruments. Catheter-based endovascular brain procedures are now being performed by neurologists, neurosurgeons, and radiologists who have completed highly specialized endovascular fellowships. As increasing numbers of clinicians have completed their advanced neuroendovascular training in the last decade, more centers are now offering endovascular-based neurovascular care.
This is good news for patients, who can expect lower death and disability rates than with traditional therapies. Neuroendovascular therapies are still evolving and are under continuous study, but are becoming standard of care where they are available, particularly for select cases of stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, and brain aneurysms. Less commonly, interventional approaches may be the treatment of choice for certain tumors, arteriovenous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, and certain causes of seizures. More than half of brain aneurysms are now treated via coiling. For certain patients with acute stroke, urgent endovascular approaches to removing or lysing clots and restoring blood flow can offer better outcomes than medical therapy alone.
But these state of-the-art procedures are also high-risk, and things can go wrong.
One option for medical centers is to open a new program, relying on the expertise, experience, and judgment of its leadership, and hope for the best.
Another is to follow the lead of forward thinking, quality focused directors who prefer not to wait until disaster strikes. Some hospitals who have recently begun neuroendovascular programs are choosing to evaluate their fledgling programs proactively, before potential problems may present as suboptimal outcomes or near misses.
In the past year, hospital and medical staff leadership from several centers have approached MDReview to request a review of early cases. In particular, the centers wanted objective evaluation of patterns and processes such as:
MDReview’s panel of radiology, neurology, and neurosurgery-trained experts are able to review all aspects of patient care and provide experienced perspective on all questions related to standard of care. Based on their findings, they can identify opportunities for improvement, make recommendations for enhancements in care, or confirm that a program’s approach is well thought out and already providing high quality care.
Don’t wait for a sentinel event, unexpected adverse outcome, or troubling near miss to trigger an in-depth look at how your new neuro-interventional endovascular program is performing. Be proactive in an arena of medical care where the stakes are high; reach out to MDReview to see if your new program is well conceived, or whether adjustments and improvements early on can help ensure high quality care and good outcomes in the future.