Healthcare is personal — especially when it comes to your heart. That’s why you want care that suits — not only you — but your family and support system, too.
So how did one Mission Health patient who came to Asheville from Charleston, South Carolina, choose Mission Heart for his heart care? He did his research. Ted Ray and his wife, Christine, did their homework together when faced with needing heart surgery.
“That’s when I began planning,” said Ted. “I started a process of learning about my condition and my options, where I could go for treatment and who should do my surgery.”
Here are some of the things he looked for that helped him make an informed decision, and in turn provided him with reliable partners in care and an unforgettable care experience with Mission Health.
- Referrals – Talk to people.
Find people in your own network — and your friends’ and family’s network — who have had or know others who have had similar experiences or treatment. How did they choose their care? What was important to them? What did they consider? And how was their experience? Learn what gave them comfort and confidence in their cardiac team.
“I had talked to two friends who were nurse anesthetists who had worked at Mission Heart for years and who had worked with Dr. Mark Groh,” said Ted. “They had the highest regard for Dr. Groh and told me about their experiences working at the heart center. They recommended I speak with him.”
- Statistics – Look at the numbers.
Numbers can be telling. Important numbers to look for or consider are things like frequency (how often), volumes (number of patients), survival rates, the size of the team, and awards and recognitions, such as Truven Health Analytics and Joint Commission.
“I had been looking at publications with comparative hospital statistics, so I picked those up again,” said Ted. “I started seeing that Mission was amazingly consistent from year to year, and they had been among the top 50 heart hospitals longer than Cleveland Clinic. And all their numbers – the outcomes, safety, infection rates and success stats – they were all just stellar.”
- Experience – What’s their care philosophy?
How long has your surgeon been a surgeon? What’s their educational background and where did they do their fellowship or residency? Do they have any training, credentials or certifications that are important? Who’s on their cardiac team? What are people saying about this person — both online and word-of-mouth? And beyond the facts — what is their care philosophy?
“In cardiac surgery, experience really matters,” said Dr. Mark Groh. “And not just the surgeon’s experience, but the whole team’s – that includes ICU nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and basically everyone involved.”
- Quality – Before, during and after.
Quality matters — and not just of your surgeon or of that service line but hospital quality, too. Higher-rated hospitals and health systems typically have less complications and better survival and mortality rates. You’re choosing the surgeon that’s best for you — but you’re also choosing a team of healthcare professionals to rely on. It’s not just about the care you receive during your surgery — consider the care you need before, during and after your surgery.
“From the nursing staff all the way down to the person who mops the floors, you’re essentially putting your life in the hands of the entire staff,” says Ted. “For a heart patient to have a good, safe outcome, everyone – not just the surgeon – needs to be doing their job well.”
“Now, having been through this whole experience, I know we couldn’t have made a better choice. I was seeking excellence, and I know I encountered excellence at Mission,” says Ted.