NorthBay Healthcare’s Joint Replacement Program is among the first in the country to become a member of the American Joint Replacement Registry. The independent, not-for-profit database is designed to store comprehensive data about joint replacement procedures to help physicians and artificial joint manufacturers improve the experiences of patients who undergo joint replacement surgery.
“It’s a real feather in our cap,” says Cynthia Giaquinto, R.N., manager of the Joint Replacement Program, which is based at VacaValley Hospital. “Our closest reporting neighbor is UC San Francisco, which puts our benchmarking in good company.”
Only about 50 hospitals across the country are part of the registry, which was formed in 2009, explained Giaquinto, noting that Europe has had one for several years. “This benefits our patients because implants are monitored for the life of the implant,” said Giaquinto.
“The goal is to improve patient safety and quality of care, and reduce the cost of hip and knee replacements,” explains Andrew Brooks, M.D., medical director for the NorthBay Joint Replacement Program. “We’ll be able to glean a lot of useful information from the registry. It’s a big deal for programs big and small to be involved.”
More than a million hip and knee replacements are performed each year in the United States, and most are successful, offering patients years of trouble-free use. But a few patients—about 7.5 percent, according to 2006 figures—experience problems following surgery that require the artificial joint to be replaced.
“NorthBay’s Joint Replacement Program has always been committed to ensuring its patients have the best experiences possible, and now we’ve taken an added step toward improving patient experiences by joining AJRR,” said Giaquinto. “By participating with other hospitals in sharing information about artificial joint performance and physician and patient experiences, we can help joint replacement procedures become safer nationwide, while optimizing our own patients’ experiences here at NorthBay.”
About 130 hip and knee replacement surgeries are performed in NorthBay’s JRP each year, and the number continues to grow.
NorthBay officially started documenting patients into the registry on Sept. 1. “It’s a real commitment of time and effort, and I’m proud that NorthBay realizes the importance of the project,” says Dr. Brooks.