Building excellence in orthopaedics and rheumatology

Posted on 2 April 2019

In a first for Mediclinic, the Mediclinic Winelands Orthopaedic Hospital will be collaborating with the Institute of Orthopaedics and Rheumatology (IOR) to deliver exceptional outcomes to the Winelands and greater Cape Town community, with referrals already being received from across the country. The facility will officially open on 1 August 2019 and will be located on the same premises as the original Mediclinic Stellenbosch, situated at Die Boord.

According to Hospital General Manager, Carol van Zyl, this partnership is all about meeting the need for specialist medical care specifically pertaining to the disciplines of orthopaedic surgery and rheumatology. “There is a mistaken impression amongst South Africans that they need to travel overseas for high-level specialist care. We want to reassure our patients that this care and specialisation is available locally,” says Carol.

Van Zyl explains, “Mediclinic Winelands Orthopaedic Hospital will provide the infrastructure, experience and resources, which will in turn allow the IOR to realise their goals of improved clinical specialist care. We envision a process whereby our approach can be systematically improved through the value provided by both parties, leading to improved overall patient care. This is definitely a first for Mediclinic and we are very excited about the opportunities this collaboration presents.”

“The hospital will provide the platform for world-class South African specialists and key opinion leaders to practice to the highest possible level and quality of care. The hospital will also function as a training facility both for specialists from around the globe through formal accredited fellowship programs and shorter visiting fellowships (these are usually 2 weeks vs 12 months for formal fellowships) as well as registrar training in collaboration with Stellenbosch University and of highly skilled theatre- and ward staff,” explains Dr Holger Wellmann, CEO of the Institute of Orthopaedics and Rheumatology.

According to Dr Wellmann, the IOR is envisioned as a Specialist Institute, dedicated to surgical and medical management as well as rehabilitation of non-emergency musculoskeletal conditions, at the highest possible level.

What does this mean for the patient? “The unit will function as the ‘tip of the sword’ in terms of innovation and capabilities; able to compete in the global arena of specialist musculoskeletal surgery and care. Ultimately, we are hoping to achieve better clinical outcomes for our patients. Having the super-specialist surgeons on board is expected to improve selection of surgical procedures, reduce the complication and surgical revision rates that may be found in normal elective surgical interventions. We see the quality of care as well as clinical outcomes as important measures of success for the partnership,” explains van Zyl.

She also highlights the benefits for patients in Mediclinic Winelands Orthopaedic Hospital, “A multi-disciplinary approach will be taken for all our patients, involving all stakeholders from the outset of treatment, which allows for more detailed treatment planning, supporting improved outcomes. Surgeons meeting with Rheumatologists/Physicians, Anaesthetists, nursing staff, rehabilitation personnel and case managers, prior to undertaking a surgical procedure, will greatly improve cohesion in efforts and insights into specific problems that may arise.”

“This is the first step in ensuring better and more cost-effective outcomes as there is a vested interest in all participating doctors to collaborate and find more efficient pathways and solutions,” Dr Wellmann explains. He also highlights, “A team is always superior to an individual, especially when the team is multi-disciplinary. All our doctors are sub-specialised, covering all areas of orthopaedics, rheumatology, supported by radiologists and other health professionals focused on the musculoskeletal system.”

With teaching set as one of the fundamental principles in the establishment of the IOR, Mediclinic Winelands Orthopaedic Hospital will host academic events and training as an integral part of activities. IOR will serve as a training facility for the best and brightest young South African medical professionals in the field of orthopaedic surgery, rheumatology and radiology. Dr Wellmann explains the focus on research and learning, “Our doctors are committed to actively participating in on-going research and peer reviews in order to develop and advance skills and knowledge. We will also employ a post-doc research consultant to facilitate and co-ordinate all research and capturing of data. Data capturing and analysis as well as quality control is enshrined in the daily processes of IOR in order to actively contribute to medical science research and monitor outcomes.”

Dr Wellmann also highlights a social aspect of the partnership, “We have a section 18A fund; Joint Venture Trust, which supports joint replacements of patients selected from Tygerberg Hospital, who are predominantly from our area. It is also our aim to assist local sportsmen/women without funds and support Stellenbosch public hospital with orthopaedic and rheumatological ventures.”

Published in Business