June 08, 2012 10:00 ET

A Glimmer of the Future in How Medicine May Be Practised

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 8, 2012) - It is revolutionizing the way knee and hip replacement surgery is being performed, and it is hard to believe assessment for timely care is not yet the norm in every major population centre in Canada. The Total Joint Assessment Centre (TJAC) in Ontario's North York General Hospital's Branson site is reducing surgical wait times and improving patient care with its innovative clinic, says Dr. Ted Rumble, one of TJAC's 12 orthopaedic surgeons. Because of TJAC, what was once a year or more wait for knee or hip replacement surgery is now meeting - and beating - the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recommended time frame of approximately 182 days.

Launched in 2007, the TJAC is a collaborative effort among three GTA hospitals - North York General Hospital, Markham Stouffville Hospital and York Central Hospital - setup to reduce the wait times that orthopaedic patients were forced to endure.

Patients who use the Total Joint Assessment Centre are delighted with this model of care and the results, says Dr. Rumble who has been part of the Centre since its inception. There is less waiting time and patients express great appreciation at being thoroughly informed of the procedure and having all their questions and concerns addressed in detail, a situation which may not always happen in a busy surgeon's office. A hospital-based clinic, TJAC is staffed by highly trained orthopaedic clinicians who assess each patient (referred by family doctors) to see if they are indeed candidates for hip or knee surgery. Each patient's knee or hip is given a thorough assessment, their complete medical history taken, medications noted and the proper x-rays taken. This often takes an hour, but it is time well spent to determine what sort of treatment is best for the individual.

People who need surgery often opt for one of the TJAC surgeons who have a shorter waiting list, and they can easily have their operations within the 26-week wait time benchmark. "TJAC is a glimpse into the future of how medicine may be delivered in the years to come," says Dr. Rumble.

For its part, the Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA), the national professional body that represents Canada's 900-plus orthopaedic surgeons, is actively promoting innovative models of care such as the TJAC.

"Ultimately, the efficiencies resulting from these models can not only shorten patients' wait times but also their length of stay in hospital after surgery - not to mention reducing costs and creating the lasting benefit of a multi-disciplinary clinical network where there was none," says the association's CEO, Doug Thomson.

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About MobilizeCanada

MobilizeCanada is the national communications hub of the Canadian Orthopaedic Care Strategy Group. It informs the 45-plus age group about Canada's mobility crisis while offering practical solutions to maintain mobility and motivate healthy changes. The goal is to improve the quality of life as Canadians age while making the most efficient and beneficial use of our healthcare system.





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