It’s often the first signs of aging. Our knees start creaking, back pain intensifies, hands lose their flexibility and hips hurt. Weekend warriors, middle-aged marathoners and even younger fitness zealots that may overdo physical activity are joining older adults in experiencing chronic orthopedic problems.

Diseases, disorders and injuries to the musculoskeletal system eventually affect more than 80 percent of Americans.

To learn more, Smart Business turned to Douglas Garland, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and the medical director of MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Memorial, which has received many accolades for its achievements, including being  listed among America’s Best Orthopedics Programs in U.S. News & World Report.

What’s new in the fields of orthopedics and joint replacement?

Some of the greatest advancements that have taken place in orthopedic medicine have occurred in joint replacement procedures, particularly for the hips, knees and shoulders. The strides in replacing these joints are restoring individuals to greater mobility — with little to no pain. Surgeries are less invasive, and advanced prostheses more durable and longer lasting.

We have also identified some preventive measures to avoid orthopedic problems. They include maintaining a healthy weight, properly warming up prior to any physical activity, performing weight-bearing exercises, increasing exercise intensity slowly, wearing sensible shoes that fit, conducting a home safety check to prevent falls and balancing your routine to build strength, flexibility, muscle tone and cardiovascular health.

When is surgery needed?

Joints damaged by arthritis and other diseases, injuries or simply years of use may cause the joint to wear away and produce severe pain, stiffness and swelling. Joints are alive; and they require joint fluid to be healthy, grow and repair themselves, especially since the diseases and damage inside a joint can limit the fluid required to reduce friction between the cartilage and particular joints during movement. Joint replacements can be appropriate for patients who are no longer getting relief from pain and swelling with medicine or injections.

In addition to seniors, who for decades represented the majority of joint replacement surgeries, there is a growing number of people in their 40s and 50s who are now candidates for these procedures. In the past, younger individuals were often forced to wait until their mid-60s. Older joint replacement materials were not expected to last more than a decade or two, and many surgeons were reluctant to perform a second replacement when the first wore out. Today’s wear-resistant materials are lasting longer, allowing hip and knee replacements among the 45- to 64-year-old group, with surgeries tripling in numbers compared to the last decade.

What are the characteristics of an outstanding program?

The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Memorial guides those requiring hip and knee replacements through surgery and rehabilitation, while promoting wellness and an active hospital stay. Individuals are often able to walk, with assistance, the same day of surgery, move independently in a day or two and leave the hospital in two to three days. They lead active lifestyles within two to three months.

Our goal is to fully engage patients and their loved ones — from the moment the surgical decision is made to the transition home. We stress to patients that ‘you are well,’ better preparing them for the surgery and best possible outcome. The Center features private rooms and a large, well equipped center for physical and occupational therapy, education and group lunches — all in one area exclusively for joint replacement patients. Individuals, their families, volunteers and a dedicated staff of joint replacement specialists work together following surgery as the patient starts ‘Cruising to Recovery’ at the cruise ship-themed Joint Replacement Center.

Education plays an important role in achieving successful outcomes by reducing fear regarding the surgery, recovery and transition home. The individuals and their families will attend comprehensive educational classes prior to surgery to help understand what to expect, which emphasizes the importance of beginning therapy immediately after surgery. A family member or friend participates in the program, acting as the individual’s coach. Together they attend ongoing therapy and educational sessions to learn what it takes to recover as quickly as possible and how they can assist the individual’s return to daily activities. An actual car in the center helps with training on how to get in and out of an automobile safely.

Group settings differentiate the Joint Replacement Center from typical hospital stays. Group therapy builds camaraderie and even competition among the patients who attend classes and have lunch with fellow patients, coaches and staff. And the cruise ship-themed ‘Walking Board’ tracks the number of steps an individual takes each day. The more steps taken, the further patients venture on their journey to recovery.

Douglas Garland, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon and the medical director of MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Los Angeles

The delivery of health care services is undergoing a tremendous digital evolution, thanks to increasing adoption of electronic medical record systems. Many experts believe this digital way of maintaining patient records will lead to significant cost savings, decreases in medical errors and improvements in health.

To learn more, Smart Business spoke with Marcia Manker, the CEO of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, and Steve Geidt, the CEO of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente.

Can you describe electronic medical records?

Bulky patient charts holding countless pieces of information and handwritten physicians orders are becoming a thing of the past. In their place are electronic medical records that transport patient information in real time with the click of a button.

An electronic medical record, or what we call EMR, stores your health history and medical information in an electronic, instead of a paper, format. Using a highly secure network, our physicians, nurses and other clinical staff can enter needed patient information, including your doctors’ orders, prescriptions and other important items, directly into a computer.

What are the benefits?

It is widely believed that the nationwide adoption of EMR systems will lead to major health care savings, reduce medical errors and improve health. Patient information — like diagnoses, treatments, test results, imaging and medical history — is immediately accessible to clinicians providing your care, even from multiple locations. Our health care professionals can now complete the same tasks in a fraction of the time with more time to interact with patients.

EMRs eliminate the age-old challenge of deciphering someone else’s handwriting. Physicians now enter their orders directly into the computer system — virtually eliminating transcription errors and dramatically improving turnaround time. As an added safety measure, when a physician enters a prescription order, for example, the system will automatically check for any adverse drug interactions or allergies and immediately alert the physician if any are found. Evidence-based clinical care guidelines are also integrated into the system, providing valuable decision-support for physicians at their fingertips.

What’s the progress at MemorialCare Health System?

Connectivity with our patients and our physicians is a high priority and one that will keep MemorialCare in the forefront of patient care for years to come. As an early adopter of EMRs, MemorialCare has invested significant capital and human resources in this effort.

All three of MemorialCare Health System’s Orange County hospital facilities have comprehensive EMR systems. And we have seen significant improvements in quality, clinical outcomes, safety and satisfaction for patients; better staff efficiency, accuracy and productivity; and stronger engagement and satisfaction among our physicians who can easily retrieve complete patient information.

Thanks to EMRs, less than 1 percent of physician orders are hand-written, thus eliminating nearly all transcription errors and saving millions of dollars a year in paper and duplicate work. Turnaround time for initial physician orders of ‘stat’ medications has been slashed from 41 minutes before EMRs to 6 minutes. The reduced costs associated with EMRs have the potential to save the health care delivery system millions of dollars. And a million fewer sheets of paper copied each month makes us a greener health system.

In addition to the efficiencies and safety benefits for patients, our early adoption links us with an EMR and user community as one of a small percentage of health care organizations nationwide that meets all federally required meaningful use standards for this year.

How are physician and outpatient programs connected?

While many hospitals and health systems are in the preliminary stages of installing EMRs, MemorialCare already demonstrates the ability to implement inpatient and outpatient systems that connect seamlessly.

The government support of doctors and outpatient programs will likely speed adoption. MemorialCare helps affiliated physicians implement an EMR called myMemorialCare in their practices. Other initiatives ensure physicians with or without an EMR system can easily access their patients’ records. Outpatient records are also available to hospital staff during a patient’s admission. Inpatient and outpatient EMRs can combine for a true electronic continuum of care.

In what ways can businesses learn more?

Consider partnering with your health care providers electronically to better manage the health of employees and their families rather than only managing sickness. Offer educational programs for employees as well as their families. Encourage legislative efforts that create standards for sharing data among health care providers. Encourage government, foundations and other groups to financially support health information technology acquisition and implementation.

While we at MemorialCare Health System have made tremendous progress in this arena, we must partner with all of you to ensure patient technologies move from access for the few to a necessity for all sectors of the health care industry.

Marcia Manker is the CEO of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley. Steve Geidt is the CEO of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Orange County

What makes for a successful work force? According to the Gallup organization, it’s engaged employees — the ones who want to know your company’s expectations so they can meet and exceed them. They use their talents and strengths to perform at consistently high levels, charging enthusiastically toward the nearest tough task, working with passion, driving innovation and moving their companies forward.

To learn more about engaged employees, Smart Business spoke with Marcia Manker, CEO of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, and Steve Geidt, CEO of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. These three hospital facilities are part of the MemorialCare Health System, which recently was just one of 29 employers worldwide and the only one headquartered in Orange or Los Angeles County to receive the 2011 Gallup Great Workplace Award.

Why are engaged employees so important?

When it comes to innovation, businesses traditionally tap research and development teams for guidance. Today, organizations increasingly turn to their employees, customers and partners to inspire innovation. According to Gallup research, engagement of passionate workers is a powerful factor in creating new ideas and catalyzing ‘outside-the-box’ thinking to improve their management and business processes as well as customer service.

What is the Gallup Great Workplace Award?

The award recognizes companies with an extraordinary ability to create an engaged workplace culture. It honors organizations whose employee engagement results demonstrate they have the most productive and engaged work forces in the world. Based on what experts call ‘the most rigorous workplace research ever conducted,’ the awards span the globe and represent businesses ranging from health care, hospitality and retail to manufacturing, banking and insurance.

Businesses are judged on multiple criteria, including response rates exceeding 80 percent, overall engagement levels and evidence of how employee engagement has impacted organizational performance. The results of each applicant are compared across Gallup’s workplace research database of millions of employees and 816,000 work teams in 170 countries worldwide. The organizations with results exceeding strict criteria are invited to submit a portfolio of their strategic plans and best practices. To select the winners, a panel of workplace experts assesses the applicants against established criteria.

What makes the honorees unique?

Gallup found that globally there are more than two actively disengaged employees for every engaged employee. The businesses that were honored shatter and reverse that trend, averaging nine engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee

Employees of these top companies are about twice as likely to report that they receive recognition for their good work, their opinions count, someone at work encourages their development and their co-workers are committed to quality work.  Their company’s mission and purpose make them feel their job is important.

What other elements define a great workplace?

Gallup’s years of research have resulted in their findings that engaged employees are more productive, customer-centric, safer and successful. They are 3.5 times more likely to be thriving in their overall lives, experience better days and have fewer unhealthy days. Gallup tells us that the Great Workplace winning organizations are improving lives as they improve numerous other business results, like company performance and profitability, regardless of industry sector, company size or geographic location. The honorees are establishing a global standard for creating an environment that values people and goes far beyond the norm to ensure each employee has an emotional connection to their growth and mission. The advantages of engagement stretch far beyond simple perks or benefits — they help drive real business outcomes.

In which areas did MemorialCare stand out?

MemorialCare Health System was judged on 20 best practice action plans and three organization-wide best practices implemented among our 10,000-employee work force. The system-wide best practices include the employee health and wellness Good Life Program (see the Smart Business March 2011 interview with Tammie Brailsford), the comprehensive new employee year-long orientation process and a specific health and safety measure to improve patient care.

We were also honored for our stakeholder communications strategy that ensures availability around the clock. This strategy has our executives constantly engaging in person and via multiple communications techniques with board members, executives, managers and all our employees.

Every one of MemorialCare’s exceptional 10,000 employees, 2,300 affiliated physicians and the countless volunteers throughout our health care system contribute to this tremendous honor. Their high level of commitment to our mission is why we’re able to offer our communities high-quality patient care.

How can employers improve the workplace?

Encourage healthier lifestyles among your employees by providing wellness activities, like our Good Life Program that improves health, morale and productivity, while reducing absenteeism and costs of health benefits and workers’ comp. Offer employee physicals that lead to early detection, preventive care and better outcomes. Participate in a survey, like those initiated by Gallup, that compare results with other companies, to learn where you excel or need improvements. Also move new staff orientation from a singular event to ongoing employee development and training.

Our MemorialCare team of occupational, business and clinical health experts is available to work with you to create a healthier, happier and more productive work force.

Marcia Manker is CEO of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center. Steve Geidt is CEO of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Orange County

When it comes to achieving success through innovation, businesses have traditionally tapped their research and development teams for guidance. Today, organizations increasingly turn to their employees, customers and partners to drive them forward. According to research by The Gallup Organization, the engagement of passionate workers is a powerful factor in creating new ideas and catalyzing ‘outside-the-box’ thinking to improve management and business processes as well as customer service.

To learn more, Smart Business looked to Diana Hendel, PharmD, CEO of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach — part of MemorialCare Health System — just one of 29 employers worldwide and the only one headquartered in Los Angeles or Orange County to receive the 2011 Gallup Great Workplace Award.

What is the Gallup Great Workplace Award?

Based on what experts say is ‘the most rigorous workplace research ever conducted,’ the award honors organizations whose employee engagement results demonstrate they have the most productive and engaged work forces in the world. The awards span the globe and represent businesses ranging from health care, hospitality and retail to manufacturing, banking and insurance.

What are the criteria?

The Gallup Workplace Awards recognize companies with an extraordinary ability to create an engaged workplace culture. They are judged on multiple criteria, including response rates exceeding 80 percent, overall engagement levels and evidence of engagement impact on performance. The applicants’ results are then compared across Gallup’s workplace research database of millions of employees and 816,000 work teams in 170 countries worldwide. The organizations with results exceeding strict criteria are invited to submit a portfolio of their strategic plans and best practices. A panel of workplace experts assesses the applicants against established criteria to select the winners.

Where do top companies stand out?

According to Gallup, worldwide there are more than two actively disengaged employees for every engaged employee. Businesses honored work hard to shatter and reverse that trend, averaging nine engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee.

Employees of these top companies are nearly twice as likely to report that they receive recognition for their good work, their opinions count, someone at work encourages their development, their co-workers are committed to quality work and the company’s mission and purpose make them feel their job is important.

What else defines a great workplace?

Engaged employees are more productive, customer-centric, successful and safer. They are 3.5 times more likely to be thriving in their overall lives, experience better days and have fewer unhealthy days. Gallup tells us that the award-winning companies improve lives as they improve numerous other business results, like overall company performance and profitability — regardless of their industry, company size or geographic location. The honorees, Gallup says, establish a new global standard for engaging work forces, creating an environment that values people and goes far beyond the norm to ensure each employee has an emotional connection to their mission and growth. The positive effects of engagement stretch far beyond simple perks or benefits — they help drive real business outcomes.

In what areas did MemorialCare excel?

MemorialCare Health System was judged on 20 best practice action plans and three organization-wide best practices implemented among our 10,000-employee work force. The system-wide best practices include the employee health and wellness Good Life Program (see the Smart Business March 2011 interview with Tammie Brailsford), the comprehensive new employee year-long orientation process and a specific health and safety measure to improve patient care.

Also, at Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s we were honored for our 24/7/365 stakeholder communications strategy, which promises openness and availability around the clock. This strategy has me constantly engaging in person and via multiple communications techniques with board members, executives, managers and all our employees.

Each of our exceptional 5,000 employees, 1,350 affiliated physicians and the countless volunteers on our Long Beach campus contributes to this tremendous honor. Their high level of commitment to our mission is the reason we’re able to offer our communities extraordinary, high-quality patient care.

How can employers adopt best practices?

Particiate in a workplace survey, like those facilitated by Gallup, to compare results with other companies and learn where you excel or need improvements. Also, adapt new staff orientation from a single event to ongoing employee development and training.

Encourage healthier lifestyles by adding or expanding wellness, much like our Good Life Program that improves health, morale and productivity, while reducing absenteeism and costs of health benefits and workers’ comp. Offer executive and employee physicals that lead to early detection, preventive care and better outcomes.

Our MemorialCare team of occupational, clinical and business health experts can help employers create a healthier, happier and more productive work force.

Diana Hendel, PharmD, is the CEO of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Los Angeles

As nonprofit facilities continue to face increasing financial challenges and uncertainties, executives are tapping and expanding their philanthropic activities to provide funding for vital construction projects, advanced health education, critical patient programs and unique medical technologies.

To learn more, Smart Business turned to Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation in Laguna Hills and San Clemente, and Paul Stimson, director of Orange Coast Memorial Foundation in Fountain Valley.

Why is philanthropy so important?

Nonprofit hospitals typically began when concerned citizens raised funds to ensure local access to high-quality health care. Over the years, donors continued their support, helping add the programs, services and facilities necessary to keep pace with medical advances and innovations.

These are your community hospitals, and your philanthropy makes a difference.  Even in difficult times, we are witnessing a larger number of philanthropic friends making decisions based on the fundamental reason people give — to make a difference and ensure the best health care is available close to home. To protect and enhance this kind of care, ongoing philanthropic investments are critical.

How does it impact hospitals?

Philanthropy elevates a life of success to a life of significance. We see people making that choice every day: children raising $12 for cancer research through a lemonade stand, individuals that fund charitable trusts and annuities making outright major gifts, board members who provide expert leadership, the hundreds of volunteers and organizations that sponsor fund-raising events. Many choose to fund endowments that provide sustainability to critical patient programs and continuing medical education.

Every gift we receive has a story. All stories begin with a philanthropic friend, continue through the work of our health care team and then impact the lives of our patients and our communities. Every week, premature babies are saved, elderly patients comforted, illnesses diagnosed, bones mended and lives saved — thanks to the generous philanthropy of individuals, corporations and private foundations in our caring communities.

Philanthropic donors and organizations are vital partners in achieving success at Orange Coast Memorial and Saddleback Memorial Medical Centers. This is especially true during a time when hospitals are challenged in securing the newest technology and in expanding programs to meet the needs of the community. Thanks to the countless philanthropic friends, our hospitals are able to add the programs, services and facilities necessary to keep pace with the latest advances. And all our philanthropic friends appreciate the value of having extraordinary patient care today and in the future.

What are some examples?

Our decades of offering compassionate, quality care are based on the generosity and expertise of extraordinary people. Orange Coast Memorial Foundation supported development of the new six-story Patient Care Pavilion that provides access to some of the most respected physicians and advanced diagnostic and treatment facilities for cancer, surgery, obesity and imaging services at Orange Coast Memorial. Recent gifts are helping fund the new cardiac rehabilitation center, as well as nursing education.

Saddleback Memorial began when Leisure World residents, envisioning a world-class hospital in southern Orange County, raised $500,000 and the developer Ross Cortese donated nine acres. Opening in 1974, it was the first community health facility serving the growing Saddleback Valley. Since opening, Saddleback Memorial has received over $200 million in philanthropic gifts. These funds supported construction of Meiklejohn Critical Care Pavilion, the Women’s Hospital and the numerous programs, services and medical technologies at the Laguna Hills and San Clemente locations.

MemorialCare Health System does its share to help our communities. During the last fiscal year, our medical centers provided nearly $150 million in charity care and community benefits. We are also active in our communities, having supported organizations like March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Heart Association.

We value the philanthropic funds that are entrusted to us by our donors and grantors. The gifts, grants and bequests given to our foundations help distinguish our hospitals as top medical institutions. We are confident that the philanthropy which built and sustained both Saddleback Memorial and Orange Coast Memorial as well as our many Centers of Excellence will continue, thanks to the commitment of our caring communities.

How can employers help?

We appreciate that businesses continue to leverage their resources to support their communities, even in difficult times. They understand their unique position as corporate citizens in taking a proactive role to making a difference and encouraging their employees to do so as well.

Orange County employers and their work forces help us ensure high-quality health care through a number of philanthropic channels — individual gifts, corporate grants, payroll deductions, endowments, estate and planned gifts, corporate gifts,  in-kind gifts, tributes, fund-raising events, sponsorships and much more. Even as businesses continue to be impacted by an uncertain economy, many of them give back by supplementing charitable giving with longer-term pledges as well as gift commitments.

Cecilia Belew is president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. Paul Stimson is director of Orange Coast Memorial Foundation in Fountain Valley. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Orange County

A healthy work force is the foundation for good business, as critical to your bottom line as the quality of products and services. To stem rising costs of health care and encourage healthier lifestyles, employers are adding and expanding wellness programs.

To learn more, Smart Business turned to Tammie Brailsford, chief operating officer of MemorialCare Health System in Southern California.

Why should businesses invest in wellness?

There are many benefits that arise from worksite wellness, from reducing absenteeism, health care and workers’ compensation costs to improving employee health, morale and productivity.

A University of Michigan study revealed health care costs for a high-risk worker are three times that of a low-risk employee. The American Institute of Preventive Medicine reports that 87.5 percent of health claim costs are due to lifestyle. Companies that implement wellness activities can save from $3.48 to $5.42 for every dollar spent and can reduce absences 30 percent.

What’s the impact of overweight employees?

With nearly 70 percent of America’s work force overweight, businesses carry an additional $500 to $2,500 per employee in work loss and medical care for a national total of $50 billion in annual expenditures related to obesity alone. Expanding waistlines fuel increases in blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reaching epidemic proportions. The impact of too much weight on health quality and life expectancy is now equal to if not greater than smoking. Chronic diseases like hypertension, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes and depression are responsible for two-thirds of the total increase in health care spending and take an enormous toll on employees and their families.

To help address this issue, at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and at the Miller Children’s Hospital, we offer cash rewards for healthy weight loss through a program emphasizing nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes leading to life-long healthy weight.

How can companies afford to offer these activities?

Costs can be minimal — from $50 to $500 or more per employee annually, plus any incentives for health improvement. Instead of building a fitness center, offer employees a pedometer, mealtime walking programs and sessions on achieving better health. It’s as simple as selecting a salad or taking stairs or a 10-minute break to walk.

Leadership involvement is critical to the success of any activities. Your participation and engagement create ‘permission’ among employees to join the conversation and build health and wellness behaviors, like activity, into their daily work life.

Can you describe The Good Life?

This program is at the heart of our efforts to build a culture of excellence that will encourage employees to make healthier daily choices and improve their overall health. Initiatives include exercise classes, walking challenges, nutritious cafeteria food, weight reduction programs, smoke-free campuses, newsletters, work-life balance programs, healthy employee activity days  and more.

Other innovations include managers who take walking rather than sitting meetings and installing both Wii sports stations to encourage active rather than sedentary breaks and walking workstations, which allow talking on the phone and working on the computer while simultaneously walking on a treadmill.

This year, our employees also may receive paycheck incentives by participating in the confidential health assessments that help identify opportunities to improve health by setting and achieving personal goals. In January alone, over 1,400 staff accessed an online health risk assessment and more than 1,200 scheduled a personal biometric screening.

What outcomes have you experienced?

Our data suggests that a mere 2 percent movement from chronic to improved health can save MemorialCare more than $600,000 annually. During just a 17-week period, employees participating in work-based weight reduction programs lost a combined total of 1,248 pounds. Weight loss of as little as 5 to 10 percent can significantly impact blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. For every pound that’s lost by those overweight, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee-joint stress load. That’s almost 5,000 pounds less stress on one group of employees’ knees.

Where can an employer start?

Start with an employee wellness committee to plan your initiatives with guidance from health care professionals. Begin with simple screenings to help make employees aware of their blood pressure, cholesterol numbers, weight, nutritional habits and fitness levels. Get your work force walking during meals and breaks. Offer sessions that share advice, activities and coaching to reach and maintain goals. Identify employee advocates to motivate others to follow their lead. Engage employees’ families to extend healthy habits at home. Partner with community resources like hospitals, public health and local heart, cancer and lung associations.

MemorialCare hospitals help employers with information and resources on low- to no-cost screenings, prevention and healthy lifestyle sessions at their company and in the community. Memorialcare.org provides a number of online health risk assessments and wellness tips on the journey to better health.

Tammie Brailsford is the chief operating officer of MemorialCare Health System in Southern California. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Los Angeles

There’s great reason for hope on the heart disease front. Never before have there been so many options for diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Two-thirds of adults survive the disease — 27 percent more than a decade ago, and impressive new technologies and techniques show tremendous promise.

While progress is impressive and risk factors well known, more Americans continue to die from heart failure than any other disease. While hereditary factors play a role, poor lifestyle choices remain the main culprit.

To learn more, Smart Business turned to Robert Greenfield, M.D., a cardiologist and lipidologist and the medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center; and Jason Shen, M.D., a Board Certified Cardiologist at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.

What risk factors are most prevalent?

Smoking, obesity, sedentary lifestyles and heavy consumption of saturated fats and trans fats are prevalent among too many Americans. These negatively impact cholesterol counts and blood pressure levels and can cause dangerous plaque build-up in coronary arteries. Too often, these are adopted by children who mirror their parents’ unhealthy habits. With one in three children and teens in California overweight, the elevated number of kids with risk factors for heart disease — high body-mass index, glucose intolerance, elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol — translates into higher risks of chronic disease as an adult. That’s why family fitness is essential.

How can risks be minimized?

Studies show that lowering cholesterol and treating high blood pressure reduce the risk of dying of heart disease, having a non-fatal heart attack and needing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty. Preventive measures include maintaining an appropriate weight and eating foods low in cholesterol and fat. Reducing stress, controlling blood pressure and exercising regularly are important, as well as getting regular check-ups and screenings and following a doctor’s advice.

How do heart attack symptoms vary among men and women?

For women — more of whom die of heart disease than men — symptoms can be so subtle they may not suspect they’re in trouble. Symptoms may include nausea, dizziness, uncomfortable pressure, tightness or heaviness in the chest that doesn’t go away quickly; cold sweats or pounding heart; pain radiating up the shoulders or neck or down the arms or back; difficulty breathing; and/or shortness of breath. Men, on the other hand, tell us they experience a crushing chest pain, as if an elephant were sitting on their chest.

What advances are available locally?

The residents of Orange County are fortunate to have access to world class heart care. Advanced and innovative diagnostic technologies, treatments and rehabilitation for heart disease are the norm at MemorialCare hospitals. These include open heart surgery, angioplasty, stenting and device implantation such as internal defibrillators and pacemakers. In addition, heart and vascular services offer catheter ablation, rehabilitation and centers for cardiac care for women. We are among just a few designated cardiac paramedic receiving centers in Orange County with emergency treatment times that beat the national average.

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Memorial is the region’s first hospital, and one of a handful in the U.S., to introduce a Hybrid Cardiovascular Interventional Suite. This revolutionary approach to heart care allows our cardiac specialists to provide both interventional treatments and surgery in one suite, reducing procedure time and stress on patients. Based on diagnosis and condition, we may provide angiography, angioplasty, bypass surgery or combinations of these treatments in the Hybrid Suite.

Saddleback Memorial is a pioneer in beating heart surgery, which is surgery performed without stopping the heart. This can result in better preservation of heart function, reduced hospital stays and quicker recoveries. We received the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines Heart Failure Gold Performance Award, honoring our achievements in attaining stringent guidelines for treating heart failure patients. Our advances continue with the new center dedicated to managing heart disease and other chronic conditions.

How can we create a healthier workplace?

Current research reveals that a healthy lifestyle is your best defense against many diseases. This means that the workplace can be the source to better health. Employers, including MemorialCare, offer programs and screenings for employees that includes nutrition education, exercise tips and organized health activities, such as break times for walking groups. They can provide healthy lifestyle choices by ensuring there is an availability of a variety of choices of fruits, vegetables and nutritious foods in vending machines and eating places.

The Memorialcare.com website offers health tools and calculators that help evaluate risks for a number of diseases. It is a resource for health guides for heart attack symptoms, heart-healthy eating and women’s wellness. MemorialCare hospitals offer prevention programs and heart evaluations at your worksite and other convenient locations.

Robert Greenfield, M.D., is a cardiologist, lipidologist and medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center.

Jason Shen, M.D., is a board certified cardiologist at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Orange County

Treatment of heart disease is making substantial strides. Thanks to medical advances, two-thirds of adults survive heart attacks; and every child with congenital heart disease has potential to live a long, normal, productive life. However, challenges persist in convincing people to adopt common sense approaches to heart health.

Smart Business turned to national experts Gabriel Vorobiof, M.D., medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology, Imaging and Heart Failure at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Richard Swensson, M.D., medical director of Pediatric Cardiology at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

Is heart disease gender or age specific?

Heart diseases can arise from two main causes — those that are acquired (coronary heart disease, valvular disease, congestive heart failure) and those that are congenital (structural problems acquired prior to birth). Heart disease, therefore, can really be thought of as an equal-opportunity condition. Acquired cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, responsible for more deaths than all forms of cancer, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, diabetes and accidents combined.

In adults, death rates from cardiovascular causes declined 27 percent just in the last decade, largely a testament to improvement in detection and treatment of a variety of cardiovascular conditions. Congenital heart disease affects one of every 100 babies and, if it is left untreated, complications may develop, which can be difficult to reverse as they reach adulthood.

How do heart attack symptoms differ between men and women?

Most Americans do recognize chest pain as a symptom of a heart attack, the most visible symptom of heart disease, but in a national study, only 27 percent were aware of major symptoms. While men report crushing chest pain — like an elephant sitting on their chest — for many women, symptoms may be more subtle, and they may not realize they’re in danger. Women may experience nausea, dizziness, uncomfortable pressure, tightness or heaviness in the chest that doesn’t go away quickly; cold sweats or pounding heart; pain that radiates up the shoulders or neck or down the arms or back; difficulty with breathing; and/or shortness of breath.

Can the risks be minimized?

The dangerous coronary artery plaque deposits typically start building in youngsters and teens. Help children get a healthy start by changing or controlling the risk factors leading to heart disease as adults. Set an example. Eat foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fat and free of trans fats. Exercise, reducing stress, regular checkups, screenings, following your doctor’s advice and not smoking reduce risks. Elevated cholesterol earlier in life can lead to long-term damage, so monitor cholesterol and blood pressure levels of all family members.

What expertise is available locally?

MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Memorial, acclaimed leader in cardiovascular care and research, rates among the top 3 percent nationally and 1 percent statewide for heart attack survival and pioneering diagnostic tests and treatments. We’re home to a new generation of cardiac imaging that yields information about the heart we never dreamed possible before — all without incisions or other invasive means. We can identify a wide range of heart problems safely, quickly and accurately so patients receive timely and effective care. We perform the most robotic heart surgeries in the West using Da Vinci robot technology that offers minimally invasive capabilities with greater surgical benefits. We’re the West’s only hospital successfully implanting a heart detection device in heart attack survivors. With 35 percent of female and 20 percent of male survivors at danger of a second heart attack occurring within the first year, the device helps reduce time getting to the ER by monitoring and analyzing a patient’s heart data from within their hearts.

The Miller Children’s Pediatric Cardiac Center and Fetal Heart Program provide total prenatal, infant, pediatric and young adult heart care for patients with congenital or acquired heart disease or who have a family history of heart problems. The board-certified pediatric cardiologists that are in the hospital 24/7 are supported by a pediatric cardiac team, providing comprehensive care, from diagnoses, treatments and surgeries to extensive post-operative, follow-up and preventive care. Hospital and satellite Cardiology Outpatient Pediatric Specialty Centers provide extensive evaluation and management of children with a wide range of heart disease. With advanced minimally invasive interventions, such as interventional cardiac catheterization and robotic heart surgery, Miller Children’s is among the state’s most advanced pediatric heart centers.

How can businesses create a more heart healthy workplace?

Healthier employees are typically more productive and happier. Encourage taking stairs instead of the elevator; offer walking programs at breaks. Engage employees’ families in prevention to extend healthy habits at home. Partner with hospitals on worksite wellness and screenings.

Visit www.memorialcare.org/heart for heart guides, health tools and calculators that help with evaluating risks for many diseases.

Gabriel Vorobiof, M.D., is medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology, Imaging and Heart Failure at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

Richard Swensson, M.D., is medical director of Pediatric Cardiology at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit www.memorialcare.org.

Published in Los Angeles
Page 3 of 3