Memorial Regional Hospital - Exercise Referral Program
What began as an educational program for cardiac and pulmonary patients 2 ½ years ago, has evolved into a robust referral program for patients prescribed exercise pre and post treatment. At Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Florida John Shannon, an exercise physiologist, and his team have grown and expanded a program where patients are now being prescribed exercise along with other behavior modification strategies in conjunction with their treatment plans. Mr. Shannon’s team works closely with physicians from multiple specialties, having established trust and rapport among departments, which has paid off huge dividends in both improved patient health outcomes as well an improved bottom line.
The program began out of the need to bridge an identified gap that existed between the care being delivered to patients in their inpatient cardiopulmonary rehab department and a lack of sustained behavior change that would ultimately lead these patients to be readmitted soon after discharge. The program, created by Rob Herzog, M.S. a Clinical Exercise Physiologist at Memorial at the time, began to provide education to these patients in the hopes to reduce their risks post-op and prevent future occurrences of illness and/or relapse. Once Mr. Shannon came on board about two years ago, taking over the position, he integrated his expertise of exercise physiology as well as behavior change with the education being provided to these patients. What transpired was a booming success among the cardiopulmonary patients, which then spread across other departments as patient successes were shared among fellow clinicians and ultimately physicians. The team now works with patients with cystic fibrosis, cancer, and even does work with pediatrics at the Joe DiMaggio’s children’s hospital, working with children in palliative care delivering exercise prescriptions and psychosocial help to those patients.
Today the program currently receives 30-50 orders daily from physicians, and the program shows no signs of slowing. Mr. Shannon and team’s services are mobile, offering bed-side exercise programming to patients who are unable to leave their rooms, making their program convenient as well as efficient. They also offer pre and post-treatment exercise programming to better assist patients prior to their procedures as well as afterwards to help their transitions towards normalcy quicker and easier. An important factor in their efficiency is the integration of supervised exercise order sets into their system’s electronic medical record (EMR) system, which has allowed physicians a quick and easy way to put in an order to have John’s team work with their patients. The utilization of these order sets has increased among their physicians and have proven beneficial. Through this EMR integration, they have been able to track orders, monitor patient progress, and provide timely feedback to both the patients as well as their physicians. The result has been a decrease in patient re-admittance and an increase in both patient and physician satisfaction and improved health. Patients receive tailored programming while inpatient, but once they are discharged, they are not left empty-handed.
Patients leaving the hospital are provided numerous educational materials and support and may qualify for exercise programming as an outpatient. Cancer patients automatically qualify for a complimentary 3-month exercise plan upon discharge, and those who are not fully covered by insurance for exercise programming are offered affordable options for continuing their exercise treatments at their Fitness and Rehabilitation facilities, both on and off campus. These options have made the inclusion of exercise as a method treatment for patients a viable and attractive option, one that will certainly only continue to grow as the demand for it rises. When asked what the key to their success was, it came down to the culture of the hospital; physician involvement is key, as well as the system-wide belief that physical activity is an important and essential component of the treatment and patient care model. But it is also the competency, skill, and trust of exercise professionals, like John, that are able to deliver high quality care to patients with specific medical conditions.
To learn more about the program at Memorial Regional, contact Rob Herzog at (954) 265-5155.