The University’s Michigan Surgical Home & Optimization Program has received $6.3 million from the Health Care Innovation Award to fund the implementation of their structured, pre-surgery program.

MSHOP seeks to improve surgical outcomes in high-risk cases through four basic steps taken during the time between a patient’s decision to have surgery and the scheduled surgery date. Patients in the program are encouraged to be active, quit smoking, eat properly and practice relaxation techniques designed to boost optimism.

Dr. Michael J. Englesbe, associate professor of surgery and a principal investigator on the project, said the new habits introduced in the study, such as increased physical activity and proper nutrition, have the potential to produce better post-surgery results even in a short time period.

“The program is similar to the training for a 5k race, as a two hour operation has a similar effect on the body, and you can imagine what that would be like for an 85 year old,” Englesbe said. “They have to quit smoking, walk every day, and the family kind of participates in the care and process.”

Eligible patients of any age or health in the program are given firm, obtainable goals and tools, like interactive smart-phone apps, to create optimal conditions and be as prepared as possible for surgery. MSHOP has been used in the University’s hospital system for approximately a year and a half, with over 300 patients participating in the program. The program has demonstrated a 30 percent decrease in the time patients spend in the hospital and a subsequent 30 percent decrease in the cost of care.

The Health Care Innovation Award, given by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is one of many awards offered through the Social Security Act to demonstrate support for various health care providers, health care institutions and programs that have the potential to be transformative for the healthcare field such as MSHOP. The award is funded by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other legislation set through the centers which aim to lower the cost of healthcare by providing more accurate information prior to surgery and taking measures to improve patients’ health prior to surgery if they choose more aggressive treatment options.

Englesbe added that beyond the introduction of healthier habits, MSHOP also uses preoperative imagery like CAT scans to help patients see how healthy they are internally before making decisions about surgery.

“A person could be 68 but have a body equivalent to an 85 year old on the inside,” he said. “We are using this sort of technology to help patients have a better understanding of what to expect, and often patients reconsider whether they want aggressive surgery.”

The award will fund the program’s implementation, and the actual training of patients, in over 40 hospitals within the next three years.

Along with the University, MSHOP also partners with the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative and insurance company Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan.

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