How collaboration is improving orthopedic patients’ outcomes

Some in the health care industry speculate that consolidation is the fate for most providers. But Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) has evidence that a sustainable advantage is gained not so much from economies of scale, but rather from economies of knowledge. Expertise correlates to patient outcomes and operational efficiency. And through collaborative relationships with third-party hospitals from up the road to across the globe, and advanced education used by medical professionals in more than 150 countries, HSS is getting bigger by helping others get better.

"154 years of specialization gives HSS the opportunity and responsibility to focus on sustainable leadership, at a time when quality is the answer to meeting the global challenges of surging demand and cost," says HSS President and CEO Lou Shapiro. "At HSS, a unique level of experience has long propelled the most advanced knowledge and prolific invention and innovation; now, we are syndicating that to other institutions in a sustainable business model that fuels growth through quality performance for consumers, our partner institutions, and for HSS."

The HSS Global Orthopedic Alliance was created recognizing that specific needs vary among health systems. The Alliance systematically transfers knowledge, protocols and other support from HSS to achieve different degrees of transformation, the highest of which is recognized as an HSS Center of Excellence.

Through the Alliance, HSS provides mentorship, education, and consulting to hospital systems that want to specialize in musculoskeletal care and adopt the model of care that has been successful for HSS. To date, it has collaborated with hospital systems in six countries outside the U.S., including Brazil, Greece, Ghana, China, South Korea and England.

"We've had great success exporting our brand to other health systems around the world," says Dr. Charles Cornell, orthopedic surgeon at HSS, and Medical Director at HSS Orthopedics at Stamford Health, a collaboration between HSS and a top Connecticut hospital system launched early this year. "The heart of the mission of the Hospital for Special Surgery is to deliver the best of care around the world. And we found the best way to do this is to collaborate with exceptional health organizations."

One such organization is Hospital Alvorada, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2014, HSS formalized a relationship with Hospital Alvorada, with a focus on total joint replacement, of which HSS performs more than 10,000 each year. Inclusive in the partnership is access for physicians and surgical staff at Hospital Alvorada to seminars, symposia and continuing education videos online through the education portal HSS eAcademy, as well as other mentorship and training opportunities. This has benefitted both hospitals — and patients — immensely.

"The partnership with HSS did attract more surgeons to the hospital," said Dr. Osvaldo Pires, Orthopedic Surgeon at Hospital Alvorada, Sao Paulo, Brazil. "[When you have] better surgeons, of course, you have better outcomes. The quality of the surgeons hired by the hospital increased significantly."

As a result of its partnership with HSS, Hospital Alvorada is well on its way to establishing its own reputation as a leader in the field of joint replacement and musculoskeletal medicine in Brazil. In this way, HSS's Shapiro hopes to take the impeccable skill and knowledge found at HSS to help as many people as possible the world over.

"People come [to HSS] from all over the world," adds Shapiro. "But the entire world doesn't come to New York."

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