New Outpatient Heart & Surgery Center EPIC an Advance in Community-based Health Care

By: Jeanie Erwin
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Specialty: 

Greater comfort, increased accessibility and innovative technologies are the drivers behind EPIC heart & Surgery Center, Wichita’s first and only freestanding outpatient heart & surgery center, which opened Oct. 1.

EPIC stands for Electrophysiology and Interventional Cardiology. EPIC is both an outpatient lab and surgery center in one location. The center is a beautiful, 8,500-square-foot facility and is the brainchild of a group of local physicians who want to provide patients with a convenient, close-to-home location for surgeries that do not require a hospital stay.

“Outpatient surgery is not appropriate for every patient, but for patients who are candidates, it can be a wonderfully convenient option,” explains Ravi Bajaj, MD, FACC, Medical Director of EPIC. “Patients today are embracing the concept of community-based health and the convenience it provides. They understand that many services do not have to be provided in a hospital setting and want an option that better fits their needs and schedules.”

“One of the advantages of this for the physician and the patient is scheduling. In the hospital setting, delays are inherent to the process as emergencies arise. In the outpatient setting, the procedure is scheduled in the morning and patients can return home in the evening without disrupting too much of their lives. By the nature of this kind of facility, the outpatient setting is much more efficient, and therefore provides greater flexibility.”
— Ravi Bajaj, MD, FACC, Medical Director of EPIC

Outpatient Center Provides Greater Flexibility

Nationwide, increasing percentages of surgery patients are going home soon after surgery is completed. Ever-advancing technologies make it possible to perform more procedures using minimally invasive methods and have ushered in a new way of providing interventional services to the community, allowing the procedures to leave the hospital and enter a smaller, community-based setting.

EPIC-Building 750

“One of the advantages of this for the physician and the patient is scheduling,” Dr. Bajaj says. “In the hospital setting, delays are inherent to the process as emergencies arise. In the outpatient setting, the procedure is scheduled in the morning and patients can return home in the evening without disrupting too much of their lives. By the nature of this kind of facility, the outpatient setting is much more efficient, and therefore provides greater flexibility.”

For the patient, the outpatient heart center provides all the advantages of the hospital setting, including advanced technology, physician availability and nursing support, with the advantages of easier access, shorter wait times, a more relaxed setting and more personalized service without compromising the quality of care.

Patients Are the Heart of the Design

The goal of EPIC was to employ design strategies that support a new model of patient care, which increases efficiency, quality and safety while also meeting patient needs surrounding service delivery.

To achieve this objective, every aspect of the state-of-the-art outpatient surgery center, which includes a mix of operating, procedure, and several multipurpose recovery rooms and cath labs, was designed with patients in mind. Patients can be dropped off feet from the door and enter an environment tailored to their needs.

“The facility is very patient-centric,” says Rebecca Benson, Clinical Director for EPIC. “The concept is really that care begins as soon as the patient walks in the door. They are immediately greeted and personally escorted to where they need to be. There is never an opportunity to feel like you are lost, wandering long hallways, figuring out elevators or sitting forgotten in a waiting room. Everything is close at hand, and easily and comfortably navigated. We try to remove the possibility of unnecessary anxiety in what is already a stressful situation for the patient.”

Devoted Care

EPIC is committed to ensuring high-quality care, before, during and after surgery, and maintains a high nurse-to-patient ratio.

EPIC-Staff 750
Left of Dr. Bajaj, Medical Director, are (r-l) Becky Benson, Clinical Director; Amanda Craig, RT; and Gabriele Hernandez, RT. On the back row, from right, are Katherine Ignowski, RN; Arin Fagan, RN; Amanda Nelson, RN, Clinic/Nursing Manager; and Ryan Hallacy, RN.

“We have an excellent team that really understands the value of providing support,” Benson says. “At EPIC, we have a 2-1 nurse-patient ratio, so patients receive incredible attention while they are here. Whether they want warm blankets or just reassurance, patients never have to wait for care to arrive. Because that ratio is high, the patient always knows they are a top priority.”

Spa-like Atmosphere

The soothing atmosphere at EPIC is not an accident. Each room is comfortably designed yet optimal for clinical applications. Recovery rooms lack the stark and sterile look of a hospital and lean more toward an amenity-filled retreat, with Internet access and plenty of room for guests to come and provide support.

“There are many advantages to this type of setting,” Dr. Bajaj says. “Because it is more relaxed, patients tend to be more relaxed, which aids in recovery. ”

Doctor-patient communication is also aided in the calm and comfortable setting, he explains.

“We can take an iPad into their room to discuss procedures, and they are less tense and better able to take in the information, especially as it is presented in a way they find familiar and interesting,” he says.

The rooms feature beautiful and warm décor, and do not in any way suggest a clinical setting. Some have recliners rather than a traditional hospital bed for post-surgery recuperation.

Increasing Patient Satisfaction

When providing care, the goal is to provide the most appropriate care to the patient in the most appropriate location and setting, Dr. Bajaj says.

“For some patients, the most appropriate setting is the hospital, even for a minimally invasive procedure,” he notes. “For others, there is an opportunity to provide a different, outpatient setting that could meet their needs in a more satisfying way. For many, the high level of personal attention increases patient satisfaction considerably. We are excited to be able to provide an option that continues to meet those needs.”

Today, the community-based model is quickly gaining acceptance as patients seek options in specialized care provided in facilities close to home. With the opening of EPIC, physicians are able to better serve the patient and provide the exceptional experience they have grown to expect.


For more information, contact Oren Shill, Vice President, National Cardiovascular Partners, at 916-932-2872 or oshill@ncplp.com.