Excellence In Innovation

For Patricia T., working at Northside Hospital means excelling at innovating.

Patricia, administrative director of our Heart and Vascular Institute, is an integral part of the Northside team that was recently honored with the TCAR Award, recognizing us as a center of excellence for the revolutionary transcarotid artery revascularization technique (TCAR).

This state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedure helps treat plaque in the carotid artery, which could cause a stroke if left alone. TCAR also allows for the treatment of more patients, including those that previously would have been deemed too risky for surgical intervention.

“You don’t have to have an open surgical procedure, you can help patients avoid stroke without even being under anesthesia, and they can go home the next day,” says Patricia. “Older, sicker patients can actually be treated safer, and with fewer complications. We couldn’t even imagine this years ago!”

Patricia says that at Northside, medical innovations are quickly incorporated into patient treatment, thanks to forward-thinking doctors, nurses and hospital leadership. She credits Dr. Siddharth Patel with being a particular champion of TCAR.

“He had the insight to see that this technique had a huge potential for older and/or high-risk patients,” she said. “He was the one who led our calling to it, and he has been the one out educating the public and primary care physicians about the benefits of this procedure.”

Patricia says one reason Northside earned the award was because of the high number of patients it has treated using TCAR – and the high quality of their outcomes.

“What’s so nice about this technique is that previously, not all patients could have a carotid procedure because they were at high risk for stroke,” Patricia said. “In the past, the answer was surgery, and the next innovation was stent placement via the femoral artery. But for older patients, it was still high risk. TCAR allows us to do this without even putting some patients under general anesthesia.”

Making such an innovative approach commonplace is just one more way Northside sets itself apart from many other health systems. It also showcases how teamwork focused on patient care continually drives us forward, and makes Northside such a special place to build a career.

“What you see on our social media pages is true about the environment here – there is a huge sense of collaboration at Northside,” Patricia says. “The focus on the quality of patient care and patient experience makes it a great culture. We can grow our program and focus on patient care and experience, which makes it a unique place to work. As a consultant in my past jobs, I experienced many different health systems across the country. When I came to Northside, I immediately noticed a difference in the environment.”

For Patricia, collaboration, empowerment and a willingness to listen to team members are all hallmarks of the “Northside Difference.”

“It is a culture that is focused on quality of care and patient experience. It really makes you proud,” she said. “The sense of family, too…if you have ever walked the halls here, there really is a sense of teamwork. When I first came here, it was noticeable – everyone was smiling, and happy, people were helping families and going out of their way – it was like, ‘is this for real?’ But six years later, I can tell you, it’s real!”

Giving employees the tools, training, and technology they need to succeed helps Northside build a strong foundation of support. For Patricia, however, that combination really works because of the team of people we’ve assembled here.

“The employees who work at the heart and vascular institute are genuinely great individuals, they care for their patients, they’re highly trained,” she said. “I know that patients are getting great care, I know our operations are being run well, I know our staff members are caring to patients and their families. It allows me to focus on the growth of the program.”

As she focuses on the growth of her programs, Patricia also is focusing on the growth of her career. It has her excited about what’s on the horizon because she’ll be “continually looking for what is next in cardiovascular patient care, and the procedures that we will offer to our patients. These techniques are innovative, and we’ll keep preparing ourselves for the next ones that will provide expert care for our patients in the future.”