This past weekend I performed arthroscopic surgery on a knee and extracted a sponge that was clogging up the joint. Sounds scary doesn’t it? It was great fun, part of the open house at UW Medicine’s new Sports Medicine Center at Husky Stadium in Seattle. The newly opened clinic has been operating for about a month, but this was an opportunity for the general public to see what it was all about.
The open house was framed around a “Passport to Health” and participants visited various stations staffed by doctors, physical therapists, and radiologists. At each stop, experts explained procedures and benefits, and answered questions from attendees. Volunteers from some of the UW sports teams acted as guinea pigs for some of the treatments.
Specialties in the clinic and stops along the tour included:
Running Medicine: Here we saw how the anti-gravity treadmill can help both running performance and rehabilitation.
- Sports Performance and Rehabilitation: In the “gym” area of the center, physical therapists discussed how they help improve performance and restore function using exercise and equipment including a full Pilates set up.
- Soft-tissue Injuries: The focus was on preventative measures and bringing people back to full performance.
- MSK Ultrasound: Ultrasound technology has come a long way from fuzzy gray images. In this session we saw how ultrasound can be used to access and diagnose nerve damage using Doppler technology to show nerves and blood vessels.
- Platelet Rich Plasma: This technique involves injecting a patient’s plasma back into a troubled area to help repair and regenerate cells. It’s particularly helpful for nagging tendon injuries, although physical therapy is recommended first if it’s an acute injury.
- Minimally Invasive Surgery (Knee and Shoulder demonstrations): I don’t want to say this was the most fun, but it was, as participants were guided in performing arthroscopy surgery on a dummy knee or shoulder joint.
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest: The focus of this stop was prevention. Young athletes are at the highest risk for sudden cardiac arrest and UW is leading the way by offering screenings to high school teams around Puget Sound.
In some cases, tour participants received minor consultations, like one woman who had an MSK ultrasound. In addition to providing education and showcasing the clinic’s staff and new technologies, the event generated new patients for the clinic. The tour conveniently ended at reception where many people were seen booking appointments.
The opening of a new clinic like UW Sports Medicine at Husky Stadium provides the perfect time to engage patients. However, maybe adding a new service or technology could provide you with the opportunity to invite the public in for a tour of your facilities. Or maybe it’s a patient appreciation thank-you event. Any opportunity to engage with patients is an opportunity to help educate them to take charge of their own health, and let them know that you’re there when they need help.