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Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

PAMF Physician Among First to Offer Breakthrough Treatment for Severe Asthma in Adults – Bronchial Thermoplasty

May 1, 2012 is World Asthma Day

For the millions of adults who have asthma, there has never been a cure, only medication options for preventing or treating asthma attacks. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) now offers a new procedure called bronchial thermoplasty that gives long-term relief from asthma. To date, PAMF is one of the few centers in Northern California and among the first medical providers in the United States to offer this new procedure for patients with severe asthma.

Ganesh Krishna, M.D., is an interventional pulmonologist with expertise in pulmonary critical care medicine, who practices at PAMF’s Mountain View Center. Dr. Krishna is one of only a few doctors in the United States who are experts in highly specialized, minimally invasive pulmonary treatments including bronchial thermoplasty.

A national pioneer in offering the new bronchial thermoplasty procedure, Dr. Krishna has performed this treatment more than 60 times for 22 patients (patients undergo three treatment sessions in different areas of the lungs).

“We are leaders in bronchial thermoplasty and one of the most experienced centers in the world,” Dr. Krishna said. “Our presentation of data at the California Technology Assessment Forum was instrumental in helping the expert panel form a favorable decision on this new treatment. Physicians travel to our center from all over the country for training in this breakthrough procedure.” Read More

PAMF Reaches out to Parents on New California Pertussis Vaccine Requirement

Pertussis (whooping cough) has reached epidemic proportions in California, prompting a new California state law that requires all students entering the 7th through 12th grades to provide proof of having received a booster vaccination (called Tdap) against the disease.

In February 2011, the State Superintendent of Education, Tom Torlakson, sent a letter to schools informing them about this immunization requirement. Many San Francisco Bay Area school districts in turn contacted parents about this required booster.

“PAMF has tens of thousands of pediatric patients, so we anticipated an increase in calls from parents requesting their child’s immunization records,” said Kathy Korbholz, PAMF vice president of Ancillary Operations. “We coordinated a mass mailing to the parents of all PAMF pediatric patients who are affected by the new law.”

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Asthma Patients’ Participation in Treatment Choices Improves Outcomes

Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making Funds Sites Around the Country

Boston, MA and Palo Alto, CA – The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) recently received one of a handful of grants from the Boston-based Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making. PAMF, a multispecialty medical group in the San Francisco Bay Area, will serve as the clinical site and PAMFRI and UCSF will coordinate the research aspect of the project.

The one-year, $200,000 grant will fund efforts at PAMF to explore the best ways to use innovative audio-visual decision aids, such as DVDs, to improve the ability of patients to partner with their physicians to make complex medical decisions. PAMF is one of a number of demonstration sites across the country that are part of a national effort by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making to make patients full participants in their own health care decisions.

“We are pleased to be working with health care organizations such as PAMF, PAMFRI and UCSF who are committed to changing the face of health care by inviting patients to play an active role, working with their providers, in deciding what care is best for them,” said Michael Barry, M.D., president of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making.

Each year, the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making funds organizations it believes have the greatest commitment to patient-centered care and the infrastructure to make decision aids part of daily medical practice. The decision aids, co-produced with Health Dialog and created with the assistance of world-class medical experts in a variety of specialties, consist of booklets and DVDs that thoroughly examine a patient’s treatment options and include real patients discussing their choices. Each demonstration site incorporates the decision aids into the physician/patient relationship in its own way to foster what is now known as a “Shared Medical Decision Making” process.

“We are very excited about this funding,” said Harold Luft, Ph.D., director of PAMFRI. “It will allow us to begin building a system that enhances the information we give our patients and their ability to participate fully in their own health care.”

With the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making grant, project leaders will fund a point person (a shared decision-making navigator) who will communicate with patients referred by health care providers about their preferred method for receiving information for shared decision-making. Patients will have several options for accessing the decision aids. They will be able to view the DVDs at PAMF’s Palo Alto Community Health Resource Center and speak with an on-site nurse about their questions. Patients will also have the option of borrowing the DVDs from the Resource Center or receiving them by mail to view at home before speaking with a nurse or physician by phone. Some patients may also choose to join others with similar conditions in scheduled shared medical appointments during which they can view the decision-making aids and speak with physicians or nurses.

Other recent grant recipients include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, White River Junction VA Medical Center; Pittsburgh VA Health Care System; Massachusetts General Hospital – John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation; Mercy Clinics Inc. (Des Moines, Iowa); Oregon Rural Practice-Based Research Network; The Stillwater Medical Group; and the University of North Carolina Sheps Center for Health Services Research.

To view more detailed summaries of all the grant recipient projects, go to http://www.informedmedicaldecisions.org/.

To view a sample of a decision aid video, go to http://sdm.healthdialog.com/index.html.

To learn more about the Foundation, the portfolio of decision aids and research demonstrating the need for an informed and involved patient, visit http:/www.informedmedicaldecisions.org/index.html.