In March 2022, Drs. Reinhorn and Fullington visited Denver, Colorado to attend and present at the annual quality improvement summit for the Americas Core Health Quality Collaborative (ACHQC). This summit meets annually with the goal of analyzing data from surgeons across the country in order to identify high performers and share critical insights into improving surgical decision making and techniques to ultimately maximize patients’ outcomes after hernia surgery. Like Dr. Reinhorn and Dr. Fullington, the other 50+ surgeons that attended this summit come from all over the country and have a special interest and expertise in hernia surgery. These types of conferences, where experts in the field come together and work towards improving quality of care, can have a significant and lasting impact on improved outcomes for our patients. Boston Hernia is proud to be actively involved in this collaborative and credits these efforts with helping us constantly strive towards the best for our patients.
Both Boston Hernia surgeons had an excellent experience at the summit, where they listened to various talks on improving patient outcomes in inguinal and ventral hernia. Dr. Fullington presented to the group on the Shouldice repair, which is a non-mesh inguinal hernia repair technique that involves suturing the layers of the abdominal wall back together. This is a technique that was developed in Toronto, Canada, and is not widely available in the United States, but is becoming more popular as some patients prefer to avoid mesh. Surgeons from around the country were excited to learn from Dr. Fullington both how to perform the procedure and who is an appropriate candidate for this procedure.
Dr. Reinhorn presented to the summit on the OPP/TREPP inguinal hernia repair – the fast recovery inguinal hernia surgery that Boston Hernia performs most often which is a posterior mesh repair. This repair, in the end, is identical to a laparoscopic or robotic inguinal hernia repair, but is done through a small incision in the groin and typically under local anesthesia with sedation in the appropriate patient. He presented this repair technique as an excellent alternative to laparoscopic or robotic for most patients with a BMI under 33.
Dr. Reinhorn also moderated a group of presentations discussing opioid reduction efforts amongst surgeons in the ACHQC. As the Chair of the Opioid Reduction Task Force, he has worked tirelessly over the last few years to both reduce his own opioid prescribing from 10 tablets to zero for most patients (about 90%) as well as encourage other surgeons to do the same. Research has shown that patients require much less opioids than are commonly prescribed and can recover just as comfortably without these excessive prescriptions. Many surgeons present at this summit have reduced their opioid prescribing since the implementation of this Task Force, and some, like Dr. Reinhorn and Dr. Fullington, routinely do NOT send patients home with opioid prescriptions after elective hernia surgery. A real win for the ACHQC is that several surgeons identified that they will stop routinely prescribing and instead selectively prescribe opioids to their patients who undergo inguinal and umbilical hernia repairs as a result of the session.
Overall, the Boston Hernia surgeons had an excellent weekend in Denver filled with learning, educating, collaborating, and discovering new ways to improve patient care back home in Boston. And of course a trip to Colorado in March is not complete without a little bit of skiing as well! Check out the ACHQC website to learn more about their various initiatives in improving patient care and outcomes in hernia surgery. We appreciate all of our patients who participate in the ACHQC surveys, which help us to continuously grow and improve our care of future patients.