Program Spotlight: Department of Urology
As the health care landscape changes, the Department of Urology at Rush is evolving as well. "Health care institutions across the country are finding new ways to be major contributors to overall health," says Ajay Nehra, MD, chairperson of the department. "The Department of Urology here at Rush is focusing on ways we can improve treatment of urological issues, as well as men's health as a whole."
As the new chairperson, Nehra is focused on evaluating the department's quality of care and outcomes. To do this, the department is standardizing treatment protocols across the department for each disease site, allowing patients to receive the same standard of care regardless of which doctor they see. "By standardizing protocols we will be able to better evaluate satisfaction rates, morbidity and mortality rates, complication rates and so on," says Nehra.
The department was ranked No. 22 among the nation's urology programs in U.S. News & World Report's 2012-13 "America's Best Hospitals" issue. And Nehra is hoping improved evaluations of quality and outcomes, along with other new initiatives, will further improve urological care at Rush. "We want to continue being a national and international player in the field of urology," says Nehra.
To that end, the urology department at Rush is building on its specialized, multidisciplinary services. "We are embarking on very sophisticated, state-of-the-art approaches to prostate, bladder and kidney cancer," says Dennis Pessis, MD, a professor in the department.
As a specialty, urology has been at the leading edge of minimally invasive surgery. Today, the department is focused on further improving its robotics capabilities, laparoscopic surgeries and other minimally invasive techniques.
The department will also be offering state-of-the-art renal services, in both diagnostic and surgical interventions, including cryoablation and radiofrequency ablation.
Some of the other advanced technologies, treatments and minimally invasive procedures that urologists in the department provide include the following:
- Complex reconstructive procedures
- Erectile dysfunction treatments
- Female urology services for incontinence and pelvic disorders
- Laser lithotripsy
- Male infertility treatments
- Minimally invasive prostate resection
- Robotic-assisted surgeries with the da Vinci Surgical System
Urologists in the department are also part of The Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Clinic, which provides men with prostate cancer advanced treatment options and minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Like the clinic, the urology department at Rush is committed to multidisciplinary care, with urologists collaborating with other specialists to provide comprehensive care for their patients. "Urology is the portal for men's health," says Nehra. "Men are very comfortable discussing both their urological-related disorders and other health concerns with urologists."
Nehra is putting together a men's health center at Rush that will bring together urologists and specialists in cardiology, endocrinology, oncology and primary care. While urologists in the department currently take a holistic approach in treating their patients, they often have to refer patients to specialists at Rush in different office locations, and patients have to set up additional appointments and follow-ups with multiple specialists. The new men's health clinic, however, will be designed as a one-stop shop for men to receive an overall health evaluation and see as many subspecialties as necessary.