June 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

About 12,500 in Michigan to get surgery boot camp

Detroit— About 12,500 people in Michigan will get the chance to go through a surgery boot camp in the weeks leading up to their operations as part of an effort to help them more swiftly recover from surgery and cut hospital costs, officials said.

The University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor is helping roll out the program, which will be expanded to 40 Michigan hospitals. The Michigan Surgical and Health Optimization Program will help patients do things such as walk more, eat healthier and learn stress-reduction techniques.

The program “is designed to help patients in the State of Michigan use this time to prepare their body and mind for surgery,” Dr. Michael Englesbe, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Health System and principal investigator, said in a statement.

The program is being funded by a $6.4 million Health Care Innovation Award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Englesbe, associate director of the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, and Dr. Stewart C. Wang, a University of Michigan professor of surgery, are leading the work.

The program is a joint effort involving the surgical group, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan. Those involved plan to create a field-tested model that can be used in other parts of the country.

As part of the program, a smartphone app will help physicians and patients determine if surgeries are appropriate, especially for elderly or frail patients. A home program will be developed for patients so they can improve their health before heading to the hospital.

“Much as an athlete trains for competition, patients should train for surgery,” Englesbe said. “The program is designed to help surgeons and patients make better decisions about surgery, to identify high-risk patients and train these patients to improve their medical outcomes following surgery.”