Emory Pioneer Achieves Milestone for Cardiac Robotic Surgery

doug_murphyEmory Saint Joseph’s Hospital cardiothoracic surgeon Douglas Murphy, MD has achieved a world record after completing his 2,000th robotically assisted mitral valve surgery. Murphy is a pioneer in the field of robotics, performing the state’s first robotic heart surgery at Emory Saint Joseph’s in 2002.

“Dr. Murphy is one of the world’s most experienced and innovative robotic heart surgeons,” says Robert Guyton, Distinguished Charles Ross Hatcher, Jr., Professor of Surgery and Chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine. “This outstanding career achievement is a reminder of all he has done to advance the field of robotics and give thousands of heart patients less invasive treatment options.”

Robotically-assisted heart surgery is a type of minimally invasive heart surgery performed by a cardiac surgeon using a specially-designed computer to control surgical instruments on thin robotic arms.

Prior to this groundbreaking achievement, Murphy was an early advocate of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. He successfully led one of the first U.S. cardiac surgery teams as the principal investigator in clinical trials using the Intuitive da Vinci® Surgical System for atrial septal defect repair and coronary bypasses prior to FDA approval. Because of his achievements, Emory Saint Joseph’s was named the exclusive cardiac southeastern training center for the daVinci system in 2004.

Since that time, Murphy has trained surgical teams around the world in the LEAR technique (Lateral Endoscopic Approach using Robotics). The technique, developed by Murphy’s team, allows open heart surgery to be performed through five small holes in the right chest. Murphy has published many scientific papers on the use and success of robotic cardiac surgery. One of the most experienced and innovative robotic heart surgeons in the world, Murphy remains active in performing, researching and teaching robotic heart surgery.

Murphy, an associate professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, currently serves in two roles at Emory Saint Joseph’s: as the chief of cardiothoracic surgery, a position he has held since 1995; and since 2010 as the director of robotics.

“Patients appreciate the less invasive aspect of the LEAR technique with its fast recovery. The driving force for LEAR surgeons, however, has been the ability to perform state-of-the-art cardiac procedures with very low complication rates,” says Murphy.

Read the full Emory News Source article here.

Emory Healthcare is top ranked in Georgia and in Atlanta

rankings-1200x1200As Atlanta’s only comprehensive academic health system, Emory Healthcare received the highest quality rankings in the city and state. We are honored to have received recognition from U.S. News & World Report, Atlanta magazine’s Top Doctors Issue, UHC Quality Leadership Awards, American Nurses Credentialing Center, Hospitals & Health Networks “Most Wired,” and more. These achievements are a result of the hard work and dedication of Emory physicians, nurses, staff and the leadership team.

U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report has announced its 2016-17 rankings of America’s Best Hospitals and once again, our hospitals have placed among the best.

  • For the fifth consecutive year, Emory University Hospital has been named the #1 hospital in metro Atlanta and #1 in Georgia.
  • Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital ranked #2 in metro Atlanta and #2 in Georgia.
  • Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked #5 in metro Atlanta and #9 in Georgia.

Nationally, Emory University Hospital was ranked in six different adult specialties:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology
  • Geriatrics
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery
  • Orthopaedics

Atlanta Magazine’s Top Doctors

Atlanta magazine’s 2016 July issue features the annual listing of Top Doctors. We are proud to announce that 51 percent are Emory physicians.

UHC Quality Leadership Award

Emory University Hospital has been recognized as a winner of the Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award for the fifth consecutive year.

This award, formerly named the UHC Quality Leadership Award, recognizes top-performing academic medical centers. Emory University Hospital ranked in the top 10 among all UHC members in the 2015 Quality and Accountability Study. Emory University Hospital has received this award every year since 2011.

Since 2005, the Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award is given to UHC members that demonstrate superior performance in quality and safety. Award criteria include: timeliness, safety, equity, effectiveness, efficiency and patient centeredness, to structure the analysis criteria.

Magnet® Designation

Emory University Hospital and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital are both recipients of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) prestigious Magnet designation. Emory Healthcare is the only health system in Georgia to have two hospitals designated as Magnet facilities.

This outstanding achievement for Emory University Hospital and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital is a culmination of the relentless pursuit of excellence on the part of our nurses, physicians and staff.

2016 “Most Wired” Advanced

Emory Healthcare was listed on the Hospitals & Health Networks “Most Wired” list based on the 2016 survey that recognized more than 350 hospitals and health systems for successful health IT planning and implementation. Emory Healthcare was ranked among the top 19 hospitals and health systems as “Advanced” in all areas of this year’s survey. This year’s “Most Wired” hospitals were likely to prioritize combating cybercrime, conducting predictive analytics and providing telehealth services.

With our continuing expanded footprint, communities all over Atlanta and throughout Georgia have access to even more Emory physicians and their care teams. Big or small, major or minor, if you have a reason to seek medical care you there is an Emory Healthcare facility and an Emory Healthcare Network physician close to home.

We honor, celebrate and thank all of our physicians, nurses, leadership teams and staff for providing outstanding care to our patients and families, and for truly making patient- and family-centered care their priority each and every day while striving to stay on the forefront of the rapidly changing health care industry.

Find an Emory physician near you 

Art program helps Winship patients heal at Emory Johns Creek Hospital

slide1The healing arts program at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University at Emory Johns Creek Hospital (EJCH) is helping patients in their fight against cancer.

Oncology patients are painting canvases to pass the time creatively during their infusion treatments.

Joseph Pollage says he’s received cancer care at Winship at EJCH for four months. Pollage says he enjoys the therapeutic art program and believes it can help patients.  “It distracts you so you don’t sit here and think about what’s happening, during your treatment,” Pollage says.

The nurse manager for Winship at EJCH, Nicole Bansavage, RN, says she’s seen first-hand the positive impact on patients.  “Most patients have never painted before and they’re surprised and proud by the quality of art work they produce,” Bansavage says.

Pollage says it’s not just the painting he enjoys, but the type of service you receive from the staff at Winship.

“It doesn’t matter which nurse you get …you receive great care from everyone here, and that really makes a difference.”

Virginia Lago, art therapist for the hospital’s program, says she’s seen patients who didn’t feel well from their treatments, but tried painting and left the hospital uplifted.  “I believe art can manifest healing for the patients,” Lago says

Lago says her job is more than just art, but about connecting with the patients.  “It’s really about the love you give to patients and the bond you build.”

Learn more about cancer care at Emory Johns Creek Hospital


Congratulations to Emory’s 2016 Atlanta Top Doctors

Top Doctors 2016As our Emory Healthcare family continues to grow, so too does our ability to provide Atlanta and Georgia residents access to more Top Doctors. Atlanta magazine’s 2016 July issue features the annual listing of Top Doctors in the metro Atlanta area. We are proud to announce that of all the health systems represented in the list, Emory physicians make up the majority – 51% to be exact.

These physicians include those who practice at one of our six hospitals and 200 provider locations as well as those who hold faculty positions at the Emory University School of Medicine.

We honor, celebrate and thank all of our physicians—and the care teams that support them—for providing outstanding care to our patients and families, and for truly making patient- and family-centered care their priority each and every day. Congratulations to you all!

And with our continuing expanded footprint, communities all over Atlanta and throughout Georgia have access to even more Emory Top Doctors. Big or small, major or minor, if you have a reason to seek medical care you there is an Emory Healthcare facility and an Emory Healthcare Network physician close to home.

Find an Emory Physician Near You.


Create a Personal Fundraising Page

Personal Giving Page ImageYour support is vital to everything that we do here at Emory. That’s why Emory Healthcare is excited to announce the inception of Personal Giving Pages. Personal Giving Pages are a fun and easy way to support Emory’s groundbreaking research, patient care, and professional education.

With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to create your own Personal Giving Page. After you’ve created your page, you’ll be able to invite family and friends to join you in supporting Emory Healthcare. We’ve already created special fundraising messages for birthdays, in honor or memorial of someone special, holidays, or any day that may be important to you.

Personal Giving Pages are a great way to both promote good health and help others get involved in the effort to put an end to serious diseases. These pages are a fun and easy way to do just that. With your support and the support of others like you, there’s no telling what we’ll be able to accomplish. We’re so proud to have the opportunity to serve you and our community.

If you’d like to know more about how to create your own Personal Giving Page, please click here.


Emory Saint Joseph’s Opens Orthopaedics & Spine Pavilion

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital recently opened their new Orthopaedics & Spine Pavilion providing surgical patients with a comprehensive, seamless care experience in one convenient location. The brand new, 20,000-square-foot facility was designed around the patient and family experience, and had input from hospital staff, physicians and former patients and their family members, known as patient and family advisors (PFAs).

“We wanted to make sure the patient gets the best possible experience from the time they walk in the door until they leave,” says Paul Jeffords, MD, chief of orthopaedic surgery at Emory Saint Joseph’s.

According to Dr. Jeffords, another important component of the experience at the Orthopaedics & Spine Pavilion is taking care of a patient’s family. “The family is an integral part of a patient’s recovery, and we try to ease their anxiety,” he says.

This includes keeping families informed during each phase of surgical care with a specialized tracking board in the waiting area. Families are able to follow the progress of their patient from surgery through recovery, in one location.

With the consolidation of inpatient and outpatient orthopaedics and spine services in one location on Emory Saint Joseph’s campus, the facility also includes six state-of-the-art operating suites complete with teleconferencing capabilities.

The multidisciplinary team at the Orthopaedics & Spine Pavilion is composed of orthopaedic and spine doctors, nurses and physical therapists, who care for patients going home the same day of surgery, and also those requiring a longer hospital stay.

Tour the new Orthopaedics & Spine Pavilion by watching the video below! For more information, click here.


Emory Hospitals Recognized by American Heart Association for Excellence in Heart Attack Care

mission lifelineThe American Heart Association has recognized four Emory Healthcare hospitals and one Emory Healthcare-affiliated hospital through its Mission: Lifeline program for excellence in heart attack care.

American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline award recognizes a hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) care by ensuring that STEMI patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. The goal of the program is to reduce system barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks. This includes the initial 9-1-1 call and continues with hospital treatment.

Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory University Hospital and Emory Johns Creek Hospital all received the 2015 American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Center award. Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Southern Regional Medical Center have achieved the 2015 Mission: Lifeline Bronze Receiving Center award. Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown were the first in Georgia to be accredited as Mission: Lifeline Receiving Centers.

The Gold Receiving Center award recognizes hospitals for achieving 85 percent or greater overall composite score for all Mission: Lifeline STEMI quality achievement indicators, with no single measure below 75 percent, for consecutive 24-month intervals. The Bronze recognition designates hospitals that have achieved 85 percent or greater overall composite score for all Mission: Lifeline STEMI quality achievement indicators, with no single measure below 75 percent, for consecutive 90-day intervals.

Each year, more than half a million Americans experience ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), out-of-hospital cardiac arrest or both. The majority of these patients fail to receive appropriate treatment for their life-threatening conditions within recommended timeframes. To prevent death, it is critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by opening the blocked vessel with balloon angioplasty and/or stenting, or by giving clot-busting medication.

“The recognition that these five hospitals have earned reflects the outstanding STEMI care that is delivered in every setting, including pre-hospital, emergency department, cath lab and inpatient areas,” says Michael Ross, MD, professor of emergency medicine, founder and immediate past co-chair of the Atlanta Mission: Lifeline program. “Our health system has clearly emerged as a leader in STEMI care in the greater metro Atlanta area, and a number of our physicians, nurses and allied health staff have leadership positions within Atlanta’s STEMI system of care. Emory Healthcare hospitals, physicians and staff continuously strive to provide the best possible care to all patients.

For more information on Mission: Lifeline, visit and

Read the article from the Emory News Center.

Ebola and Emory Healthcare – An Extraordinary Year

kent brantly

Photo by: Jack Kearse

This August marks the first anniversary of Ebola care at Emory, and it was an extraordinary year!

Emory’s experience with Ebola began at the end of July 2014 when two American citizens became infected with the Ebola virus while providing humanitarian aid in West Africa. Both patients, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, were brought to Emory University Hospital and discharged a month later free of the virus.

To date, the Emory Healthcare Ebola Team has successfully treated four patients infected with the Ebola virus. Emory is now an international leader in researching the disease. Our experts have shared their protocols and knowledge gained from treating these patients through a variety of journal publications, training conferences and an extensive public website for health care organizations regarding best practices for safe and effective screening, diagnosis and treatment of Ebola virus disease. Emory is also leading the new National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC), in collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (Bellevue Hospital).

A year later, Emory Healthcare Chief Nursing Executive Susan Grant’s words stand out as a representation of the hard work of our staff over the past year and the hard work that is still yet to come: “We can either let our actions be guided by misunderstandings, fear and self-interest, or we can lead by knowledge, science and compassion. We can fear, or we can care.”
Watch the video below for more highlights:

Check out these other great resources for more on Emory and Ebola:

Interactive Timeline
Emory and Ebola Storify
Emory marks first anniversary of Ebola care – Press Release
Emory Ebola team recounts experience, lessons in treating first U.S. patients
In memoir, Kent Brantly reflects on Ebola care at Emory
Ebola in the Eye: Ian Crozier’s Story- VIDEO
Emory and Ebola – YouTube Video Playlist

Breakthrough clinical study exposes crucial role parents play in behavior management for children with autism

parent-childHighlighted in an April issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a clinical trial involving Emory University and the Marcus Autism Center provided insight into the effect parent training has on managing disruptive behavior with young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and serious behavioral problems.

ASD is a chronic condition beginning in early childhood and is mostly characterized by impaired social communication and repetitive behavior. Commonly, severe behavioral problems accompany ASD in young children including tantrums, aggression, self-injury and severe noncompliance in response to routine environmental demands. For parents of children with ASD, these disruptive behaviors can be overwhelming and produce uncertainty on how to handle these problems. While there are approved medications for these disruptive behavioral problems, many parents are often reluctant to use medication.

In the multi-location study, 180 children (age 3 to 7 years) with ASD and serious behavioral problems were randomly assigned to either 24 weeks of parent training or 24 weeks of parent education. The study aimed to measure the effect of parent training in managing disruptive behaviors versus basic parent education. The following provides more detail on the difference between the two groups:

  • Parent training provided parents with specific/ practical skills and techniques for how to manage serious behavioral problems.
  • Parent education offered useful information on autism – but did not provide guidance on how to manage serious behavioral problems.

Study results were documented by both parents of the participating children, as well a clinician who was blind to treatment assignment:

  • Parent ratings: after 24 weeks of treatment, children in the parent-training group showed a 48 percent improvement on disruptive behavior compared to a 32 percent decline for parent education.
  • Clinician ratings: at week 24, 70 percent of children in the parent-training group showed a positive response, compared to 40 percent for parent education.

“This is the largest randomized trial of any behavioral intervention in children with autism spectrum disorder, and it shows that parent training works,” notes Lawrence Scahill, MSN, PhD, professor of pediatrics at Marcus and Emory School of Medicine, who directed the study.

Overall study results: while children in both groups improved, parent training was more effective in reducing disruptive and aggressive behavior than parent education. In fact, the benefits of parent training continued for up to six months after the clinical trial, demonstrating the benefits of parent training last over time.

Despite the increased methods for recognizing ASD in young children, rigorous testing and the distribution of evidenced-based treatments have lagged. Using the results of this study, researchers and physicians are able to show the impact of parent training and disseminate learned practices to a wider population.

To find an autism-related clinical trial at Emory, click the “Search for a clinical trial at Emory” link and type in the terms “Autism” and “Emory” into the search field.

Emory hospitals again ranked among best in country, state and metro area by U.S. News & World Report

euh-frontU.S. News & World Report has announced its 2015-16 rankings of America’s Best Hospitals and once again, our Emory Healthcare hospitals have been placed among the best in the country. For the fourth year in a row, Emory University Hospital has been named the number one hospital in both Georgia and metro Atlanta. Emory University Hospital includes Emory University Hospital at Wesley Woods and Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital.

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital is ranked 5th in Georgia and 3rd in metro Atlanta. Emory University Hospital Midtown ranks 11th in Georgia in a two-way tie and 5th in metro Atlanta, also a two-way tie.

NATIONALLY, Emory University Hospital was TOP ranked in 12 adult specialty areas:

• Cancer – (#22 up from #24)
• Cardiology & Heart Surgery – (#15 up from #16)
• Diabetes & Endocrinology (#18 up from #23)
• Ear, Nose & Throat – (#45)
• Gastroenterology & GI Surgery – (#40 up from #41)
• Geriatrics – (#20 up from #21)
• Gynecology – (#26 up from #42)
• Nephrology – (#42)
• Neurology & Neurosurgery (#12 up from #15)
• Ophthalmology – (#12 up from #14)
• Orthopaedics – #31
• Urology – (#22 up from #25)

Emory University Hospital also ranked high performing in pulmonology. Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked high performing in cancer.

“We are proud of our rankings throughout our system in this year’s U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals issue,” says Michael J. Mandl, president and CEO of Emory Healthcare. “More importantly, we are proud of the people who deliver excellence, quality and safety in health care to our patients and their families every day.”

U.S. News & World Report began publishing their “Best Hospital” rankings twenty-five years ago to identify the best medical centers for the most complex patients — those whose illnesses pose unusual challenges because of underlying conditions, procedure difficulty or other medical issues that add risk. Rankings are based on performance in several primary areas of health care: structure, process, outcomes and hospital reputation.

The rankings have been published at and will appear in print in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2015-16 guidebook, available on newsstands on September 1.