Infusion Center Cost-Effectively Fills Urgent Need

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Innovations in Digestive Health | Fall 2021

Many patients with chronic illnesses must receive time-consuming regimens of drugs delivered via infusion. The Outpatient Specialty Clinic & Infusion Center at University Hospitals North Ridgeville Health Center was designed to ease the burden by providing a pleasant place for patients to receive this critical care.

“We identified that patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and other chronic and acute diseases needed a place within the University Hospitals system to receive infusion-based biologic treatments,” says gastroenterologist Kristian Wall, MD, Medical Director, Outpatient Specialty Care Infusion Center. “We also make it easy for prescribing providers to refer their patients.”

Kristian Wall, MDKristian Wall, MD

University Hospitals designed the Infusion Center to make the experience convenient and comfortable for patients, including complimentary reserved parking close to the building. The five private rooms and group suite are well appointed with heated, reclining massage chairs, cable and WiFi, and a well-stocked kitchen to create a comfortable, homelike atmosphere for patients with a wide range of medical issues.

“Most of our patients are on medications for a long time,” Dr. Wall says. “It’s nice for the staff to get to know our patients and for them to get to know us. It’s a pleasant atmosphere for all.”

Full-Service Center

The Infusion Center has a full-time staff pharmacist, scheduling staff and support staff who can help patients navigate the complex world of insurance coverage and approvals. For patients who need help with out-of-pocket costs, staff works with drug manufacturers, advocacy groups and charities to determine if they qualify for financial assistance.

“We also have clinical space with exam rooms,” Dr. Wall says. “For example, as a gastroenterologist, I can see patients who have Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. It’s nice for patients. They can see their physician and get their infusion at the same time.”

Having a dedicated infusion center also relieves some of the burden on the emergency room. Physicians can refer patients who have urgent needs to the infusion center, where they will receive expedited care, avoiding a costly trip to the ER.

Pivoting during the pandemic

The infusion center opened shortly before the pandemic began and has played an important role in treating patients with COVID-19.

“As the pandemic went on, physicians began prescribing monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID patients,” Dr. Wall says. “The infusion center pivoted and incorporated these treatments here and at our other ambulatory infusion center. We now have a number of patients coming in for these monoclonal antibodies. In fact, since May, we’ve treated more than 650 individuals at our North Ridgeville location, many of whom were COVID patients.

“After patients see their primary care physician or visit the emergency room and are diagnosed with COVID, if they meet the criteria and are candidates for this treatment, our staff will reach out and talk about the medications, the procedures, the risks. If the patient is interested, we will get them scheduled. This is certainly an area of need as the case numbers continue to be high.”

Time is critical for these treatments, and they must be delivered within a narrow timeframe following diagnosis, Dr. Wall says. The Outpatient Specialty Clinic & Infusion Center is well integrated within the UH systems and has the support staff to care for these patients in a timely manner.

“We set up the infusion center to treat patients as efficiently and comfortably as possible, and to make it very easy for physicians to refer patients and know they will receive the care they need,” Dr. Wall says.

University Hospitals Infusion Center Locations:

North Ridgeville (for Chronic and Urgent/Acute Care Conditions)
32800 Lorain Road
North Ridgeville, Ohio 44039
440-406-5510
Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm
Sat: 9am-5pm

Warrensville Heights
24865 Emery Rd.
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
440-652-8926
Email: UHSpecialtyPrecertTeam@UHhospitals.org
Monday–Friday: 8 am – 5 pm

 

To refer patients to the Outpatient Specialty Clinic and Infusion Center, call 216-510-3007 or email UHSpecialtyPrecertTeam@UHhospitals.org.

Contributing Expert:
Kristian Wall, MD
Medical Director, Outpatient Specialty Care & Infusion Center
University Hospitals.
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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