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Spring 2011

Message From the Chair

"Patient-centered care" may have become a tired phrase, but the concept remains vital. Increasingly, patients expect to be a part of care decisions.

One of our profession's most important challenges is to explore the best ways to combine our medical knowledge with a deep understanding of a patient's physical, emotional and functional needs.

Orthopaedic surgeons face a unique challenge in this regard because so much of what we do is elective and involves an extensive menu of options. At a medical center like UCSF, with all of the latest techniques and equipment, we must always remember that the touchstone remains what’s best for our patients.

That is one of our primary goals at the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute. Among other things, this issue demonstrates how we are rigorously exploring ways to understand individual patient needs and help patients choose the treatment option that is best for them.

Most directly, our joint replacement service is formally testing a shared decision-making model as well as evaluating its impact on patient and physician satisfaction. In addition, all of the other services highlighted in this issue — trauma, foot, spine and sports medicine — demonstrate their commitment every day to listening to our patients' hopes for surgery and then helping them understand which of the many options will serve them best.

Of course, understanding our patients extends beyond our exam rooms to involve you, our physician partners. We remain grateful for the many insights you provide into this essential part of modern physician practice.

Thomas Parker Vail, M.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Related Information

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