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Two years ago, then-PVHS CEO Rulon Stacey (now president of University of Colorado Health) let the world watch his colonoscopy.

His goal was to show how easy the procedure is, and remind people that fear shouldn’t keep them from getting this potentially life-saving screening.

[Colorectal cancer information and screening guidelines from the CDC]

Today kicks off National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a perfect opportunity to show how smooth Rulon’s experience was and remind everyone out there over 50 to get in and get that colonoscopy.

–Kevin Darst, director of marketing and communication

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Digital media are quickly changing the way healthcare and other industries tell stories and interact with their patients and communities.

One of the newest social media toys to hit the scene is the Vine app, an iPhone app that lets users create 6-second videos to share. Vine is to video what Twitter is to text in the social media realm.

We’ve been playing with Vine over the last couple weeks and took it onto the operating room today, where marketing specialists Kory Swanson and Nikki Caputo used it to document a partial knee replacement surgery. Swanson and Caputo created seven Vine videos during the procedure, which was performed at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins.

Six seconds may not seem like much, but in most cases it was enough to capture the scene at various points of the surgery. Here’s one of those points:

Here’s another Vine of the surgery that’s slightly more graphic.

Other Vines we’ve created give health tips, like this one about making healthy food and drink choices…

…and this one, about heart health.

For more Vine videos and other great health content, follow us on Twitter @UCHealthNoCo and on Vine at UCHealth.

–Kevin Darst, director of marketing and communication

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A few months ago I turned 50.  Kind of sad, I know.

However, upon the occasion of my birthday my very pesky family physician, Dr. Cherie Glazner, told me that 50 was the magic age when you needed a screening colonoscopy. Yikes!  I had not even thought about that. I had so many horrible images in my mind that I didn’t even want to think about it.  But, slowly she convinced me that this was the right thing to do, and that my paranoia was unfounded.

So, I thought I would put her to the test and I brought a camera along to record the event.  If it really was as painless as she said, then I figured I could let others know as well, and then we would all be healthier.

I went to see my good friend, Dr. Pat McElwee, long-time gastroenterologist at Centers for Gastroenterology in Fort Collins. He also assured me the event was not as bad as people made it sound and, better yet, he agreed to participate in the video so that we could prove to people just how harmless it was.  We then got Rebecca Craig, the CEO of Harmony Surgery Center (where the screening would happen), involved and it all came together.

Then, in a moment which was, I suspect, poetic, the New York Times published just this week an article which said that the fear I had was the #1 reason why people in the United States didn’t get a screening colonoscopy at age 50.

So in a moment of serious transparency, here is a video of my recent screening colonoscopy. Don’t make fun! I really think that you’ll watch this and realize that it is not as bad as people make it out to be, and it very literally could save your life. The procedure itself took about 20 minutes, and I went back to work when it was over.

The takeaway is this, from Dr. McElwee at the 3:46 mark of the video: “Screening colonoscopies lead to early detection, early detection leads to better cure rates, and better cure rates lead to a reduction in mortality secondary to cancer.”

I got mine — go get yours!

Rulon

P.S. You’ll be happy to know that during this process I learned that screening colonoscopies in China are generally done with NO anesthesia at all.  So no complaining!

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Several years ago the Harvard Business Review printed an article about how quality of care improves as those providing the care do more and more.  If you subscribe to that theory, then there is no where else in Colorado you should trust with your robotic surgery….and there is no close second!

What a thrill it was today to celebrate the 2000th robotic surgery within the Poudre Valley Health System.  If you were not a part of the live chat or twittercast today, you can get the details at www.pvhs.org/robo2K. PVHS has done nearly double what any other facility in the state has done…which makes the PVHS robotic surgery program easily the most experienced in the state.  Why would anyone go anywhere else?

Thanks to Dr. Warren James, who performed the procedure today at Poudre Valley Hospital, and to Dr. Stephen Brutscher, who will perform a prostatectomy Thursday at Medical Center of the Rockies, again to be broadcast on Twitter and at pvhs.org/Robo2K, for their effort and support. They and their partners at The Women’s Clinic and Urology Center of the Rockies, along with several other physicians, have driven this program from the beginning.  Thanks also to the great staff at PVH and MCR for their working to distinguish this program.  Along with our friends at Intuitive Surgical we thrilled to lead the way in robotic surgery in Colorado.  Honestly…I’m not sure why you would go anywhere else!

Rulon

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Just a reminder that I’ll be on from 1-1:30 p.m. at www.pvhs.org/robo2k for a live web chat and am happy to take your questions about health care. You don’t need a login to participate in the chat.

Hope to see you there,

Rulon

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This blog reached a milestone over the weekend that wouldn’t have been possible without you and the great conversation we’ve had over the last 10 months: 100,000 views.

When I started writing last March, my goal was to connect with the community and Poudre Valley Health System employees during a critical time in health care. I wanted to tell you what PVHS was doing in the face of healthcare reform to continue to deliver world-class care to our patients and community, as well as share stories about employees and people in the healthcare community who go above and beyond. Sometimes the conversations were easy and sometimes they were a bit more difficult, but the blog allowed a forum for diverse perspectives, and that benefits all of us.

Stay tuned in 2011, and thank you again for participating.

Rulon

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In the spirit of what’s to come, let me first try this in 140 characters:

PVHS celebrates 2,000 robotic surgeries by tweeting hysterectomy, prostatectomy from PVH and MCR next week. http://ow.ly/3A2wc #Robo2K

And with six characters to spare so you can retweet it. Now the blog version…

Poudre Valley Health System has reached a major robotic-assisted surgery milestone for our program, our community and our state, and we’re going to celebrate by giving the public a chance to watch two robotic surgeries unfold on Twitter. The first surgery, a hysterectomy at Poudre Valley Hospital, will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11.  I’ll also take questions about health care during a live web chat from 1-1:30 p.m. You can submit questions in advance to pvhs@pvhs.org or Twitter, or you can ask questions during the chat at http://www.pvhs.org/Robo2K.

The second surgery, a prostatectomy at Medical Center of the Rockies, will begin at noon on Thursday, Jan. 13.

You can follow the surgeries in a couple different ways: visit the Robo2K website, follow us on Twitter @pvhsnews or use the #Robo2K hashtag on Twitter.

Nearly 7 years ago PVHS was among the first in the state to launch a robotic-assisted surgery program. Since then we’ve done 2,000 such surgeries — about 1,000 more robotic-assisted surgeries than any other program in Colorado. That means our program is by far the most experienced in the state.

We encourage patients who are considering robotic surgery to ask about a program’s expertise and, more specifically, the number of robotic-assisted surgeries performed. We also recommend that people come to PVHS for robotic surgery because of the experience of our surgeons.

PVHS has made a concerted effort to reach the community wherever they are, including online. This blog is one example, as are our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr channels. The robotic surgery Twittercasts will be the first such broadcasts in Colorado.

Hope to see you there,

Rulon

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