The philosophy of the Division of Perioperative Medicine is to approach the patient and family in a holistic way whenever surgery or any invasive procedure is needed for diagnosis or treatment.
Our physicians understand that the patient’s journey does not start on the day of surgery and does not end with discharge from the recovery room. It starts the day the procedure is first discussed with the healthcare team and ends when our patient returns to daily life and full functional status.
During this journey, our physician anesthesiologists are here to assist, optimize, care for, and support our patients. Excellence in care exists everywhere within the UCLA healthcare system. We have the best physicians and care providers, cutting-edge technologies, and first-class facilities. The goal of our Division of Perioperative Medicine is to make sure excellent care is coordinated efficiently, and delivered in a consistent and compassionate way to our patients to optimize their outcomes.
We focus on interventions in the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative phases of care.
- In the preoperative phase, our team is composed of specialists who are experts in improving patients’ health before the operation. This is achieved using innovative programs such as weight loss, smoking cessation support, anemia management, pain medicine, and treatment of malnutrition, to cite a few. These concepts fall under the umbrella of “prehabilitation”, and are delivered by the Preoperative Evaluation and Planning Center, either physically in the clinic or remotely through telemedicine to accommodate our patients who live far away. To use resources efficiently, our team avoids the use of unnecessary testing before surgery.
- During the intraoperative phase, our division relies on the outstanding anesthesiologists who lead the teams delivering anesthesia care every day for our patients. The intraoperative management is supported by the development of protocols of care based on concepts such as Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, to ensure that each patient receives state-of-the-art anesthesia in a consistent and reproducible way.
- During recovery from anesthesia, our team care approach extends into the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) and beyond. For patients with medical conditions that add extra risk to surgery, our multidisciplinary Complex Care Team oversees clinical management in collaboration with the critical care team and surgeons. Our Acute Pain and Regional Anesthesiology service provides multimodal anesthesia care – including epidural anesthesia and peripheral nerve blocks – to reduce opioid use and expedite return to active health. This service coordinates with our chronic pain medicine team, from preoperative consultation through in-hospital rounds and discharge planning, whether the patient’s procedure takes place at our hospital in Santa Monica or at Ronald Reagan in Westwood. This approach assures a smooth transition to outpatient pain management in the clinic setting whenever necessary.
These efforts require a new set of skills and an expertise unique to the field of perioperative medicine. We are data-driven, and we use information technology (IT) to improve quality of care, evaluate the impact of our interventions, and drive future strategies for improving the health of our patients. We recognize that excellence in care can only be achieved through coordination and collaboration across specialties, with a strong team spirit.
Our Perioperative Team
We believe patients want to see their physicians and healthcare professionals work together as a team. It only adds to the stress of illness when a patient and family must coordinate multiple appointments on their own. Our UCLA team is composed of physician anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, project managers, nurse navigators, IT experts, pharmacists, nutritionists, and many others.
Finally, as our ambition is to lead the way toward this new perioperative care delivery model, we invest significant resources in education and research. We are one of the first departments in the country to have developed a perioperative fellowship program. The Fellowship in Perioperative Medicine at UCLA is a non-ACGME fellowship designed to provide each fellow with the opportunity to learn about perioperative medicine with a concentration on the Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH), Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS), and perioperative management. The goal is to train future leaders: anesthesiologists who will play leadership roles within healthcare organizations to help improve outcomes in the perioperative period and increase the value of perioperative care. We are also actively involved in research in the perioperative area; our team members have published extensively and are academic leaders in this field.