Each year I’ve worked at Northwestern Specialists in Plastic Surgery (NSPS), I’ve learned more. As a clinician, it is obvious to me that my continued involvement and growth has helped me learn how to better support our patients, not only in clinical decision making, but also in understanding the needs of our patients outside the office. Education has always been one of my passions; I believe it has a powerful role in healthcare. Education empowers our patients to become collaborators in their own care, and helps them feel more in control during times when many patients feel uncertainty. Our practice definitely focuses on education, but what about patients who don’t know us or don’t know about breast surgery or reconstruction? Why is that only about 20% of women nationwide end up having breast reconstruction after mastectomy? How do we reach more people, provide resources, and also support them in finding their own path through their breast surgery journey? These questions are what spurred the creation of The Chicago Breast Center.
Dr. Fine has been a part of Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) and has been highly involved in The Lynne Sage Breast Center for over 20 years. When I started with our practice, I could immediately see his intense desire to serve the Chicago population, not only the patients, but also the breast community and it’s supporters. Our practice has been involved in resident education at NMH, supports resources in the Chicago area community, including groups such as Bright Pink, FORCE, Imerman Angels, and BRA Day. We’ve also been a driving force in standardizing education and resources provided to patients to whom the breast surgeons and plastic surgeons of NMH provide care.
In considering how breast surgery information reaches patients, it has become clear that resources need to be easy to find, consolidated, and organized in a way that patients can easily navigate. Each year I believe we get better at doing this for our patients. We have streamlined discharge instructions in our electronic medical records, we have upgraded our website, and we have begun using TouchMD, accessible at home, as an educational platform. But, what about people who aren’t our patients? How do they find information? And most importantly, how do they find information if they aren’t handed it by a doctor in a face to face encounter? Ultimately, it is true that our information needs to be easy to find, consolidated, and organized in a way that patients can easily navigate, but it is even more so important that this information can be found prior to a patient walking into Northwestern. This is the idea behind the Chicago Breast Center website.
The Chicago Breast Center is a consolidated source of information highlighting breast surgery options in the Chicago area. It provides one landing page as an easy-to-find location for better understanding breast surgery care, including surgeon bios and contact information, as well as educational information about different surgical options. It’s main focus is to bring all of this information into one place that is hopefully easy to find, simply with a google search, or easy to direct patients to, by referral from physicians or friends. It’s for those patients we already serve, and for those that we don’t even know yet. It’s to answer the question that creating all of our educational resources for our patients has led us to, How do we help more?
The Chicago Breast Center combines breast surgery, cosmetic breast, and breast reconstruction. The crossover of these different specialties makes each stronger; what we know about cosmetic breast surgery strengthens our attention to aesthetic detail in breast reconstruction, and what we know about breast reconstruction strengthens our strong understanding of anatomy to optimize cosmetic outcomes. If you’re looking for information about breast surgery, these specialties should not be separated. They optimize each other. So, we brought them together.
I hope you find the site to be what we intended!