Mercy Health - Springfield expands neuroscience services

New, state-of-the-art technology at Mercy Health – including some that has been introduced to the Springfield hospital for the first time this summer – is allowing patients to be cared for quicker, better and closer to home.

Mercy Health – Springfield’s expanded neuroscience services make patient care more convenient and more efficient. What’s more, it saves lives.

When it comes to stroke care, the goal is saving time from beginning to end, says Chase Collins, director of neurosciences.

“Anywhere that we can shave even a minute or two is saving potentially millions of neurons,” Collins says. “It’s a big deal.”

These newest tools help improve the response time and allow the hospital to offer services never before seen in Springfield.

The new Brainlab offers minimally invasive spine and brain surgery, using a robotics platform and cutting-edge technology, Collins says. The hospital will be the first in the Midwest to offer it.

Not only does this help the surgeon be more precise, but it also results in a smaller incision. This lowers the risk of infection and usually means less pain and a faster recovery, he says.

Another new technology added this summer, called Viz.ai, uses artificial intelligence when patients get a CAT scan. This speeds the process of recognizing debilitating strokes and gets the word quickly to a patient’s care team, Collins says.

“Instead of them having to sit down, log on to a computer, pull up the images or wait for a radiologist to call with that read, they’ll have those images in their hand. It could be right on a mobile device,” he says.

Mercy Health – Springfield’s neuroscience initiatives have grown and collected accolades for several years. The hospital has been a primary stroke center since 2017, so named because of its ability to care for most stroke patients. It also has been awarded a Gold Plus Quality Award from the American Heart Association for its commitment to clinical quality and outcomes.

Mercy’s spine program also has expanded, and neurosurgery was introduced to the hospital in 2021. Since that time, more than 100 patients who previously would have had to seek treatment elsewhere were able to be served in Springfield.

The hospital has hundreds of medical professionals working with neuro-related patients. An intensive care team is trained in neuro cases, Collins says, and nurses in the dedicated stroke unit receive additional education. Mercy also has a designated stroke floor with 30 beds.

Collins, who also is a registered nurse, has a background in the emergency department and often saw patients leaving Springfield for cities like Dayton or Columbus in order to find the medical care they needed. This makes a patient’s follow-up appointments more difficult, and it can be a strain for loved ones to visit at a distance.

“It’s just great to be able to offer those services right here at home. They can stay connected to their primary care providers, to rehab services here in town. It’s just that continuum of care from start to finish that they can get right here in Springfield,” he says.

Mercy is committed to offering the best tools that benefit both patients and surgeons, and it isn’t settling for second best, he says.

“We want to be the best of the best,” he says.

The depth and breadth of care available in Springfield often is a surprise to local residents, who now have access not only to an expanded neuro line, but also services like cardiology and orthopedics.

Having advanced medical care in a community setting is a big selling point, he says.

“It’s really the best of both worlds to have that community feel but to be able to offer those high-level services. I think that’s what sets us apart,” he says.

Read more articles by Diane Erwin.