Lead photo courtesy of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. Other photos provided by NYP Queens and Northwell Health
Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit vehicles at Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Two of Queens’ biggest medical networks are continuing to modernize as part of their effort to provide the borough’s residents with easy access to top-of-the-line healthcare.

Over the past several years, Northwell Health and NewYork-Presbyterian Queens have made advancements within their facilities, technology and services. These two organizations have grown to accommodate a growing popular and changing healthcare needs of Queens residents.

According to Jackie Shutack Wong, the senior media associate of public affairs at NewYork-Presbyterian, the hospital has made advancements in the neurological care it provides to patients. In May 2019, the hospital celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU). Since its launch in 2018, it has served more than 350 patients.

The hospital’s MSTU emergency vehicles provide immediate, specialized care to patients experiencing a stroke. The highly specialized MSTU team consists of two paramedics, a computed tomography (CT) technologist and a registered nurse.

Interior of MSTU vehicle

Advanced telemedicine technology allows the team to contact vascular neurologists from Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University Irving Medical Center remotely and at a moment’s notice.

“As we continue to follow up with stroke patients who have been treated in the MSTU in the outpatient setting, we have seen significant levels of improvement due to the fact that we were able to treat their condition so quickly in the MSTU,” said Dr. Sammy Pishanidar, NYP Queens site director for the MSTU. “Our highly trained and specialized crew have become experts at delivering the same high level of care as a patient may receive in a standard ambulance, with treatment times up to 40 minutes faster.”

Another advancement at NYP Queens hospitals is the Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) service, which they rolled out in 2019.

“Nearly half of our patients prefer to use a language other than English” said Tena Vizner, Director for the Office of the Patient Experience. “These devices are essentially tablets on wheels with a special Interpreter Services program loaded onto them. NYP Queens team members can use audio or video to provide non-English speaking patients with qualified medical interpreter services.  They are user-friendly, and through the human connection, they bring a level of warmth to our patients and their families.”

As of June 2019, NYP Queens has implemented over 60 of the VRI devices for inpatient and outpatient treatment.

VRI service

Susan Browning, the executive director of LIJ Forest Hills, a Northwell Health teaching hospital, said that Northwell focuses on bringing patient’s medical treatment closer to home. Although Northwell has not yet publicized where they are looking to place medical facilities, Browning said that the hospital is currently “in the stages of planning for additional expansion” in Queens.

Back in February 2019, Northwell Health and NYC Health + Hospitals collaborated to open a $47.7 million shared, centralized laboratory in Little Neck. Browning said that the state-of-the-art lab utilizes robotics, which allows for more precise testing and results. She added that the latest technology will allow highly trained lab technologists to do perform “more rewarding work” instead of just technical jobs.

The LEED Silver-certified lab primarily performs microbiology tests, which includes molecular diagnostics from local hospitals, clinics and physician offices. The facility is administered by Northwell Health Labs, which performs more than 30 million tests each year and handles more than 200,000 surgical pathology specimens annually.

Ribbon cutting for $47.7 million Northwell Health and NYC Health + Hospitals shared lab

The Little Neck lab as well as at Northwell’s Core Lab in Lake Success will process about six million non-urgent tests from NYC + Hospitals, which will allow for public hospital lab to focus on urgent testing.

“This state-of-the-art facility shows what’s possible when two mission-driven organizations collaborate,” said Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO at Northwell Health. “Northwell Health’s laboratory expertise, along with exciting new technology deployed here, will help turn tests around faster and more efficiently. That’s good for all of the communities served by Northwell and NYC Health + Hospitals.”

Browning added that the hospital looks into multiple databases, including census data and specialty data, to gauge what people in the borough need. Data showed that Queens residents are in need of more primary care services, high-quality cancer care, care for heart and lung disease, bariatric surgery and diabetes care. Additionally, Queens residents are also in need of expanded women’s health services, orthopedic care for an aging population and joint replacement and sports medicine for “younger pockets” of the borough.

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