By Kate Penz, Communications & Foundation Manager
ever treated a patient with botulism and a median nerve transection at the elbow from a polar bear bite? As the primary EDX referral center for most of Alaska, Shawn Hadley, MD, sees patients with a tremendous variety of disorders—including those that come up on the wrong side of the battle with Mother Nature. Dr. Hadley is the medical director at Alaska Neurodiagnostic and Rehabilitation Medicine, a solo private practice in Anchorage located on the state’s largest hospital complex.
“My remote location presents a lack of professional collegial interaction for discussion of difficult cases, like the one involving a polar bear. Thank goodness for the internet and email!” said Dr. Hadley.
The location also presents challenges for patient travel, so the practice must be flexible in its appointment scheduling. With flights from the “bush” costing hundreds of dollars, some out-of-town patients need to be seen on an urgent basis to avoid a return trip to Anchorage for testing.
“Many Alaska communities are only accessible by air or water, so bad weather can wreak havoc on a well-planned day in the office,” she added.
Last year, Alaska Neurodiagnostic and Rehabilitation Medicine received accreditation with exemplary status through the AANEM’s Electrodiagnostic Laboratory Accreditation Program. Alaska has chiropractors, physical therapists, and a number of physicians who perform studies of marginal to poor quality, which is the reason Dr. Hadley thinks accreditation is especially important.
“I am in support of all efforts to enhance credibility of practices performing quality electrodiagnostic medicine,” said Dr. Hadley. “The Electrodiagnostic Accreditation Program builds awareness among providers, payers, and the public that standards do exist.”
The accreditation process prompted the practice to codify procedures that were already in place, a process that he said created more consistent procedure performance and reports. After completing the process, Dr. Hadley encourages others to follow. “Accreditation not only gives recognition to the individual practice, but it also promotes the overall credibility of our subspecialty," she concluded.