Queen’s Joint Center Aims High

By Dr. Thomas Kane
Interviewed by Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - October 21, 2009
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Dr. Thomas Kane
Medical director of The Queen’s Medical Center’s Joint Center

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I completed my undergraduate studies at Santa Clara University. I earned my M.D. from the University of California-Davis Medical School. I completed four years of general surgery residency in Sacramento. While there, I developed a passion for orthopedics, and I came to Hawaii to enter the five-year orthopedic residency program. In 1991 and 1992, I was selected to participate in a specialty fellowship at USC for adult hip and knee reconstruction. That experience truly opened my eyes to the challenge of that subspecialty of orthopedic surgery. After fellowship, I returned to the place I loved, Hawaii, to start my private practice with Orthopedic Associates. My family and I have been here ever since. All three of my kids were born and raised here.


Can you explain what your practice, Orthopedic Associates, offers and what makes it unique?

The group was founded in 1977 by the three most prominent orthopedic surgeons in Hawaii at the time. Since then, the group has evolved into nine partners. Throughout the group, different areas of orthopedic care are addressed: hand, knee, hip, shoulder, etc. The various specialists can refer and discuss patient issues within the group, thus providing a full-service orthopedic facility to the patient. Located in Queen’s Physicians Office Building 1, the interaction with The Queen’s Medical Center is, again, an advantage to the patient and to the doctors as well, since all the facilities are connected.

Dr. Kane shows a patient a model of a knee joint

As the new medical director of The Queen’s Medical Center’s Joint Center, how is your time spent between both responsibilities? Do they overlap?

First, I’d like to say what an honor it is to be selected to this position. I take the responsibility seriously, and I am looking forward to helping create a well-respected professional department with a strong emphasis on individual patient care. Managing time is difficult, I understand. But since 1993, I’ve acted as chief of joint reconstruction for UHManoa’s John A. Burns School of Medicine. Teaching and performing more than 6,000 surgeries has kept me busy, but I still managed to see all of my kids’ games and recitals, and enjoy an occasional romantic dinner with my wife! The overlap with my work only serves to strengthen the impact I feel I can make in our healthcare community. I believe our first goal for The Joint Center is to establish the benchmark criteria for excellence. What we are offering is a systematic approach in which patients and doctors alike know what to expect and what procedures are in place to provide the best possible outcomes. Concurrent with that, we are focusing on patient after-care.

We want our patients to know that The Queen’s Medical Center’s Joint Center will see them through the entire process, not just the surgery. In short, my aim is that all patients who come here will be comfortable about the experience they have with the doctors and staff of The Queen’s Medical Center’s Joint Center.

Is The Joint Center now operating on these standards, or is it still in the works?

Standards have been in place and met for a long time in our hospital. There hasn’t been a formal director for the program until now. As you have undoubtedly read and heard, “healthcare delivery” has become a topic of great concern in our country over recent years. We at The Queen’s Medical Center want to lead the way administratively, organizationally and technically. My director-ship appointment began June 15. Since that time, I have worked to document the beginning steps of our internal requirements. The introduction to the public will come once we are completely solid internally. The one area that won’t change is the Queen’s philosophy on patient care: “Be the best.”

Is there an estimated date when The Joint Center will be fully launched?

We would like to target the first part of 2010. The are a number of approval steps that need to occur, commitments from surgeons and staff members, documentation, orchestration of the program ... all a fair amount of work. We are even establishing a special wing of the facility for our work. I want to ensure that every facet of this endeavor is done right. Again, our aim for The Joint Center is high, but I have no doubt that we will succeed.

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