Bayhealth and Penn Medicine have linked for their third partnership, this time to boost their orthopaedic departments.

Bayhealth Medical Center’s orthopaedic department is following in the footsteps of its cancer and cardiovascular services and partnering with Penn Medicine, an expert in the field. On Nov. 15, Bayhealth signed an agreement to partner with Penn Orthopaedics of Penn Medicine, which is ranked as the No. 14 orthopaedic program in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

At the signing, Dr. Stephen Manifold, medical director of orthopaedics at Bayhealth, stressed the importance of bringing evidence-based clinical protocols to the department, with which this partnership will help.

The two health systems will share information and techniques in areas such as fracture care, spine care and joint replacement. Another benefit will be Bayhealth’s access to Penn’s teaching and education programs, which will help keep them on the forefront of surgery, Manifold said.

Delawareans have become used to having to travel to Philadelphia for certain treatments at teaching hospitals, a practice Manifold said this partnership will ease, cutting back on unnecessary treatment delays.

As of summer 2011, fourth-year orthopaedic surgery residents from Penn will be making the rounds at both Kent General and Milford Memorial hospitals, another result of the partnership.

Dr. L. Scott Levin, chair of Penn Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedics, said on the way to the official signing doctors were already talking about patients and working together. Levin is not satisfied with their No. 14 ranking in the nation; he wants to be in the top five within the next few years. This new relationship will help both systems improve.

“What can we do to help you, how can we work together for excellence in orthopaedic care,” he said.

The most important things, though, are the patients.

“There are many attractive elements to this partnership, which can be touted, but the bottom line is this relationship equates to better care for our patients,” said Terry Murphy, Bayhealth president and CEO.

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