EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 29, 2008

Focus: Hospitals invest in new technology to care for aging population


Lawrence General for example, has invested not only in additional mammography technology but also in cardiology and stroke treatments — all a result of its focus on the aging population.

A recent collaboration with Caritas Holy Family Hospital to bring advanced angioplasty treatment to people suffering from heart attacks will save 40 to 80 lives a year between the two hospitals, he said.

The hospital is also investing in monitoring patient health, having recently expanded the number of beds in its cardiac monitoring unit from 18 to 30.

It's not just hospitals that are expanding service.

The Andover Surgery Center in Doctors Park on Haverhill Street just completed an expansion that doubled the size of the outpatient facility while adding more recovery beds for its two operating rooms.

Executive Director Nancy Aucoin said the center, which had been owned by Lawrence General Hospital for many years, was purchased by a group of physicians five years ago. The group invested in the latest in operating room technology for outpatient procedures, including arthroscopic knee surgeries, colonoscopies and cosmetic surgery.

Last year, the group embarked on a $1 million expansion program, which included buying an adjacent condominium unit and growing from 5,500 square feet to a 10,500 square feet.

"We did a major facelift," Aucoin said, noting that baby boomers are a growing part of the center's population base.

The center now performs 2,700 surgeries a year but hopes to expand that to 5,000 by the end of this year.

One of the popular procedures is cosmetic eye surgery to remove the excess skin on the eyelids that sometimes impairs the vision of the aging.

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