The Orthopedic Institute at Summa Health: Easy Access, Excellent Care

By Jo Donofrio
Friday, November 11, 2016

(L-R) Scott Weiner, MD, Director of Summa’s Orthopedic Institute, Nilesh Shah, MD, Medical Director of Sports Medicine

When Summa Health launched its Orthopedic Institute in early 2016, it was with this goal in mind: to provide the highest quality orthopedic services, both surgical and nonsurgical, via a team approach to patient-centered care. With eight fellowship trained specialists, the Orthopedic Institute offers the full continuum of care — from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation — while addressing the challenges of a changing healthcare environment.

Meet the Team

Musculoskeletal conditions, acute as well as chronic, are the focus of the Orthopedic Institute’s team. Scott Weiner, MD, who specializes in Orthopedic Oncology, is the Institute’s Director. His team includes Sports Medicine specialists Ben Burkam, MD, Robert Crawford, MD, and Nilesh Shah, MD; foot and ankle reconstructive surgeon Jeff Junko, MD; upper extremity surgeon Derek Klaus, MD; orthopedic trauma surgeon Eric Miller, MD; and total joint reconstruction surgeon Kiel Pfefferle, MD. Rehabilitative care is coordinated through Summa’s physical therapists, occupational therapists and athletic trainers.

Orthopedic oncologist Scott Weiner, MD, is Director of Summa Health’s Orthopedic Institute where he leads a team of eight orthopedic surgical and nonsurgical specialists.

“We are recruiting additional caring and compassionate physicians willing to work as a team,” says Dr. Weiner. “We are not looking to grow the biggest or busiest group. Our vision is to develop a group that will be large enough to serve the needs of the Akron community and have enough providers to maintain easy access and excellent care without becoming too big and impersonal.”

In keeping with this, the Orthopedic Institute currently has six convenient clinical locations: Akron, Barberton, Green, Hudson, Medina and Wadsworth. Same day and next day appointments are available Monday through Friday.

Sports Medicine

The Sports Medicine program at Summa’s Orthopedic Institute offers nonsurgical management and treatment of musculoskeletal problems ranging from common strains and sprains to dislocations and fractures. Patients include both athletes and non-athletes of all ages.

Nilesh Shah, MD, is Medical Director of Sports Medicine at Summa Health’s Orthopedic Institute.

“We take care of more than just athletes,” says Dr. Shah, Medical Director, Sports Medicine. “We see all patients who have sustained an orthopedic injury. Our goal is to reduce pain, improve mobility, and minimize the risk of further injury without surgical intervention.”

The physicians are trained in cutting edge treatments, including platelet rich plasma injections, prolotherapy injections, compartment syndrome testing, ImPACT concussion testing and interpretation, musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSKUS), and MSKUS-guided injections.

According to Dr. Shah, MSKUS is just as good as MRI, and in some cases better, for diagnosing certain conditions. MSKUS-guided injections offer advantages, as well. “They can eliminate the need for a more complicated procedure requiring a hospital visit and the associated increased costs to the patient and payor,” he says.

Recently, the Orthopedic Institute added advanced ultrasound technology, the Tenex Health, to its slate of treatments. Tenex is used to treat tendonitis in the shoulder, knee, foot, hip and ankle.

“The Tenex targets and removes degenerated tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact,” says Dr. Shah. “It’s an alternative to open surgery.”

When surgery is required, the Orthopedic Institute eases the referral process — with a “direct link” between the Institute’s nonsurgical and surgical programs.

Orthopedic Surgery

Summa’s Orthopedic Institute’s surgeons work closely with their Sports Medicine colleagues to ensure the continuum of care is not interrupted. They strive to make sure each patient is cared for, not only in timely fashion, but also by the most appropriate specialist.

“We have an excellent team of very compassionate and dedicated surgeons,” says Dr. Weiner. “We have been fortunate to recruit surgeons who have been trained on the newest and latest surgical approaches.” These include the direct anterior approach for total hip replacement, total knee replacement, arthroscopic foot and ankle surgery, total shoulder replacement, total ankle replacement, and complex pelvic reconstruction.

Dr. Weiner is the only practicing orthopedic oncologist in the Akron region. He attracts patients from across Ohio and surrounding states. Dr. Miller, who specializes in orthopedic traumatology, is also in high demand — especially at Summa’s Level I Trauma Center, which was the first in the Akron/Canton area to be verified by the American College of Surgeons.

“We are a major referral source for Level I Trauma service for hospitals within a two-hour radius,” says Dr. Weiner.

Getting the patient to the right physician the first time and helping them navigate through the system improves care and cost-effectiveness. It’s also key to a successful population health strategy, as is preventative care. Towards that end, patients at Summa’s Orthopedic Institute who require surgery are well informed and prepared ahead of time. They are also educated about post-surgery care. This not only improves compliance but also outcomes.

Among providers, feedback is shared through Summa’s integrated electronic medical records system, and any loops are closed to ensure that patients are closely followed and their progress is thoroughly documented all the way through recovery and rehabilitation.

Population Health

Summa’s population health strategies, which focus on improving the healthcare of the entire Akron-area population, are advantageous for all of its patients. But it is especially advantageous for those with chronic conditions, like diabetes. Diabetes, when left unmonitored, can have major consequences for patients across their lifespan and add significantly to healthcare costs.

“If a patient comes in with a diabetic foot infection that leads to amputation, we can look back through our integrated medical records, from any of our clinical sites, and figure out why the patient had diabetes bad enough to require an amputation,” explains Dr. Weiner. “By identifying those patients, and through coordination with their primary care physician, nurse practitioners and Accountable Care Organization, we can determine the cause and work towards preventing it from happening in the future.”

As the emphasis on population health grows, hospitals in the region are now faced with the disruption of bundled payments for joint replacement surgery. This presents additional challenges to control costs while maintaining quality care.

“At Summa (which has its own healthcare insurance plan and Accountable Care Organization), we have the advantage of affecting the patient from the PCP level and partnering with them through our population health strategy,” says Dr. Weiner.

He points out that Summa also partners with skilled nursing facilities in the region to provide other services, such as inpatient rehabilitation, when needed. “By controlling and affecting the whole spectrum of patient care, we can develop care pathways and protocols for all sites to work within a coordinated plan of care.”

Looking Forward

Plans are ongoing for the Orthopedic Institute to continue to focus on population health and improve access to care. “Access is always an important component when it comes to orthopedics,” says Dr. Shah, “not only for the patient but for physicians who need to refer a patient to an orthopedic specialist.”

Dr. Weiner agrees. “If you treat a whole population and they all do well, and are happy with their access, their care, and their physicians, then they are going to be healthier,” he says. “And we’ll all benefit in the long run.”

For more information about Summa Health Orthopedic Institute, visit To refer a patient, call 330-835-5533. Same day and next day appointments are available Monday through Friday.