Member Highlight 

Neel Karne, MD
General Surgeon, Beloit Health System

Note: Dr. Karne is also a member of the SCW Executive Committee and the Surgeon Champion for the Stateline Opioid Quality Initiative, funded by a grant from the Hendricks Family Foundation.

Why did you decide to get involved with SCW? I have always found it difficult to keep up with changing trends in surgery. I have also found that if you talk to five different surgeons, you will hear eight different opinions on how to do something. I joined the Surgical Collaborative because I wanted to be part of a solution that encourages evidence-based practice. The standard and quality of care that a patient receives in the state of Wisconsin should be the same and not depend on which surgeon they see.

What SCW initiatives and projects are you most excited about? I personally have been excited about all of the projects that SCW is involved in. When I learned the details of the ERAS protocol, I immediately tried to implement many of the aspects at my home institution. After encountering multiple roadblocks, I went to the next SCW meeting and spoke with other surgeons who encountered similar issues, and they offered solutions that I was able to implement. In regards to reducing re-excision rates in breast cancer surgery, many of the guidelines I was already following. What it did allow me to do is take the data and information to my colleagues and convince them to change their practice with not just my opinion, but evidence-based data. The initiative to reduce the number of opioids prescribed significantly changed the way I practice. It reduced the number of pills I give to my elective cases by 30 percent, and actually eliminated my prescribing of narcotics altogether for less invasive cases. What really surprised me is that it did not adversely affect my practice. We have not had an increase in the number of patient phone calls, and our patient satisfaction remains high.

What do you appreciate most about being part of SCW? To me the most rewarding part of being involved with the SCW is the people I have had the opportunity to work with. Working in a small community, you often feel isolated from the rest of the world. Being part of SCW has allowed me to interact with surgeons from all around the state. I have learned so many new techniques, tricks in the OR, and practice tools that I would have never found in a journal or on the internet. In addition to what I have learned from other people, I also have people I can reach out to when I have a question. I have had the opportunity to meet surgeons from all across the state who are involved in various types of practice. When you are in a more remote location, you can feel like all the struggles you encounter are unique. After talking to many physicians in the state, I found that we share similar issues, whether they be practice-related or patient-related. Overall, being part of SCW has been a fantastic experience, and I look forward to new initiatives and projects in the future.