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Tuesday Morning with Justin Ft. John Greenwood

posted by TrueNorth Employee Benefits on Monday, February 8, 2021

In this two-part series, TrueNorth's Justin Futrell interviews John Greenwood, COO of Goldfinch Health to understand their organization's modern and innovative approach to patient recovery. 


Recovery is a critical and essential step to any surgery or operation - and it also plays a large role in healthcare expenses. For businesses, it can be common for a 200-life employee group to easily spend $2 million on employee recovery in a given year.

TrueNorth's Justin Futrell recently sat down with John Greenwood of Goldfinch Health to understand their organization's modern and innovative perspective on patient recovery. Their coordinated approach to surgery and return to work recently helped a patient fully recover from a procedure in just seven days when it would traditionally require that many weeks to fully recover.

While this modern protocol benefits the patient, it also contributes to a healthier, more resilient workforce. Goldfinch Health can fast-track employee recovery, provide them with medical guidance and insight during the surgery and recovery process.


When Justin Futrell's dad underwent surgery last year, Futrell asked John Greenwood for tips and advice for his father in the days leading up to the operation. Greenwood’s answer was simple: “make sure he drinks Gatorade.”

At Goldfinch, a team of specialists equips the patient with access to a nurse. Recovering patients also have access to an app they can consult that can help them identify and fill critical gaps in care. Goldfinch Health nurses are trained advocates in Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols. ERAS protocols were first pioneered in Europe and focus on placing patient recovery at the center of every medical decision.

An example of this has to do with the common advice to not eat or drink after midnight before surgery. In the video, Greenwood explains why this approach to surgery is problematic: “You wouldn't ask someone to not eat or drink before running a marathon, surgery is far more traumatic.”

Without proper food or drink, an individual is likely to become more dehydrated, develop insulin resistance and lower pain tolerance and become more reliant on pain medications, like opioids, after surgery and during recovery.

Greenwood's recommendation follows ERAS protocols and recommends that patients consume a clear carbohydrate beverage (like Gatorade) up to two hours before surgery. This can help reduce the negative side effects that often occur when a patient undergoes surgery on an empty stomach. While the approach seems straightforward, the instructions are very specific, which is why nurse navigators are a critical part of the ERAS recovery process. 

“If someone misunderstands the difference between coffee and coffee with creamer, there could be delays and consequences,” Greenwood said.  "That's where Goldfinch fits in; to try to help bridge that gap in the patient's understanding."

A 2019 report by the American College of Surgeons indicated that implementing ERAS protocols cut hospital stays in half and reduced opioid use by 95 percent. Harvard also recently conducted a study on the benefits of implementing ERAS protocols as part of the "prehab" process prior to an invasive or complex medical procedure. 


ERAS protocols are shown to curb opioid dependence. If this approach were adopted on a large enough scale, it could help turn the tide on America's opioid crisis. To support, Goldfinch Health recently launched the “1 Billion Pill Pledge,” as their commitment to engage patients, physicians, prescribers and business leaders with education on the dangers of opioid use, alternative approaches to pain management, and empowering employers to adopt these practices like this as part of their standard of care.

There are an estimated 3.3 billion pills left over each year from surgery - and this is after patients consume half their prescription. Greenwood believes that with the “Billion Pill Pledge” that they can eliminate at least a billion of these pills from America's medicine cabinets.  


Justin Futrell, TrueNorth Benefits Advisor

We live in an era where organizations of all sizes are expected to do more with less. Business owners and decision-makers face the daunting talk of balancing financial goals and aspirations against the cost of supporting a healthy and productive workforce.

"Tuesday Mornings with Justin" intends to showcase effective ways that organizations can leverage innovation, technology, and teamwork to grow their business and optimize their workforce.

Contact Justin 


This publication has been prepared by TrueNorth Companies, L.C. and is intended for informational purposes only. Transmission of this publication is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a client relationship with TrueNorth Companies, L.C. This publication does not constitute any type of representation or warranty, and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice. This publication is not a contract and does not amend, modify or change any insurance policy you may have with an insurance carrier. © 2021 TrueNorth Companies, L.C. All rights reserved.

Tags: health care

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TrueNorth offers businesses of every size comprehensive solutions to meet their business needs and those of their employees.  If you are in need of business solutions and are looking for ways to protect and maximize your workforce, look to TrueNorth. Our Employee Benefits Division can assist you in providing for the well-being of both you and your staff. Call us today at 1-800-798-4080.

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