The words, “patient engagement” and “patient safety” seem like common sense in healthcare. However, if you are a professional caring for patients today you can certainly identify with Eliza Doolittle’s lament in My Fair Lady. “Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words I get words all day through First from him, now from you Is that all you blighters can do?” Patients and families are equally peppered with these terms on information sheets, brochures, videos and media reports. The latter are often headlines that depict a collapse in patient safety where someone suffers or dies as … [Read more...]
Patient Engagement and Patient Safety: Are They Just Words?
3 Simple Measures to Reduce Medication Errors
In the last post I asked if “engaged patients” was a buzz-word or a reality given the differing ways people interpret the term engaged. If we believe that “engaging patients” means to actively listen to understand the patient’s needs, we are on a path to partnership with patients and families. Active listening opens the door to meaningful two-way communication. The added bonus of tuning-in for a couple of minutes is that patients sense a higher level of interest from the nurse and doctor. And this is your direct connection to managing HACAPS. HACAPS will never be a true measure of clinical … [Read more...]
Engaged Patients, A Buzzword or Reality?
You are busy clinicians practicing in a hospital today and this term “patient engagement” is driving a lot of discussion and initiatives to demonstrate your patients are “engaged”. In fact, you are indirectly measured on this in the HCAPS. I would like to challenge the use of the term because it has no standard definition in healthcare, which means it is being driven by individual perceptions. Let’s visualize how this could play out in a cartoon like, Calvin and Hobbs or The Far Side. Calvin tells his pal Hobbs, “The doctor said my gage ended but I didn’t have a gage did I?” or Gary Larson’s … [Read more...]
What Do Our Patients Know About Their Hospital Care?
If you are a nurse or doctor and practice in a hospital today you understand the feeling of being on a fast train that has gone out of control. You and your patients are living in a rapidly changing environment, and the end point for this very fast ride is an unknown. Yet, you practice to achieve best outcomes for your patients, perhaps with variable resource and staffing. But, if the numbers (those measurements of outcome, satisfaction and other factors) are not in the ballpark, everyone suffers because money is lost to the hospital in which you practice. In a recent post for Forbes … [Read more...]
Are we ready for 21st Century Patients?
We talk about “patient engagement” and shared decision-making but patients tell us we are not walking the talk. Their feedback in the HCAHPS survey paints a picture of opportunity to improve. Our culture of hospital care is changing but it is still far from goal of “patient centered”. Take a look at the recent study by James, in the Journal of Patient Safety, our stats for patient harm are not improving. In fact this report shows 2.5 time higher incidents of harm from the IOM report in 2000. Patient centered care is Safe Care. Clinicians go to work with the intent of providing the best … [Read more...]
Are You Ready for Consumer Driven Healthcare?
In the last post I wrote about the survey tool, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Provider and Systems, (HCAHPS) as the consumer voice on their hospital care. This information is intended to help organizations improve the way care is provided to the patient as well as a public reference for consumers. We are a consumer driven society. We shop and we have expectations for our shopping experience. When we decide to buy a car, shop for clothes or plan for the kids braces expectations drive our decision. How much can we spend? Where can I get the best quality at the best price? We … [Read more...]
Is It a Cereal: HCAPS?
Do you remember the “snap, crackle and pop” ads when you were a kid? If you just poured the milk on the cereal and put your ear close to the bowl you could hear the “snap, crackle and pop” described by little jumping elves. So you poured your milk and you LISTENED. HCAPS are intended to be about listening. HCAPS has an impressive full name; Hospital Consumers Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, it is a survey designed by government agencies to seek feedback from patients about the care they receive in the hospital. The survey is voluntary and asks 27 questions ranging from … [Read more...]
Patients and Black Holes
Patients fall into endless space everyday….Black Holes are the side effect of modern healthcare. In the early 20th century Black Holes in outer space were seen as a phenomena where matter was absorbed and nothing could escape. If you, a loved one, or even an employee has ever had to deal with a health issue that requires coordination between various professionals it is likely you understand the Black Hole analogy all too well. A recent Washington Post article, “Many doctors, too little communication”,hits on a key factor creating Black Holes, the lack of care coordination. It … [Read more...]
Downton Abby Doctors and The Evidence
Millions watched the latest episode of Downton Abbey where the lovely Lady Sybil’s protracted labor raises viewers anxiety as the drama unfolds. Relief engulfs the family as a healthy daughter is born and the weary mother told to rest. But even if you are not a clinician you are left with the feeling that things are still not right. Soon we see why…she experiences minutes of agony in seizures and dies as her family and the two physicians watch, helpless. Now what can we as 21st century folks take from this drama that may help us, or a loved one needing care? I believe stories are a rich … [Read more...]
Do Patients Receive Full Disclosure About Medications?
This is a heavy topic for the first blog post of 2013, but I sense this issue may be nearing critical mass. Please look at the BBC article about Pharma’s lack of disclosure. Patients and clinicians are making decisions today with not just incomplete data. The Cochrance Collaborative has long called for all findings in clinical trials to be made available. When only positive results are published the bias is obvious. How else can we know the full context of drugs that are on the market? But we do not know because full disclosure is not common practice from the pharmaceutical industry. … [Read more...]