Colonists and Patients July 4th is for celebrating America’s independence from England. We picnic, enjoy fireworks, and watch parades…its great fun. The Revolutionary war was anything but fun. It was gut-wrenching marches in stifling heat or blowing snow often with only rags tied on the soldiers’ feet because the boots were worn through. It was unthinkable that a people as varied in interests, wealth, and skills could come together for their desire to be free and beat the most powerful army in the world, but they did. Then the real work began, creating a government that would work and live … [Read more...]
This week lay and professional press will focus on a growing national collaborative of medical societies engaged in an information campaign for consumers. Choosing Wisely® wants patients and care providers to engage in discussion on the evidence for commonly used tests and procedures. Risk, harm and necessity are central to this conversation and a path forward for better understanding about commonly held beliefs. Forks in the Road This is not an easy path. In fact there are three forks in the road that make the journey to greater understanding a significant challenge. They are: Ritual … [Read more...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
Talking to Ourselves
Infections, medication errors, and hospital readmission are all topics in the lay press that raise everyone’s concerns. But what is a person to do when they are admitted or have a loved one in the hospital? This is a very important question and the answers are illusive despite the mounds of articles, press releases, and gazillions megabits of political rhetoric. As an industry, healthcare has done a good job identifying many of its problems and as a result there are plenty of businesses circling the scarred, and even bleeding, hospitals promising to heal those wounds. Clinicians, … [Read more...]
Is Hospital Care Patient-Centered?
Why this question matters to all of us! There is so much political babble surrounding healthcare that we have lost the ability to focus on the core business. The patient is the center of our work but we are in danger of the core business being overrun by competing and confounding factors. Soon it will be 2013 and many aspects of healthcare change will become more apparent, and this is only the beginning. So how do we cope with constant change? We must accept the essential need for people who seek care to become 21st Century Patients. No longer can one depend on simply following … [Read more...]
Patients Have a Voice: Did You Notice on October 1st?
If you listened to the Monday morning news with your coffee, the “dry” story about Medicare’s new payment structure to hospitals may have slipped by you, especially if are not “in the industry” or do not have Medicare insurance. But this is a significant story, particularly when we consider the importance of taking an active role in understanding our healthcare. Effective October 1st hospitals will be rewarded in dollars… or NOT… according to the outcome measures for 12 specific patient problems such as heart attacks, pneumonia and the use of antibiotics. The measures are designed to see … [Read more...]