Ebola is a nasty disease. But ignorance is worse. If you doubt this statement, take look at film clips from BBC World on the struggle to bring calm, through the use of the evidence, to the many frightened people in West Africa. Why, in America, where we have access to a 24/7 news cycle, has fear taken control of our brains? A recent Wall Street Journal article is a case in point. The article is about the nurse who volunteered to care for people with Ebola in Sierra Leone. It is a disheartening look at what misinformation does to people. It drives politicians to mandate rules so their … [Read more...]
Ebola: Are We Relying on EHR to Tell the Story?
Ebola — this word has its own hashtag, millions of tweets, hundreds if not thousands of articles in the past month, and the power to frighten many people. Fear is playing a large role in how this disease is perceived, which is a poor foundation for managing its spread. Communicating Key Information Electronic health records (EHR) are essential tools in clinical care. When written words in an electronic record become the primary way information is shared among busy clinical staff, I believe we inject increased risk into clinical care. The nation is following the Dallas case almost minute … [Read more...]
Are We Returning to a Life Before Penicillin?
Life before antibiotics is a scary thought, but a clarion call for behavior change has come from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We are on the verge of an era without antibiotics to cure infection. Dr. Srinivasan calls this a “post antibiotic era”. To appreciate the staggering implications of this message, imagine the outcome of the following two scenarios without effective antibiotics. Your 8 year-old daughter is playing with the cat and suddenly the cat bites and scratches her. Despite carefully cleaning the wound and making a quick trip to the urgent care for antibiotic coverage … [Read more...]
CMS Requirements Will Be “Trick” for Hospital Budgets this October
October means fall leaves, Halloween goblins…and a new “spook” if your local hospital is one that will receive less money from the government. This new Halloween treat will last for a full year however, not just one night. The new healthcare law requires CMS to monitor quality and safety in hospitals and to rank order their results. The legal mandate is to deny payment to hospitals that fall in the bottom quarter of this list. They are designated worst performing and will lose money as a result. A New Beginning or a Cliff? The law has mandated pay for performance based on three categories: … [Read more...]
Would You Remodel a Building Without a Blueprint?
Not likely. If you have been through a remodeling experience in your organization then you know it takes time, clear communication and above all a plan to enact the vision of the new facilities. Having been through this process, I recall the angst living amidst changes in the environment. In fact, there was more than one meeting where frustrations aired and the group had to be re-centered on the intended vision/outcome. Whew! Adopting EBP without a Blueprint? Evidence based practice needs a blueprint to work. It is one thing to say we need to translate the current evidence guideline on … [Read more...]
Listen! Say Our Patients
Patient engagement is the new mantra. Several posts on 21st Century Patients blog have addressed this phrase and the confusion surrounding the term. Likewise, there are can be no defined outcomes for “engagement”. Although a meaningless phrase it is here to stay – subject to various interpretations and possibly used as a weapon for someone’s benefit. I suggest we step back a moment and really look at our clinical care areas for the presence of “engagement”. What do you see? Where are the eyes and ears? Perhaps you can identify with the scene in the Emergency Department of this story in … [Read more...]
If Nurses Could Take Over the World…
What do you think would happen to patient care if nurses took over the world? I suggest this question should be the headline for Nurses Week because, as a nation, we are missing the point about improving healthcare. Words like patient engagement are tossed around freely without an understanding of what it really means to “engage” a patient. Well, nurses do know what it means and there are three million RNs in the US who can lay claim to a long history of significant contributions to improving health because nurses have always engaged patients. This is Nurses Week and it offers an … [Read more...]
In the Forest of Safety and Engagement
Are you in a hospital leadership position? Whether you are in the C-Suite or managing 24/7 care on a clinical unit you understand the challenge in maintaining focus and finding balance in today’s chaotic environment. It’s Like a Mountain Hike If you have ever hiked in the Rockies you know that a trail map and good compass are very helpful. In fact, they are essential if you plan to return home someday. Forests are amazing, rejuvenating and inspirational because there is so much variety in the nature around you. It is easy to become absorbed in your immediate surrounding but what happens … [Read more...]
What The Friendly Skies Can Teach Us About Patient Safety
If you fly, you recognize these words… “Ladies and Gentlemen we would appreciate your attention as we explain the safety features of this aircraft.” The approach varies slightly by airline but basic information about air turbulence and the importance of wearing your seat belts, the location of emergency exits, and how to use oxygen masks is spelled out in simple language. For those of us who fly often this safety briefing seems humdrum, and can lead us to a complacent attitude about the role we might assume if there is an in-flight emergency. It could be a fatal mistake if we have not … [Read more...]
Passing the Baton – Hospital Handoffs
Just another initiative? Did you run track in high school or college? If so, there is a chance you were in a relay. Relays required skill not just in running but also in the method of transferring the next leg of the race to a teammate. You learned to pass the baton. If you dropped the baton the consequences were obvious and immediate. Handoffs have become another initiative in hospitals. Taking a cue from sports, hospitals and professional organizations are launching handoff strategies in various clinical areas. Just as an athlete transfers responsibility for the next leg of the race when … [Read more...]