One thing is clear in the chorus of words about patient care today, there is no consensus on a definition for patient engagement. I suggest we are missing something very important because we have a historical precedent for patient involvement in their care that led to positive change. In fact it was patients who became a very powerful force for change because they read, they attended classes and they understood they should be partners in the way they received care. They were engaged. In the 1970s, childbirth education surfaced to help women learn about the normal processes of labor and … [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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]