Clinical Linkages’ blog, 21st Century Patients, is resurfacing after a yearlong hiatus. The new format will emphasize the critical importance of supporting the clinician-patient partnership today. Healthcare is in the midst of dramatic changes that are placing considerable pressure on the clinician-patient partnership. Without effective partnering between patients and clinicians, healthcare becomes an impersonal space despite sophisticated technology, medications, and a retail approach of customer service. Patients, families, and clinicians alike recognize that this undercurrent is … [Read more...]
A Revolution is Coming for 21st Century Patients
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...]
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...]
Engaging Patients: Back to the Future
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...]
Patient Engagement and Patient Safety: Are They Just Words?
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]