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...]
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...]
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...]