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by Joanne Finnegan
I got a call from my oldest brother early Monday morning with sad news. He learned that on Easter Sunday a lifelong friend--we had all grown up in the same tight-knit suburban neighborhood--had found his 33-year-old son dead in his bedroom from a drug overdose.
"Oh my God," I said, but I didn't add the words, "that's unbelievable," because it wasn't. In fact, it was all too believable.
Deaths from drug overdoses have hit way too close for many Americans. Forty-one percent of adults in the U.S. say they know someone who has abused prescription painkillers in the past five years, according to a STAT-Harvard poll released earlier this month. Of those, 20 percent said the abuse had led to a person's death, which translates to 1 in 12 Americans who say they personally know someone who died from a prescription drug overdose.
So you’re tweeting, posting to Facebook, updating Pinterest boards and maybe putting pictures up on Instagram—that’s great for your hospital and your brand awareness.
But here are three factors you might not have considered when it comes to social media use:
Employees behaving badly
When it comes to employees and social media, we hope that workers will behave appropriately, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. What do you do when you find out that an employee has a personal blog that contains information that could potentially identify a patient? Or when you get a call from an administrator saying an employee had been having an inappropriate conversation with a patient through Facebook? These are true stories, and such situations, or worse, could happen at any hospital.
When we talk about patient satisfaction, what we’re really talking about is customer service, patient safety and employee engagement. In healthcare today, the stakes are high for achieving patient satisfaction, and they go well beyond HCAHPS scores.
With the two largest payment systems, Medicare and Medicaid, using a value-based purchasing measurement set with performance-based financial incentives and public reporting of quality information-- including patient satisfaction--it’s clear that employee attitude and engagement have a significant impact on a hospital’s bottom line. This is especially true for rural healthcare facilities that rely heavily on these payers.
Besides the considerable financial incentives ascribed by the government, hospital leaders should keep in mind other consumer-based metrics for measuring quality in their customer service. According to "Customers 2020," a comprehensive consumer study conducted by Walker Information in collaboration with CustomerThink and the Chief Customer Officer Council, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
In the 20th century, pharmacists were professionals who formulated medications based upon physician prescriptions and provided advice to patients regarding dosing, self-administration and potential side-effects. In the 21st century, pharmacists are essential members of the healthcare team to provide invaluable expertise and input into the increasingly complex management of patients with acute and chronic diseases to achieve optimum outcomes at the lowest possible cost.
Why the dramatic change in the pharmacists’ role?
First, healthcare has become exponentially more complex. There are now tens of thousands of prescription drugs and hundreds of thousands of over-the-counter medications available in the United States with an infinite number of potential interactions. In addition, there are often dozens of steps that separate a doctor’s decision to order a medication and the nurse delivering the medication to the patient, with myriad opportunities for process failure.
by Barry Ronan
When I was asked if I would blog about pushing the healthcare industry into a new era, I agreed based on my own personal experience. At the time, I wasn’t aware of Don Berwick’s recent commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the subject. Fortunately, I can certainly relate to his commentary since I have been living his “Era 3” for the last several years.
Berwick states that healthcare needs to be pushed into a new era. He writes about Era 1 when medicine was good and depended on self-regulation. Then Era 2 evolved once the flaws and contradictions of Era 1 became apparent. Era 2 saw the need for accountability and measurement. Era 3, though, will require a combination of Eras 1 and 2, but emphasizing less measurement related to cost and volume and more measurement related to quality and value; moving away from maximizing revenue; focusing on care improvement as a core competency for healthcare leaders; and complete transparency with the communities that we serve.
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