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Support, care for health workers to improve patient experience

October 23rd, 2014

by Jason A. Wolf

It was hard to engage in a healthcare conversation in recent weeks without hearing about the challenges presented and fear created by the global Ebola crisis. In the United States, the outcomes in Dallas brought home the complicated nature of a global healthcare system driven by protocol and process, and revealed that in striving for perfect outcomes, the healthcare system still built on human beings caring for human beings. This also means, as hard as we might work to avoid it, oversight or errors in healthcare happen.

In many efforts at the heart of patient experience--the integration of quality, safety and service and the connection of engagement, activation and partnership--we drive to reduce errors and/or avoid never events, or conversely, to drive the best in outcomes and ensure always events. Yet at the same time, many of us who advocate for experience (and I must own I have been guilty of it too) expect the ability for near flawless perfection at all times. Yes, we can strive for this, yes it would be ideal if we could achieve it, but we must realize that our humanity makes us vulnerable, variable and at times prone to mistakes. No one wants that to occur in his or her own case and unfortunately we probably still see more unavoidable errors outside of truly human mistakes than we should, but it does cause us to look at the root of issue.

I consistently advocate that patient experience is grounded in an organization's culture, and in that frame, it's through interactions between individuals where experience occurs--be it an interpersonal or a clinical encounter. As much as we need to focus on patient, resident and family needs, we must also be cognizant of those on the front lines and in the support roles who deliver that care or overall experience.

=> Read more!

St. Luke's population health programs promote innovation

October 23rd, 2014

by Jonathan H. Burroughs

Some organizations choose innovation and rather than wait until change is mandatory, move forward before it's required so they can design and forge their own way before it's imposed upon them by others.

For example: St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho--an organization that builds an infrastructure for population health to prepare for the transition from fee-for-service to risk contracting and capitation while many others talk about it and wait.

Its most important innovation is that it defines itself not as a hospital or even a healthcare network, but as a regional continuum and coalition of care extending from the home to the community/schools, home health, access clinics, diagnostic centers, ambulatory procedure or long term care centers, the acute care hospital, post-acute care and back to home. Many of their strategic partnerships with schools, community organizations, wellness coalitions, employers and corporate partners are non-traditional and reflect the growing trend that only organizations with broad based coalitions will succeed in the 21st century.

Some of their innovative programs include:

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How Ebola prevention efforts could improve overall healthcare

October 23rd, 2014

Hospital efforts to safeguard against the Ebola virus may have longer-term implications for infection prevention in healthcare settings, according to an infection control expert.

"I think sometimes healthcare workers may become a bit complacent, and so what [Ebola preparation] does is it helps us remove some of that complacency," Linda Greene, R.N., infection prevention manager at Highland Hospital in Rochester, New York, told FierceHealthcare in an exclusive interview.

"Every day, in every hospital, someone could prevent, maybe not Ebola, [but] there are a number of infectious diseases that we're worried about," such as the flu, said Greene, who is also a former board member of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) and currently sits on APIC's Regulatory Review panel. "I don't think we can underemphasize those basic infection practices that are so very vital to prevent the spread of infection," such as hand hygiene, mask use and early identification, she said.

>> Read the full story at FierceHealthcare

Drive good governance through continuing education

October 16th, 2014

by Adam Ross

As executives face the evolving governance and regulatory landscape, it's the fiduciary duty for a company's board of directors to react fast and with expert understanding.

While good governance practices pave the road for a company's success, companies expect board members to have the most up-to-date knowledge to protect against changing regulations, organizational risks and ultimately to assist in a company's transparent recovery if issues occur. Good governance practices are on the rise and certainly are here to stay.

The importance of continuing education for board of directors in the healthcare sector has become crucial in the last decade. A recent study by The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) found that 84 percent of healthcare respondents have seen an improvement in governance practices, while 91 percent anticipate a significant rise in information governance over the next three years.

=> Read more!

Fragmented health system needs top-down commitment to change

October 16th, 2014

by Lynn McVey

During a webinar with Beth Boynton, a registered nurse from Confident Voices, I publicly confessed I was not always a big fan of nurses.

That all changed the week I spent several overnights in an intensive care unit with my own Dad. I witnessed acts of compassion, kindness and love from nurses that truthfully, I never knew existed. I also witnessed fragmented, broken, divisive care coordination that cannot be fixed as is.

In my fantasy, we will achieve care coordination when we collapse the many over-specialized positions we created (EKG tech, aide, transporter, phlebotomist, etc.) and roll them into a one-to-one patient-advocate/nurse ratio for appropriate patients. This patient advocate model would mean the patient care is coordinated through the nurse. This would probably improve care coordination more so than the 28 different staff members who walked into my dad's room every day. Is it even logistically possible that those 28 caregivers communicate with each other?

=> Read more!

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