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It's so easy to think you've communicated a message clearly. After all, you understand the instructions, so it only stands to reason that the person receiving them must also understand what you meant.
And though most misunderstandings can be cleared up quickly in everyday situations, studies show that they pose a significant danger for patients when signals get crossed. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of the most serious medical errors in hospitals are linked to miscommunications.
To combat miscommunication in the emergency room, one Sheridan Healthcare physician is leading an effort to practice communication drills with his teams at Baptist Hospital of Miami. The program, based on the aviation industry's crisis or crew resource management, uses checklists and specific protocols to promote teamwork and communication.
I recently had a chance to talk to David Mishkin, M.D., and Paula Barrass, an assistant nurse manager, about the program at Baptist Hospital and how it dramatically improved teamwork and collaboration after team members received just a few hours of training.
Several minutes into "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," two men wander through a medieval village. "Bring out your dead," they shout as they pull a cart of plague-stricken corpses.
One resident offers a corpse, but the collectors quickly discover he's not dead yet. "I feel happy, I feel happy," he sings in an halfhearted effort to convince everyone he won't be dead by Thursday. "I think I'll go for a walk now."
Eventually, the increasingly frustrated collectors whack the man in the head with a club, add him to their cart and head on their way.
The scene came to mind when I saw the latest expert report on the Affordable Care Act's consumer operated and oriented health plan (CO-OP) program. Are CO-OPs dead yet, or do they feel happy? Unfortunately, answering that question is tricky.
That report comes from the Commonwealth Fund, which found some CO-OPs thriving and others struggling. That builds on previous reports from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and A.M. Best that essentially said the same thing. Some seem destined for that cart, while others appear ready to dance with the Knights of the Round Table.
I have been working with a hospital's urgent care centers to address the emerging issue of how to create experiences that are differentiating and of value to their customers. Not patients--customers.
Already, there are 26 urgent care centers in the urban-suburban area this hospital serves, with lots more coming soon. Talk about competition!
With urgent care centers popping up everywhere, safeguarding the "brand" is more important than ever, but all too often overlooked.
As an anthropologist, I always love to watch change coming, first as a dribble and then as a roaring tidal wave. As we were researching the state of the urgent care center from a customer experience perspective, interestingly there was nothing much to find. However, we found some other things that were well worth sharing with our Hospital Impact audience.
A lot has been written and materials developed of late around the idea of patient and family engagement. One of the most significant and important contributions in this effort has been A Roadmap for Patient & Family Engagement in Healthcare, produced by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the American Institutes for Research. This comprehensive publication identified patient and family engagement as "bringing patient and family voices to decisions about care, to healthcare organizational design and governance, and to public policy" and it offered the goals of engagement are aligned with the Triple Aim: patient experience of care, better population health and lower cost.
The engagement conversation is a critical one for healthcare, but from many perspectives continues to ring of something healthcare delivery organizations should "provide." It suggests a one-way responsibility to create engagement. Yet, engagement in the simplest of terms is powerful in that it is focused on fostering a sense of involvement, understanding and ownership from those in an interaction. In healthcare, this level of involvement in care, understanding and ownership comes from more than working to create engagement--it is born from the very experiences patients and families have with the system and how they choose to respond.
by Leslie Small
The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) kicked off its 2015 Congress in Chicago with a celebration of diverse healthcare leaders, a call for more progress in improving patient care and an update on the political climate in the nation's capital.
ACHE's new chairman, Richard Cordova (pictured right), who also serves as the CEO of Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, set the tone by sharing an optimistic outlook for an industry that often feels the heat of public criticism.
"Over the past few years, it seems like we have been focusing on what is wrong with the system of care in our country," he said. "Yes, we absolutely know we have to improve, and I'm convinced ... that you know what we have to do. But let's celebrate the progress that we've made. Society sees our missteps, but they also see the miracles that we perform day in and day out."
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