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by Dan Bowman
Whether serving as government officials, clinicians, educators or researchers, women continue to play a major role in the evolution of health IT both in the U.S. and around the world. Once again, we asked our readers to nominate who they thought to be the most influential women in health IT for our third annual list.
This year's list includes, among others, individuals who have helped guide their organizations to unprecedented health IT heights, as well as a health technology and social media maven and the first female National Coordinator for Health IT.
Of course, this list is not all-encompassing; there are countless women whose impact on health IT is strong, many of whom have been featured on our 2013 and 2012 lists. Please tell us who you think deserves to be highlighted in the comments section, below.
An incredibly special person recently came into my life. She is kind, heart-centered, smart and caring. For this blog post I will refer to her as Hope.
Over the last number of weeks, Hope and I shared a lot of time together and developed a relationship and trust. In so doing, we shared many stories.
One recent story Hope shared truly caught my attention, as it aligns so well with some of my previous Hospital Impact blog posts. Unfortunately not the recent "Kindness, humanity are best healthcare business solutions" but rather with "More firsthand symptoms of a broken healthcare system." And yet this story from Hope can serve as a lesson for us all as we seek to truly engage and honor patients and improve the care we provide and the health of our patients, families and communities.
"I don't remember exactly when I started feeling something was wrong. I know the symptoms [included] worsening headaches, bouts of dizziness, and tingling and numbness in my leg. Each appointment over the course of several weeks (and there were many) my doctor told me it was the flu, migraines, allergies or such. I never felt like she heard me.
I began journaling my symptoms to help process and to document. I shared them with my doctor and asked her for a referral to a neurologist and an MRI. Her response? 'I'll approve the MRI but if it comes back normal you need to let this go.' It wasn't just that she didn't hear me. It was the tone of voice, the manner in which she dismissed me."
The field of patient safety became all too personal for me last week when my mother-in-law almost died from an iatrogenic C. Difficile infection of the large bowel caused by the inappropriate use of antibiotics and the failure of healthcare personnel to report their concerns to management or the family.
My mother-in-law is 91 years old and lives in an Alzheimer unit in a senior living community in the Pacific Northwest. Despite her significant cognitive impairment and increasing frailty, she is in remarkably good health.
Four weeks ago, she was prescribed Augmentin, a broad spectrum antibiotic for suspected bronchitis and/or pneumonia based upon a history of productive cough, weakness and increasing cognitive impairment. Doctors performed no complete examination, sputum culture/gram stain or X-ray. One week later her cough improved, however, she developed abdominal cramps, loose stools and decreased appetite that worsened over a three-week period. She then spiked a fever for which doctors prescribed Cipro for a suspected urinary tract infection (UTI), without a complete examination or urine sample. Two days later my wife and I found her in acute distress with left lower-quadrant abdominal pain, low-grade fever, dehydration and was transferred to the emergency department of a local hospital where doctors diagnosed her with her C. Difficile colitis and she was successfully treated with IV fluids, IV Flagyl and admitted to the hospital for a week.
by Katie Dvorak
As the summer winds down and fall approaches, it's time to head back to school. For health IT professionals, or those looking to start a career in the industry, there are many education options.
Colleges and universities across the country now offer a wide variety of courses in healthcare information technology and healthcare information security. These courses, which range from certificate programs to graduate degrees, focus on the most current trends in healthcare IT--from health IT policy to data analytics. They offer students the opportunity to begin work as healthcare IT professionals or to take their careers to a new level.
Some programs are brand new, while others have been offered for a few years. All of them, however, are continuing to expand in size and scope to keep pace with a rapidly growing and constantly changing industry.
In this special report, FierceHealthIT looks at some of those programs, who they are geared toward and what they offer.
I recently worked with a hospital improve its cancer program. It had wonderful doctors and an up-to-date facility. Nurses were very patient-focused and the staff smiled a lot. What could be better?
Yet new patient volumes were sluggish and growth elusive. The hospital found the highly competitive local market very challenging, especially because differentiation--a meaningful point of difference--was pretty much non-existent. In truth, the area hospitals were all pretty much the same. How could it compete? Most of the ideas focused on the patient experience inside the hospital.
So instead, we decided to see what it was like as an outsider trying to find out more about the hospital options if we were diagnosed with cancer. We began our inquiry, with observational research and shopping the experience. We called hospitals in the region, as well as some nationally recognized leaders in cancer care, hoping to learn something of value.
We contacted 20 hospitals and quickly realized something was clearly missing: The basics of a good (let alone great) customer experience. I invite you to call your own call center and see how it presents your excellent services to your consumer.
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