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Small hospital changes can make big healthcare impact

August 21st, 2014

by Scott Kashman

In April 2011, President Obama discussed his plan to curb the growth of healthcare costs.

The framework called for $340 billion in cuts over 10 years and $480 billion by 2023 (including the proposals already included in the president's budget). Over the subsequent decade, the president's proposal will save more than $1 trillion by further bending the cost curve, doubling the savings from the Affordable Care Act. That plan called for increasing the amount of uninsured by 50 million people.

Throughout my career, one thing remained constant: Our evolving and transforming healthcare industry. We could get ourselves really frustrated if we chase every headline. So the question is, what can you do to influence your organization's destiny?

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Healthcare lessons from Captain Carmine Marceno

July 10th, 2014

by Scott Kashman

In a prior blog, I asked what our obligation to role model healthier living is in our respective health systems. Not a right or wrong answer, just a philosophical approach.

This week, an 89-year-old women and the sister of a 10 year old who is currently going through cancer treatment approached me. They were surprised we do not focus more on nutrition across our nation's healthcare system. We think it is wide known "food is medicine;" however when it comes down to it, they felt hospitals and care providers focused more on pills and diagnostic testing than food's impact on their health.

I have an upcoming meeting with some of our key managers and physicians to focus on--you guessed it-- nutrition. As a management team, we want to know how we could help practice with nutrition education. Some challenges include their time constraints, our payment system and the provider and patients' interest in learning more. One physician shared with me that he would love to focus more on nutrition and has many patients who simply just want the quick fix--a pill. After all, that's what we have essentially taught society: There is a pill for everything. And while the pendulum seems to be slowly swinging back, we have a long ways to go towards a balanced nutrition discussion and integration.

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Healthy eating at hospitals: What's our obligation?

June 5th, 2014

by Scott Kashman and Larry Altier

Here's our simple question. Forget for a moment your own personal beliefs on whether you think we should eat healthier as a society. As healthcare leaders, do you think it's our obligation to offer healthier options in our healthcare organizations?

In September 2013, a bombshell report from Credit Suisse's Research Institute brought into sharp focus the staggering health consequences of sugar on the health of Americans. The group revealed that approximately 30 percent to 40 percent of healthcare expenditures in the United States help address issues that are closely tied to the excess consumption of sugar.

The figures suggest our national addiction to sugar runs us an incredible $1 trillion in healthcare costs each year. The Credit Suisse report highlighted several health conditions, including coronary heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which numerous studies have linked to excessive sugar intake. ("Bitter Truth About Sugar")

Here's a suggested approach for your consideration and feedback. Focus on the following five areas: Nutrition science, access, policy, price and education.

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Connect with patients, staff for positive experiences

May 14th, 2014

by Scott Kashman

Could you imagine how crazy we must sound in healthcare when new people arrive? We use terms and phrases like: LWBS (left without being seen), LWOT (let without treatment), ALOS (average length of stay), ROI (return on investment), CDI (clinical documentation improvement), huddle boards, PDCA, LEAN, CT scan, MRI, financial acumen, quality outcomes, core measures, patient experience/HCAHPS, employee engagement, physician engagement, strategy, population health and prevention.

The list goes on. How do we make it easier for people to transition into our organizations or, frankly, reconnect with our organizations?

A few months back I wrote about the new Connectivity plans for our employees, volunteers and physicians. Connectivity serves as a way to take all our strategic initiatives and frame them in an organized way. This allows participants to better understand their role and how they personally contribute to the organization's strategies.

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Create a healthcare environment where employees thrive

March 19th, 2014

by Scott Kashman

What does it take to create an environment where people thrive? In many ways, we all know, although it's often an afterthought. Every organization has goals. Smart leaders focus on their organizations' customers and how to continually improve. It takes a deeper, more optimistic, sincere and caring commitment to truly understand what creates that connection and culture to engage others.

A couple of real-life examples hit home. Recently, I participated in a local half marathon race. While I was not physically conditioned to hit my personal best, I hoped to still enjoy myself and have a good race.

I have a few people who stand out and mentally push me at every local race. I noticed one of them, "Aob" (name disguised for confidential sake) was not racing. He was cheering runners on a few miles into the race. In three races, the two of us had less than 5 seconds between our finishes after a total of 19.3 miles. In some ways, I was disappointed he was not racing.

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