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Lawrence Kerr

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The Unstoppable Trend in Medicine That’s Here to Stay

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, May 09, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

jeremy-bishop-335002-unsplashSome things in medicine come and go.

Many trends — demands on our time or our practice  start off as the trend du jour but eventually get abandoned for new trends on the horizon.

But there is one trend in medicine that appears to be here to stay— and it’s coming to your state and town, whether you are ready or not.

That trend that’s here to stay?  Value-based payment in medicine.

As Fierce Healthcare summarizes, in just 5 years, 700% more states have adopted value-based payment (VBP) systems. Currently, only 4 states have yet to launch a value-based model.

What does that mean for most healthcare providers?  It means that it's not enough to simply put our heads down and provide good care for the patient in front of us. In a value-based model, it becomes very much "our problem" whether care coordination happens, whether we need to do medical collaboration, and what "non-medical" things are affecting our patients.

For instance, in a value-based model, there are concrete consequences to referring a patient to a doctor 3 hours away and hoping the patient gets an appointment and that they actually go. The patient may not make it to the appointment, end up with a bad outcome, and ultimately  in addition to the subpar care  it becomes a financial hit for the doctor and her organization.  Far better?  Use a system like iClickCare to get a 2-minute consult from that provider, while the patient is in front of you. 

For a long time, healthcare providers felt that medical collaboration and care coordination were altruistic things they would do "when they had time."  In a VBP world, collaboration and coordination are the most practical, incentivized activities in healthcare. Coordinating a medical team means that followup care happens and readmissions drop. Medical collaboration means that you can efficiently pull in providers across the continuum of care to determine the best possible course of treatment  decreasing length of stay.

It's not always the case that the right thing to do and the selfish thing to do are the same. But in a VBP world, the right thing and the selfish thing are the same  use medical collaboration, telemedicine, and care coordination to care for our patients. 

 

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Tags: care coordination, value based care, medical collaboration tool

Disturbing but True Facts About Technology and Doctors

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Fri, May 03, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

 

glenn-carstens-peters-282287-unsplashIt’s one of the conundrums of modern life that time-saving technology sometimes takes more time than it saves us.

For instance, email is quicker than a phone call, and yet office workers spend an average of 4 hours a day checking their email. We're somehow spending so much time managing the technology of connection that we have less time to actually... connect.

And medicine is no different — healthcare providers are spending dramatically increased times interacting with EHRs/EMRs and plummeting hours with patients. 

It’s disturbing but true: a study of first-year residents shows that 43% of their time is spent interacting with electronic medical records — that’s 3 times more than they spend interacting with patients. In fact, according to JAMA, they spend nearly 90% of their time away from patients.

The problem with this time split isn't so much that it's not efficient. The problem is that healthcare's most valuable assets  the human beings who are our healthcare providers  aren't being used to their "highest and best" potential. That matters for the output that we see from them (in terms of quality of care and innovation) as well as for the long-term sustainability of healthcare (considering the sky-high rates of healthcare provider burnout.) 

It's easy to look at this and bemoan the use of technology in medicine. Perhaps technology is inherently distracting, alienating, and time-consuming?

Personally, I don't think so. Technology can detract from our time with patients or it can add to it. What makes the difference is whether the technology we are using has been thoughtfully designed, intuitively structured, and whether it integrates into our workflow. The answer to all three of those questions for most Electronic Health Records is a resounding "no," which is why EHRs have become such a time-sink and distraction for doctors.

The truth is that we can’t go backward to an era of black doctors’ bags and paper medical records. But we can go forward to an era of holistic, integrated technology. And I think that as leaders in medicine, it's our responsibility to demand technology that supports human engagement, the art of medicine, connection and collaboration with our colleagues, and the highest and best use of our time. This demand of our technology is far from frivolous; it's key to our ability to uphold our commitment to our patients.

Thankfully, I think that there are subtle signs that healthcare is beginning to swing its huge pendulum back toward human interaction and human-scale healthcare. As Dr. Zimlichman wrote recently, even hospitals themselves are becoming a "technology" that is unwieldy and shows signs of shrinking in significance: 

“The hospital as we know it—a medical center crammed full of patients, beds, equipment, medical staff and service workers, and much more—is an expense society can't really afford anymore... Other industries—retail, banking, finance and others—have long used digital tools to enable clients and businesses to collaborate and connect, anytime and anywhere. Those tools are now available to the medical industry—and given the constantly ballooning costs of care, the hospital is a perfect candidate for its own digital revolution.”

In other words, its possible that we are actually at the peak of technology's negative impact on medicine. And that as technologies mature and healthcare evolves, technology may actually begin to bring medicine back into a more sane, human-centered way of working. As healthcare providers, we can usher that new way of working into reality  or we can resist it by holding tight to "the devil we know."  I suggest the latter.

 

Curious how a simple technology like iClickCare actually works? Watch a 1-minute video to learn more: 

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Tags: EHR, EMR, telemedicine technology

Why Developing Countries Beat the US in Medical Technology

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

annie-spratt-210845-unsplashThose of us who live in the US tend to think of our medical system as the most cutting-edge in the world.

And there is a lot of truth to that — medical innovation is certainly an area of strength for us and we can be proud of our contributions. 

That said, a recent New York Times article put a spotlight on the ways developing countries can show a special kind of rapid innovation with technology that sometimes leapfrogs our slow, deeply challenged adoption patterns.

Any new technology presented to the US medical community has to beat a gauntlet of obstacles to be adopted. Between regulatory issues, compatibility troubles, concerns about compensation, and political drama, the adoption of any new technology is a minefield.

Sometimes the needs of developing countries make technological adoption quicker and more focused than it would ever be in the US. For instance, a new ultrasound scanner has been invented that can do ultrasounds anywhere in the world, with a device the size of an electric shaver, connected to an iPhone.

As the New York times reports, “Two-thirds of the world’s population gets no imaging at all,” so the allure of an ultrasound wand that can provide even rudimentary imaging is compelling for medical providers and NGOs in developing countries. Many times, the stance is one of finding innovative ways to use technology, rather than having the immediate reaction be one of resistance. Further, experimentation seems to come at less of a perceived cost, as downsides of failures may not be as dramatic in terms of repercussions.

So within a short period of time, providers in Uganda used their new ultrasound wand to scan everyone from babies to nonagenarians. And their approach to using it in service of diagnoses was deeply creative.

 

My challenge as the founder of a medical technology company is to support US medical providers in approaching innovation in this same way — but of course in combination with all of the advantages that we have in our medical system. How is that possible?  I believe that when providers in the US make an effort to try new technologies as quickly and cheaply as possible, it lends us the type of speed and innovation sometimes only found in a country like Uganda when experimenting with an ultrasound wand. The smaller and faster our experiments are, the less investment we have in every single one succeeding. That's what I'm so passionate about iClickCare as a medical collaboration tool  it doesn't require expensive hardware, even one doctor can start using it on his/her own, and it's so intuitive to use that you can do your first consult within minutes. That means that it's inexpensive and fast for medical providers to experiment with its optimal usage in their unique medical setting  making innovation much faster and more expansive than it is with huge, expensive, and years-to-implement videoconferencing hardware. 

 

We can certainly learn something from the resilience and creativity of other countries  and innovation around medical technology may be one place to start. 

Try iClickCare for free, and do your first consult in minutes:

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Tags: telemedicine technology, healthcare collaboration software

Do Hospitals Hide Data that Could Help with Care Coordination?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Apr 18, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

daan-stevens-282446-unsplashI’ve always said that it’s better to stay out of the hospital.

When confronted with risks of infection, error, or complications — it’s of course better to stay healthy and stay home.

But sometimes an elective surgery is wise or an emergency hospital stay is necessary. And in those cases, all of us want to be sure that our patients are safe.

But recent data and evidence has begged the question — are hospitals incentivized to hide infections when they occur?

I have to believe that almost all hospitals across the country prioritize patient well-being above any concerns about reputation or profitability.

But when antibiotic resistance combines with age-old concerns about infection and sickness in hospitals, things get serious. And even good intentions  for instance, to thoroughly investigate an outbreak without alarming people  can end up hiding data and information that could keep people safe. 

And the reality is that we all depend on hospitals sharing this information on their own behalf because there aren't agencies that will do so for them. In fact, as the New York Times reports, "under its agreement with states, the CDC is barred from publicly identifying hospitals that are battling to contain the spread of dangerous pathogens."  For instance in 2016, there was an outbreak of a drug-resistant pathogen in a Kentucky hospital  but it was not until 2018 that the CDC issued a report on the outbreak. And, of course, hospitals themselves have often "circled the wagons" when an outbreak occurs, looking into the infections themselves rather than sharing information more broadly. 

I completely understand wanting to limit public disclosure, especially in cases when public perception could be misinformed and reactive. Infection is complex and hospitals are often so big, they're like miniature cities, with outbreaks affecting a small minority of people.

But I do wonder whether the instinct to limit information about drug resistant infectious outbreaks within the medical community make sense. In fact, the tendency to limit information in this way is common in medicine, both at the level of the institution and at the level of the individual provider. We're under such immense pressure and scrutiny in the medical community  with such devastating consequences if mistakes are made  that many providers and organizations learn that it's better to keep information to yourself. The medical community often notices that "silos" keep excellent care, medical collaboration, and greater efficiency from happening  but the reality is that many of us have incentives to maintain those silos. So when an outbreak of an infection occurs, hospitals try to limit misinformation or panic  and in so doing, may limit information that could help other providers do care coordination or support them in solving the problem. 

I hope that hospitals are doing the best they possibly can to prevent outbreaks, as well as sharing information when the outbreaks occur. But I also know that all of us in medicine should learn to share information more freely, collaborate more effectively, and put our patients' care well above our own instinct to hide missteps or needs for support. And we hope that iClickCare can play a role in helping providers share information securely, safely, and without risking negative consequences. 

 

Try iClickCare for sharing information among the medical community members and within your medical team  safely and securely:  

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Tags: medical collaboration, care coordination

Care Coordination Failures Cause Long Term Care Transfer Issues

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Apr 11, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

martha-dominguez-de-gouveia-572638-unsplashFor the older people at Long Term Care facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, even small issues — like a simple fall — end up with a transfer to the emergency room. Those visits to the ER can often mean a hospital stay as well. And of course, hospital stays can cause backtracking for overall strength, wellness, dementia, and disease. The best case scenario  a visit to a doctor instead of a visit to an ER  can still mean bouncing from provider to provider, with a lot of stress and physical challenges along the way. 

But aren't these ER visits, hospital stays, and doctors' visits simply the necessary realities of life. New insights and ways of working point to innovative solutions to this Business As Usual problem. 

There are 30,000 assisted living facilities in the US. As the New York Times reports, “most assisted living facilities have no doctors on site or on call; only about half have nurses on staff or on call.”

That means that if an event happens  a virus, a fall, a concern about a worsening condition  it results in a transfer, doctor's appointment, or ER visit, the vast majority of the time. Of course, coordination of medical transfers, tests, appointments, and the like can be a huge challenge for any person — but throw in significant physical challenges and perhaps cognitive impairment and the challenges compound.

“The assisted living industry has to recognize that the model of residents going out to see their own doctors hasn’t worked for a long time,” said Christopher Laxton, executive director of The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine. “It’s an expensive, disruptive response to problems that often could be handled in the building, if health care professionals were more available to assess residents and provide treatment when needed.”

It's a way of caring for people that hurts the patient, the provider, the Long Term Care facility, and even the hospitals. Hospitals will stay away from sending their patients back to the community if they are afraid they’ll be readmitted within 30 days of discharge. And Long Term Care organizations may shy away from getting the right care for their residents if it often results in backsliding in their care. 

So what is the solution?

One solution has been to have a geriatrician on staff. But realistically, that doesn’t solve the problem. There will be myriad medical problems that fall outside of the expertise or time of that provider. 

There are two key things that need to happen:

  • Hospitals should partner with assisted living and nursing home facilities that have the means to do medical collaboration and prevent readmissions.
  • Long Term Care facilities must find ways to get the medical consults they need without putting their residents through the stress and danger of ER visits and bouncing among doctors’ appointments.

To facilitate those goals, though, hospitals, doctors, nurses, aides, and care providers at Long Term Care facilities need a platform to collaborate. The ideal scenario is that if a resident has a fall that isn't actually worrisome but could use "an extra pair of eyes,"  an aide can take a photo or video, consult with a trusted provider at a practice or hospital in the community, and keep the patient at home base until or unless a transfer is needed. It's good care in every way: it saves money, decreases readmissions, and ultimately supports the best possible health, wellness, and quality of life for the patient. It's a classic example, too, of why email or text messaging  in addition to not being HIPAA compliant  aren't nearly sufficient. In cases like this, whole teams are involved and cases need to by asynchronously collaborated on, over the span of time. A one-off question won't fit the bill. 

Care coordination and healthcare collaboration aren't a panacea. But I do believe that when it comes to Long Term Care, the impact of collaboration and coordination can be dramatic. 

 

If you're involved in Long Term Care, get our ebook on using telemedicine to improve care and make workflows more efficient:

 

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Tags: medical collaboration, long term care, healthcare collaboration, hippa secure healthcare collaboration

Medical Collaboration a Crucial Way to Prevent Malpractice Suits Involving Kids

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Apr 03, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

alexander-dummer-261098-unsplashBy the end of their career, nearly half of all doctors will be sued.

Any suit is gut-wrenching for a doctor. It means that not only was there an undesired patient outcome, but the relationship with the patient has broken down to such an extent, that a lawsuit has become the chosen path forward.

That said, medical malpractice lawsuits involving children are especially disturbing and concerning. No doctor wants a child to have less than perfect care — and the litigation process itself can be deeply painful for all involved. So I was really interested to notice a recent study that seems to point to a commonsense way of decreasing your risk of being involved in a malpractice suit involving a child.


recent study, by The Doctors Company, looked at 1,215 malpractice claims filed on behalf of pediatric patients, from 2008 through 2017. These claims spanned 52 specialities and subspecialties.

What’s fascinating isn’t so much the claims themselves, but rather the root causes, allegations, and factors of the malpractice suits. Many of the most common factors in the lawsuits actually boil down to poor communication and poor medical collaboration among providers.

3 crucial highlights of the medical malpractice study that boil down to bad medical collaboration:

  • Missed, failed, or wrong diagnoses were the main reason for lawsuits.
  • Poor communication between the physician and the patient or family was a factor in up to 22% of claims, depending on the age of the child.
  • System and collaboration failures, such as not notifying treating physicians of critical test results, was also a primary cause of patient injuries. 

 

No doctor wants to put their patients at risk. And no doctor wants to be sued. But the sad truth is that many doctors think they're "too busy" for medical collaboration -- even though in all three of the determinants of medical malpractice above, medical collaboration could have been preventative. 

It's easy to say "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" for our patients. But the ounce of prevention created by medical collaboration is worth far more than trying to "cure" a bad outcome or lawsuit once it has already occurred. 

 

Learn more about how easy and fast medical collaboration can be:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Medical Collaboration

Tags: medical collaboration, hybrid store and forward medical collaboration, healthcare collaboration

Vaccines and Autism Fears Demonstrate Demands on Telemedicine

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Mar 21, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

hyttalo-souza-1074680-unsplashFor many decades, we’ve thought about vaccines as a battle of science catching up with disease.

Conquering polio or measles was about finding the vaccine that would protect human bodies from those diseases, and then distributing those vaccines broadly enough to create immunity across the population.

However, there have been recent outbreaks of diseases that call into question this understanding. In places like the US and Europe, where the vaccines are established and the distribution is strong, we’ve seen a recent backsliding, with outbreaks of diseases like measles affecting communities. For instance, Washington State has had 71 cases of measles, just in the last few months.

So what are we to learn, as healthcare providers and leaders? And is there any way to win?

These outbreaks are of such concern, in fact, that there was a congressional hearing recently to explore the causes and potential fixes for these outbreaks.

Saad Omer, MBBS, MPH, PhD, from the Emory Vaccine Center, told the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that to battle new outbreaks, funding is needed not just for vaccines and research — but also for communication with the public about vaccines.

The biggest chink in the armor of our protection against these diseases is actually misinformation about vaccines, not limitations of the vaccines themselves. We all know about the concerns that boiled up in recent years about the supposed link between vaccines and autism. As Fierce Healthcare summarizes, “A paper published in The Lancet more than 20 years ago was long ago retracted after the author admitted to falsifying the information, but the concerns among many parents have persisted.”

This context shows clearly that in this case, protection against disease is about more than just science and treatment -- it's about the emotions, fears, and ideals of human beings. Whatever the science shows, if a mom believes the vaccine will cause autism, her child won't receive it. John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH, who is Washington's secretary of health said, “We need to be looking at how it is we get to the hearts and minds of people around vaccines and to not put science on the shelf."

 

 

Healthcare can't be distilled to a procedure, a recommendation, a scientific finding, or a single intervention. It's a messy, complex art that involves the hearts, minds, bodies, and social context. Which is exactly why healthcare collaboration can't just be secure text messages between two providers. It needs to allow the complex, long-term interactions of a whole medical team, across the continuum of care, and over time.

Hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine is a technology that supports this very human way of caring. And when the human context is respected -- it means that the science can succeed.

 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: medical collaboration, hybrid store and forward medical collaboration, healthcare collaboration

Dramatic Videoconferencing Screw-Up Brings Up Telemedicine Questions

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Mar 13, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

glenn-carstens-peters-210782-unsplashWe've all been blindsided by technology taking the place of a human, when and where it shouldn't. 

It's the labyrinthine customer service switchboard when we just want to ask a simple question of a real person. It's the app that sends us in circles when we really just want to pay a bill. 

But a recent technology screw-up touched a serious nerve for one family -- and even called into question whether and how telemedicine should be used. 

Mr. Ernest Quintana was in the hospital for the third time in 15 days, as the New York Times recently recounted. His lung cancer was beginning to get the best of him and he was struggling. His family remained hopeful, though, and they were all with him throughout the hospital stay. 

One afternoon, though, Mr. Quintana was surprised to find a machine with a video screen on it being wheeled into his room. With his granddaughter by his bedside, Mr. Quintana listened as a doctor in an undisclosed location, and whom he had never met, began to discuss his care. His surprise turned to sadness and dismay when the doctor shared that Mr. Quintana was likely not going to survive this hospital stay and prepared him for end-of-life care.

A prognosis of death is never easy news for a person or a family. But hearing the news from a doctor you have a relationship with, who brings compassion, presence, and leadership, can decrease the suffering and ease the way forward. In Mr. Quintana's case, the terrible news and challenging decisions were worsened by the impersonal and jarring way that they were broached. No one wants to have a conversation about death with a stranger on a video screen. 

So is this a condemnation of telemedicine? Of technology?

I don't think so. I believe that this sad turn of events simply points to positive and negative uses of telemedicine and positive and negative uses of technology. 

So many people default to videoconferencing as the go-to (or even default) form for telemedicine to take. We believe videoconferencing has severe limitations because it requires expensive hardware and circuitous scheduling coordination. Those are some of the reasons that we believe hybrid Store-and-Forward telemedicine is significantly more powerful of a tool.

But this story brings into focus an even more important and powerful reason that we believe telemedicine should be about team-based collaboration -- not videoconferencing between a doctor and a patient. When telemedicine is used for healthcare providers to collaborate among each other, the patient can interact primarily or exclusively with the providers that they have a relationship with -- and the "other opinions" on the team can be shared among the medical team. That way, the providers can be leaders, healers, and human beings FIRST -- but use telemedicine to consult with other people on the team as necessary, and without disruption to the care for that patient.

For instance, in Mr. Quintana's case, perhaps an outside opinion was necessary regarding his end-of-life care. But rather than that opinion being piped in through a video screen, we believe it would have been far better for his provider, obviously, to consult with the outside doctor -- and then have a conversation with Mr. Quintana in person, within the context of their existing relationship. 

Don't risk this kind of technology screw-up. Prioritize human relationships and let technology -- and telemedicine -- serve them. 

 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

 

 

Tags: medical collaboration, hybrid store and forward medical collaboration, healthcare collaboration

Healthcare Travel and Wait Times Are Bad - But is That Our Problem?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Mar 06, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

andrik-langfield-266832-unsplashMy daughter recently signed her new baby up as a patient at a pediatric practice and had to choose one of the doctors in the group. “Dr. Salno,” they said, “is great. But you have to wait at least an hour to see him, every time.” She ended up choosing another doctor in the practice.

Her experience isn’t uncommon — so many of the very best healthcare providers we know have long wait times in their offices or are frequently running behind. Is that a problem for healthcare, or is it simply part of the reality?

 

In our experiences as medical providers, there is sometimes a sense that long wait times, doctors who are hours behind, and extensive travel to get medical care are all just facts of life in medicine. And that makes sense — there is a shortage of providers, especially physicians, and every healthcare provider I know has far more work to do each day than time to do it in. For some of us, long wait times and long travel times are practically badges of honor, showing just how in demand our practice is. 

In fact, those travel and wait times are long, and aren't decreasing. A recent study by Altarum shows that “Despite significant investments in the United States [from 2006 to 2017] in improving access to health care through better insurance, the use of innovative delivery systems, and advances in digitizing health care records and automating administrative processes, travel and wait times show no discernable improvements.”  These dynamics haven't been improving in decades.

The place that I see travel times really come into play are for patients with complex, chronic, or even acute but serious conditions. According to the Altarum study, patients who reported their health as “poor”, spent an average 26.4 hours per month on healthcare. That time may be transiting from provider to provider, from appointment to appointment, in addition to actually accessing care. 

But is this time that patients spend a bad thing? Is it something that should be decreased? And further, are travel and wait times something that healthcare providers should concern themselves with, or is it someone else’s problem?

Long travel times may not seem like the healthcare provider's problem until we consider the health cost of that time. Of course, there is the element of lost productivity and wages. But even just focusing on health itself, I believe that spending so much time accessing healthcare, as well as transit and waiting, has a severe and negative impact on our patients' health. Time spent at home with loved ones, hours invested in hobbies, focus at work, and rest in our own beds are all crucial elements of healing from disease. Every hour that a patient spends in a waiting room or driving to yet another appointment detracts from this healing time. 

So what can healthcare providers do? Most importantly, we can try to understand our patients' lives, travel times, wait times, and recovery and see it as "our problem." We can use medical collaboration tools to loop in other providers' input without the patient needing to trek across the state to gain that input when a picture and a discussion is actually all that is required (and this is reimbursable). When tools like iClickCare exist, that use telemedicine to dramatically decrease transit and wait times, there is the opportunity for health to truly improve, because the patients are able to spend more time healing and less time transporting or waiting 

 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

 

Tags: hybrid store and forward medical collaboration, healthcare collaboration, medical collaboration tool

Why $5 of Supplies Can Prevent Thousands of Deaths

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Feb 28, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

phuong-tran-1248347-unsplashIf there is one thing we all agree on, it’s that healthcare is complex.

The health of any individual is, of course, complex — with thousands of variables in the matrix of health, illness, and healing. Further, healthcare itself is complex, with so many challenges and opportunities that it’s easy to lose hope that things can change or improve.

So it’s deeply heartening when we stumble across a healthcare initiative that is outrageously simple, but with profound results.

Recently, I stumbled across two healthcare interventions that are deeply effective but very, very simple.

First, a group of California hospitals implemented a simple post-hospital educational initiative to reduce MRSA infections. 2000 patients were given either education on preventing infections via hygiene or that education plus antiseptic for bathing, antiseptic mouthwash, and antibiotic nasal ointment. The results? MRSA infections came down by 30%, with the education-plus-supplies group showing the most improvement. No new technologies were pioneered; nothing expensive was implemented. Just a simple “care package” to send home with patients from the hospital.

Second, a Virginia VA hospital had its nurses spend extra minutes with patients plus spend $5 on a toothbrush and toothpaste to encourage patients to brush their teeth. The results? Non-ventilator cases of hospital-acquired pneumonia have decreased by 90%. So far, they estimate that they’ve saved 21 lives and reduced costs by $4.69 million. Pretty phenomenal results for something as simple as a toothbrush and a helping hand.

So is there anything that we can conclude from these two studies, other than celebrate the ingenuity of their pioneers? I think there is. 

2 Key Learnings From These Pioneering (But Simple!) Studies: 

  • Simple and inexpensive can be best. 
    One thing that we love about iClickCare is that it's a simple, inexpensive way to do telemedicine -- no expensive new hardware or computers or huge software implementations required. Sadly, some in healthcare believe that complexity is always better -- so they'd almost prefer a more expensive, more difficult product. But these studies are yet another proof point of how misguided that approach is. 
  • Real life trumps theory. 
    In both of these studies, the initiatives were thoughtful about the reality that patients would face as people receiving care (one in the hospital, and one after the hospital stay.) It's easy for us in healthcare to focus on the glamorous treatment -- like a sophisticated surgery -- and forget that something as simple as nasal ointment or tooth-brushing can save lives. Similarly, we believe it's crucial to collaborate across the continuum of care -- not just between specialists -- since often, aides or nurses or others on the team will have a more "real life" perspective that can help.

The bottom line? Don't be afraid to do what is right for your patients, even if it doesn't sound fancy. It's possible that the deeply un-fancy is what's going to save healthcare -- and save lives. 

 

For more stories of smart collaboration, download our Quick Guide:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Medical Collaboration

 

 

Tags: telehealth, healthcare collaboration

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