ClickCare Café

Doctors Face Life or Death Decisions — But We Undermine Them In Deciding

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Fri, Jul 05, 2019 @ 06:00 AM

matheus-ferrero-yfmjALh1S6s-unsplashIn recent years, some of healthcare has become more of an industrial, technician-oriented, conveyor belt model. The “glory days” (many of which weren’t so glorious) of gentleman doctors and their code of honor are definitely a thing of the past.

In some ways, the new world order — more democratic, more distributed across a team — in medicine works well. It helps contain costs. More providers across the continuum of care are able to make decisions and care for patients. People are able to be great doctors and have a sane personal life.

But sometimes we are reminded that there is something timeless and sacred about the relationship between a doctor and a patient. And that may just be something we need to honor more in today’s healthcare environment.

There is something timeless and sacred about the relationship between a doctor and a patient. There is also a sacred and unique relationship between a nurse and his patient; and between a caregiver or aide and her patient. They are all equally valuable, but the nature of each relationship is different. And there is something unique about the quiet, hallowed space between a doctor and the patients they have the ultimate responsibility to care for.

But in the ever-growing pursuit of a more democratic but also more “factory-style” medical system, healthcare has tried to gloss over the importance and primacy of that relationship. It’s tempting to argue that you can spread care out between an aide, a nurse, a Nurse Practitioner, with little “star appearances” by a doctor — and that nothing is lost. Or, similarly, that you can have a doctor provide telehealth in 4-minute video calls with people across the country… and that nothing is lost.

I think that the real risks and downsides of this approach becomes brutally clear in the most extreme care situations. For instance, dramatic news stories have come up recently that, in one way or another, touch on the role of the doctor as ally, guide, leader, and healer — not just as a technician. For instance:

These are all hot-button issues. And politically or ethically, you may have strong opinions about them. My point isn't which side you fall on each of these. My point is that in each situation, there is an extreme responsibility that the doctor has to collaborate with his/her patient and make a decision that is truly life or death. They're not situations where you can simply follow protocol. They're not situations where there's a single right answer. And they're not situations where a doctor can make a unilateral decision without truly understanding the patient and the patient's family. 

The truth is that, just as was true 200 years ago, doctors today have a grave responsibility to understand their patient — and act (as well as lead the patient to act) in a way that is truly in the patient's service. I believe that even as we keep an eye on costs, efficiencies, and teams — it's also fundamentally important that we honor the seriousness of the decisions that providers make with their patients. And that we support them — practically and emotionally -- in making them. That's where the role of medical collaboration comes in. It's not about 5-minute telemedicine videoconferencing. It's about helping doctors (and others across the continuum of care) in getting the collaboration and support they need to make the life-or-death decisions that they must make.

 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Medical Collaboration 

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, good medicine

How Telemedicine and Medical Collaboration Help Noncompliance

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Dec 06, 2017 @ 12:38 PM

matheus-ferrero-159633.jpgThe purpose of medical collaboration is to improve care.

Yes, it decreases costs. Yes, it has a highly positive ROI. Yes, it can cut provider burnout.

But ultimately, the true purpose is to care more effectively for our patients.

But whatever the care plan we devise — together — it doesn’t do anyone any good unless our patients comply with the treatment. Pills left unswallowed, visits left unmade, and wound care left undone won’t help our patients.

So I was really interested to read two recent studies looking at the issue of noncompliance.

The first, in JAMA, looks at a study that used behavioral strategies to improve the percentage of patients who took their post heart attack medicine. The researchers assigned 1500 people who had recently had a heart attack to two groups. One group received the usual care. The other got a pull-out-all-the-stops treatment to make sure they took their medication: electronic pill bottle with reminders from family and friends; cash rewards for taking the medication; help from assigned staff, etc.

The results were sobering, really. The group with the pull-out-all-the-stops treatment were hospitalized at the same rate as the other group, they incurred the same costs — and they even took their pills at exactly the same rate as the other group.

Reading a study like this, it would be easy to throw up one’s hands and declare that you really can’t help some people — and that noncompliance simply isn’t something you can affect.

But then I ran across a second study. As the New York Times reports, “Getting women into medical care when they are only a few months pregnant is a top priority of public health officials, because simple interventions often save the lives of both mother and child.” But in Uganda, many rural women don’t go to the doctor before delivery, as it is seen as a waste of time. (And, presumably, money.) A smart group of providers set up an initiative to advertise prenatal care, specifically highlighting that through ultrasounds; women would be able to see pictures of their unborn baby. The results? 6 times as many women showed up than when ultrasounds were not advertised.

The contrast of the two studies validates something that I believe to be true: to develop a care plan or compliance approach, we need to start by understanding the experience and motivations of the people we are caring for. The simple ultrasound approach seems to have come from a deep understanding of the Ugandan mothers — not simply from the logic of a healthcare provider. The heart attack study, on the other hand, may have sounded like a great solution but seems not to be rooted in a real understanding of why heart attack survivors choose not to take their medication. Perhaps it’s not a lack of motivation or forgetfulness, but depression. Or despair. Or not truly understanding the course of treatment. In any of those cases, the pull-out-all-the-stops treatment really wouldn’t be a true treatment, regardless.

One of the things I love the most about iClickCare is that it brings the humanity back to medicine. I’m no longer treating a patient (one in a long list of them). I’m treating a person. And I’m no longer getting a voicemail from a faceless provider; I’m collaborating with a friend and colleague. I believe that this kind of medical collaboration can help us truly understand our patients and truly understand our colleagues. That way, when we act, when we prescribe, and when we intervene, we do so from a place of strength and a place of understanding.

Try iClickCare to improve care in your practice, for free:

Try the iClickCare 14-day evaluation

 

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, healthcare collaboration

Why HIPAA Secure Healthcare Collaboration Is So Crucial to Providers' Survival

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 @ 06:00 AM

rawpixel-com-255080.jpgHealthcare providers tend to feel like they're being pulled in five directions at once.

We're supposed to improve patient satisfaction, use the new EMR/EHR more meaningfully (read: spend more time on the computer), connect deeply with each patient, and increase productivity.

No wonder most of us are burnt out.

Similarly, there are two dramatic trends that are pulling in opposite directions for healthcare -- and unless they use tools to reconcile them, providers are the ones who will feel, even more, torn apart.

I came across an article recently -- published by the consulting megalith McKinsey -- looking at how industries are beginning to change shape. The future, the article argues, will be made up of industries without borders, in which sectors and company lines become more fluid, and the organizations that collaborate best, win. 

I don't naturally apply learning from the business world directly to medicine because I believe medicine is unique. It's not an "industry" in the real sense of the word. It's an art, a calling, a science. 

But the business world is often the first to identify trends, as their profit motive drives them to identify changes before they are blindsided by them. And the changes predicted in the McKinsey piece seem to herald changes that are very much afoot in medicine as well. 

The general idea is that moving forward, organizations will need to collaborate more with each other, share data, and rethink how they draw the lines around what they do.

Current examples of this happening are like Amazon (sells consumer goods, providers digital content, and does logistics -- all in one company) or Apple. McKinsey argues that these blurry lines are just the beginning of what's to come. These shifts are in the works for a few reasons:

  • Technology makes it easier for communication to happen.
  • Customer (or patient) expectations have shifted. In the past, it was acceptable to tell a patient that you had no way to see their chart from another provider. In the future, this will become untenable.
  • Regulatory shifts demand it. In medicine, shifts away from fee-for-service models mean that we can no longer just provide our narrow service and expect to survive. We're expected to manage costs, readmissions, length of stay, and ultimate outcomes from the work we do.

McKinsey says, "As the approaching contest plays out, we believe an increasing number of industries will converge under newer, broader, and more dynamic alignments: digital ecosystems... This new environment will play out by new rules, require different capabilities, and rely to an extraordinary extent upon data."

I believe that we will see a similar dynamic in medicine moving forward. The lines among functions, sectors, and hospital systems are blurring. That's why we see this demand for coordination. We're no longer in a fee-for-service world. Instead, care coordination is explicitly our job, we're held responsible for outcomes and results, and the teams we work on are becoming broader and more complex.

But hospital systems and healthcare providers are not equipped to handle these dynamics. In fact, healthcare has spent the last 20 years moving in the exact opposite direction. We've seen huge consolidation, in which insurance companies become more powerful, hospital systems grow larger, and the siloes we work in become evermore separate. We're asked to become piecework laborers, keeping our head down and performing the task for which we are specialized.

It is more necessary than ever to collaborate and coordinate care but it is also harder than ever because we are separated in the work that we do. That's why healthcare providers feel so torn and overworked; they are being tugged by both of these forces simultaneously. 

We believe that the only resolution of this dynamic is to use tools, like iClickCare to collaborate and communicate within the current medical structure. The demands on you to do healthcare collaboration (HIPAA securely of course) are only going to increase as the lines, among organizations and sectors within medicine, blur. But you won't necessarily be given the tools to do those things. That's why iClickCare is available at the enterprise level or at the individual level -- we believe that in any given organization, it may be the administration or it may be the individual providers that truly chart the course forward amidst these competing demands. 

As Bill Gates is quoted as saying, "I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.”

It's an exciting time, for sure -- but only if we're equipped with the proper tools. 

 

Try the iClickCare 14-day evaluation

Tags: telemedicine, HIPAA, regulatory issues

Why Medical Collaboration is the Real Hero of Value-Based Care

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 @ 06:01 AM

brooke-lark-229136.jpg

As a surgeon, I was certainly trained in a culture of respect for high-impact, high-sophistication interventions, like specialized surgeries.

That said, I was also taught that prepping your own patient for surgery, even down to preparing the surgical area with drapes, and checking on your patient frequently in the hours and days after surgery, are equally important. I was taught, too, that every single person on the care team is equally important — and each person on the team may mean the difference between life and death.

I think that the concept of specialized surgery being lauded above all, was winning for a couple of decades. It’s the concept of “only the best for my loved one” and “we took him to the Mayo Clinic” along with respect for research institutions (rather than community hospitals.) The fee-for-service approach certainly played into this swing. If hospitals are paid most for the most sophisticated, high-intervention care, it’s likely that the trend will be toward that approach.

A further consequence of this previous focus is that when specialized interventions are what matters, it’s the specialist who is valued above all. In that context, the team only exists to support the specialist.

Recently, however, the focus on outcomes-based or value-based care has meant that this high-intervention approach is being called into question.

For instance, two new programs spotlight simple, holistic approaches. This program created a teaching kitchen right next door to the pediatrician’s office, showing families how to improve their nutrition through cooking lessons. And this program reduced readmissions by 27%, cut hospital stays by two days, and saved $3800 per patient — all with a simple $36-per-person nutrition program. In a value-based, fee-for-performance, setting, these types of inexpensive, “unsophisticated” programs may have a bigger effect — and certainly a higher ROI — than the dramatic interventions.

In this context, and with programs like this, medical collaboration becomes the lynchpin. When we are looking at slightly “softer” interventions — like nutrition — everyone from the teacher to the aide to the specialist to the pediatrician to the nutritionist are equally important in the care plan. And those individuals must have the tools to collaborate or the interventions won’t be orchestrated among the providers.

iClickCare has always been oriented toward this kind of holistic, value-based approach. In fact, we started in a school-based health center setting, in which what mattered most was getting students healthy and back to class as efficiently as possible. We created the app to facilitate collaboration among specialists, a pediatrician, and the school-based nurses caring for students. It was holistic, it was team-based, and it was focused on outcomes. In other words -- we had the same values that the future of medicine will. 

If medical collaboration is part of your value-based care strategy, download our free medical collaboration quick guide:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Medical Collaboration

 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, value based care

2 Key Concerns for Telehealth in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Aug 01, 2017 @ 06:01 AM

damian-zaleski-843.jpgRecently, I’ve been coming across more data that solutions like iClickCare in an SNF or Long Term Care setting can be transformative. We know it from our colleagues that use iClickCare in these settings, but the studies are helpful in providing context and ROI.

For instance, this author at the University of Arizona says, "Telemedicine offers great promise as a strategy to reduce the skilled nursing/emergency department loop." And this study looks at the dramatic impact telemedicine can have on hospitalizations from SNFs and the cost savings that accompany this shift.

But we identify two key blind spots that these programs have -- which can have unintended negative consequences for the well-intended telemedicine programs.

In both articles, the author is assuming that telemedicine in the SNF context looks like a doctor virtually "seeing" a patient in an SNF, after hours. 

No doubt about it, these initiatives are being shown to have strong positive consequences for hospitalizations and costs. For instance, this study finds that "after the introduction of the telemedicine service, hospitalization rates declined 9.7 percent among the intervention facilities" and there resulted $120,000 in net cost savings.

On one hand, we applaud these SNFs for their use of telemedicine and for trying something new. But we see two big blind spots in this program -- so if you're considering a telehealth solution in your program, we encourage you to keep two considerations front-of-mind:

  • Does it depend on busy providers always being available?
    One key problem with the telemedicine program described above is that it depends on the consulting provider being available at the time of the consult. During after-hour periods, this becomes increasingly difficult. We all know how challenging playing "phone tag" with other providers can be. Playing "video conference tag" is even worse. If you're implementing a telemedicine program at an SNF, we encourage you to look for a solution that is asynchronous, which allows providers to consult on their schedule.

  • Does it improve or worsen care coordination?
    If a provider is giving a video-based consult after-hours, it's likely that the content of the consult will be difficult to integrate into the rest of the patient's care. Certainly, an additional provider can be available to document the findings in an EMR/EHR, but this requires yet more providers available at the time of the consult. That's why we believe that a telemedicine solution must facilitate the medical collaboration that needs to occur -- with one provider asking another for a consult, not a patient wrangling a doctor via FaceTime -- and that that consult must be saved and available for every other member of the medical team. In a context where the patient's issues are simple and not chronic, a one-off video consult could work well. But for the complex, often chronic issues found in most SNFs, we think that a hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine solution is the only adequate approach.

There is a really wide range of telehealth solutions becoming available. The use of them, especially in Long Term Care or Skilled Nursing Facilities can be transformative. But don't be afraid to demand a solution that will work for the patient in a more holistic way.

If you're investigating telehealth for your facility, download our free guide to hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine:

 

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

 

 

Photo by Damian Zaleski on Unsplash

Tags: telemedicine, healthcare collaboration, telehealth in skilled nursing facilities

The Key Ingredient in Using Telemedicine in a LTC/SNF Setting

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 @ 06:01 AM

takahiro-sakamoto-181476.jpg

At New York Presbyterian, the COO is taking on "respect."

The NEJM Catalyst published an interview with Dr. Laura Forese, who spoke about their new initiative. Their big goal was to cultivate teamwork across the continuum of care, and in surveying the clinicians and non-clinicians at their hospital, they kept hearing that individuals felt like respect was the missing ingredient to their teamwork. So the hospital, under Forese's direction, has been taking action to try to cultivate more respect across the hospital. The intention is certainly there. But when pushed for examples of how they are cultivating respect in the hospital, Dr. Forese gave one primary example: posting a respect credo throughout the hallways.

Many medical providers just gave a little internal eye-roll.

Sometimes it seems like administrators' primary strategy when it comes to almost anything is posting more signs. Not more training, not better tools, not more support, not refined processes -- more signs. 

I certainly agree with New York Presbyterian's goal. Teamwork in any setting is crucial, but in Long Term Care and Skilled Nursing Facilities (LTC/SNFs), teamwork is a matter of life and death on a moment to moment basis. Especially critical, the "team" in a LTC/SNF setting often includes providers across a broader continuum of care than in other settings -- aides, orderlies, housekeepers, families, PT, OT, specialists... the list goes on. 

What I don't agree with is New York Presbyterian's "too easy" approach to such an important topic.

So if the goal of improving teamwork, care coordination, and respect in LTC/SNF settings is valid, then what is the best approach to cultivate that?

We believe there is one key ingredient in improving teamwork in Long Term Care and Skilled Nursing Facility settings: working as a team.

Yes, it really is that simple, but it's not always easy. We get better at running, the more we run. We get better at surgery the more operations we do. And we respect each other more, and function better in care coordination and medical collaboration, when we work together as a team. 

That is precisely the impetus behind iClickCare. We believe that teamwork and collaboration has to be made efficient, fun, effortless, and efficient for healthcare providers to do it. It has to use technology that teams already have, and it has to include every care provider (even non-clinicians, when appropriate). Period.

The best way to improve teamwork is by working together as a team. And the best way to get providers and non-clinicians across your facility to work as a team is to give them the tools to do it in the course of their regular day. Everyone wants to show their colleagues respect -- the important thing is removing obstacles to that, not lecturing about its importance via laminated credos.

If you want to see examples of how telemedicine can drastically improve teamwork in a LTC/SNF setting, click here:

Transforming Long Term Care Through Telemedicine

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, long term care, care coordination, skilled nursing facility, LTC/SNF

The Two Surprising Factors in Health IT Adoption

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, May 25, 2017 @ 06:03 AM

mitchell-hollander-205952.jpg75% of healthcare providers in the US agree that the adoption of Health IT is crucial to the future of health. But the adoption of Health IT lags behind this vision.

Why?  Well, The Future of Health Index report by Philips identified two central issues holding back Health IT adoption in the US.

The factors they identified resonated greatly with us at ClickCare, both as barriers that we see to telemedicine and to healthcare collaboration adoption -- as well as being core design principles in how we created iClickCare.

The two factors identified in the report as key to Health IT adoption are time and trust.

When it comes to TIME, Health IT has to be thoughtful about saving providers time within their existing workflow. “We’re focused on technology restoring time to the doctor, the nurse or the caregiver so they can use that time to interact with the patient,” Brian Donley, M.D., chief of staff at the Cleveland Clinic told FierceHealthcare.

Specifically, most health systems are skeptical about technologies that become burdensome for providers, rather than improving their workflow and integrating with the patient interaction. This is why iClickCare is built to work on iPhones, and fit with the existing workflow and technology of providers -- not create the scheduling fiascos of video conferencing or requiring expensive, time-consuming-to-learn hardware.

TRUST is the other key to Health IT adoption that the report identified. "I think we’re not there yet on the trusting relationships that have to be built to develop better partnerships among the patients, among the industry, among the payers and that disruptive innovator,” Donley said to Fierce Healthcare.

We've found the same to be true with iClickCare -- that collaboration and trust across the continuum of care are fundamental to telemedicine adoption. Where it exists, innovation thrives. That said, we've also found that using iClickCare can actually increase trust among providers -- increased communication and coordination starts to take down barriers to real collaboration.

Time and trust are two things that every provider is aware of and feels are scarce in today's medical context -- and our mission at ClickCare is to cultivate both through healthcare collaboration. These twi things are too precious to ignore.

You can experiment with iClickCare even as a single provider. Get a free trial today:

Signup for an iClickCare Account

 

Tags: telemedicine, healthcare collaboration

What Aging In Place and Telemedicine Have In Common

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, May 23, 2017 @ 06:04 AM

dan-gold-224245.jpgAs the Baby Boomer population gets older, many in this independent generation are prioritizing Aging in Place. It's more and more common to want to remain at home, with necessary accommodations and supports, rather than spending years in an Assisted Living or Long Term Care facility. 

Most of us can certainly understand the reasons behind wanting to be at home as we retire and get older. But what may not be as obvious are the many changes a home would need to be an adequate place for people with mobility issues or other impairments.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard identifies three things that suitable houses for Aging in Place will need: step-less entrances, single-floor living, and wide hallways and doorways for wheelchair use.  

Less than 4% of all US homes meet these requirements. 

A recent article in the New York Times looked at the movements and initiatives to try to meet these challenges, creating the conditions for older people to stay in their homes successfully, even with decreased mobility.

For instance, the National Association of Home Builders now has a program so that contractors can become Certified Aging in Place Specialists, or CAPS. CAPS practitioners include contractors, occupational therapists, and interior designers -- and often work in projects involving all three. 

These principles that allow folks to stay in their homes as they age, highlight components of healthcare that we think are key to the modern age of health -- and key to any telemedicine project -- but are often undervalued or underrecognized. Interestingly, these Aging in Place projects are often excellent places where telemedicine can be used successfully -- but in this post, we're interested in looking at what the two movements have in common, in themselves.

4 things Aging in Place and telemedicine have in common:

  • People demand more for themselves than just disease prevention.
    The Aging in Place movement is about health and quality of life, not just treating disease. This is increasingly the perspective of so many Americans and it fits well with pay-for-performance rather than pay-for-service models. Similarly, healthcare collaboration using telemedicine is about more than just treating disease -- it's about providing excellent care, for the whole patient, taking into account their life context and other needs.
  • Modern solutions involve multiple professional perspectives.
    According to the New York Times, the most successful adaptation solutions came from the work of occupational therapists collaborating with builders. Their complementary skillsets created the most practical solutions. Of course, telemedicine-based care coordination facilitates this kind of collaboration across the medical system -- with the most practical solutions as outcomes.
  • Key improvements don’t have to be expensive.
    So many of the Aging in Place modifications can be accomplished for just hundreds of dollars. In healthcare, as costs balloon, we get used to "if it's more expensive, it's probably better" models. Low-cost telemedicine implementations, that don't require expensive hardware, are more proof that key improvements don't always cost more.
  • Good design is good design.
    One of the key tenants in the Aging in Place model is that good design for older people is actually just good design for all people (usually termed "universal design.") For instance, the ramp for a wheelchair is also better for the mom pushing a stroller full of kids and groceries. This is one of the foundactions of iClickCare's design -- it's made to be so easy to use that everyone, even providers that are rushed or at different levels of training, can benefit from it without a lot of stress. 

We applaud each and every one of the CAPS graduates and look forward to seeing more results of their work. We're proud to be on the journey with them. 

For more about hybrid store-and-forward telemedicine, get our free Quick Guide:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Hybrid Store-and-Forward

Tags: telemedicine, long term care, care coordination, healthcare collaboration, aging in place

Why Better Care Is Sometimes Cheaper Care

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 05:03 AM

money-1.jpgCommon sense tells us that there is a direct relationship between the cost of something and the quality of it.

A $2,000 junker simply isn't as reliable as a $15,000 car. And despite some experience to the contrary, we often assume the same is true in medicine. We often figure better care is simply more expensive.

But common sense can sometimes fail us when it comes to money, or to health. It's better care to avoid a readmission, and it saves money across the system. It's better care for the patient to go to fewer (but more impactful) visits, and it saves money across the system.

And recently, we came across one particularly striking example of a better treatment that is also the less expensive course of care.

The New York Times did a thoughtful review of literature showing that "the overwhelming majority [of knee replacement patients] recover equally well and may experience fewer complications if they go home directly from the hospital and get outpatient rehabilitation instead of spending days or weeks in a costly rehab facility."

The issue is that the category of care that is BOTH cheaper AND better is a category of care that requires sophisticated care coordination. 

When double knee replacement patients go home instead of going to a rehab facility, they only do better IF they have prepared their home and made the accommodations in their lives to have the physical space and the support they need -- and if their medical providers have the tools to collaborate with each other and with the patient in the case of any issues, complications, or backsliding.

We tend to believe that the "simple" way to make sure providers are in touch is to have the patient stay in the rehab facility. That way there are eyes on the patient, and we think providers are talking to each other. But the proof is beginning to pile up that the "get them in the building" approach doesn't improve outcomes, doesn't actually improve healthcare collaboration, and certainly doesn't keep costs contained. It's a vestige of our old healthcare system -- and we providers deserve better and our patients deserve better.

There are more and more rewards for providing care that gets the best results and is also cost-efficient. But we need to have the healthcare collaboration and care coordination tools in place to make it possible.

Curious about using telemedicine to improve care and bring costs down? Get our Quick Guide to the options here:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Telemedicine

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, care coordination, healthcare collaboration

What that Fearless Girl Can Teach Us About Telemedicine

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 @ 04:14 PM

fearlessgirl.jpg

The other day, March 8th was International Women's Day. We certainly paused as the day came and went, since so many of the healthcare providers most crucial to the healthcare system are women -- across the continuum of care.

As I closed my computer for the day, though, an image caught my eye. It was a statue of a young girl, facing one of the most famous sculptures in the country -- the Wall Street bull. The statue itself was striking -- the little girl had the strength and quiet joy that remind me of my granddaughter. The location, of course, is also incredible -- to be facing down the iconic bull on the busiest corner on Wall Street. It prompted a lot of questions for me. What did the little girl symbolize? Was she stopped the Wall Street bull or engaging him? And where did the statue come from?

It's not until I dug into the story behind the statue, though, that I really appreciated what I was seeing. The sculpture was created by artist Kristen Visbal, but it turns out that the statue wasn't placed there by a rogue artist. It was commissioned by the world's third-largest asset manager, State Street Global Advisors. State Street manages some $2.5 trillion in assets and is trying to influence more companies into adding women to their boards. Not only that, as Business Insider reports, their "money manager said it would vote against boards if a company failed to take steps to increase its number of members who are women. State Street plans to send a letter to 3,500 companies on Tuesday asking the companies to act."

What intrigued me about this initiative wasn't so much the content of it. What intrigued me is that one of the largest organizations in one of the most entrenched and mercenary systems in the world -- Wall Street -- is taking a stand on an issue in a powerful, impactful, and creative way. So many providers and hospital systems in medicine say that they can't do what they know is right because of the content they work in. "It's the system," they say, "It's just how it is. But State Street is quite literally taking on the system, and they're risking real capital to take a stand on something that some feel is "idealistic" but they see as core to their business.

We found some dramatic learnings for healthcare collaboration, telemedicine, and medicine in general in this story:

Those at the top have to risk their capital for the larger good. State Street has a lot to lose, but they're willing to risk it. So many of our most established hospital systems and providers are unwilling to risk their social and financial capital now that they've arrived. But the system will never change if those with the most ability to influence the system don't act.

We need diverse teams. As Ron O’Hanley, CEO of State Street Global Advisors, said, "creating diverse boards results in better governance." The reason that State Street wants to improve gender diversity on boards is because companies with gender-diverse boards perform better. We've always said that none of us is as smart as all of us. And the team of "all of us" is smarter when we include diverse opinions, across the continuum of care. (Our addendum: those diverse teams also need a tool that supports them in working together, or the team can't function in the first place.)

What sounds idealistic is often deeply practical. Working together, doing healthcare collaboration, developing teams, and improving medicine with iClickCare may sound idealistic. And it is. But it is also deeply, powerfully practical -- the providers and teams that use iClickCare drop costs, decrease length of stay and readmissions, and dramatically improve care. They do good and do well at the same time.

Whether we're Wall Street folks or healthcare providers; doctors or nurses; men or women; a little girl or a strong bull -- we can stand tall in our strength, act on behalf of what we know is right, and feel the pride that comes from that.

To read more stories of courageous and powerful people doing telemedicine, get our quick guide:

ClickCare Quick Guide to Telemedicine

 

Photo of the Fearless Girl statue by dnorton on Flickr, used under Creative Commons rights. Statue by Kristen Visbal.

Tags: telemedicine, medical collaboration, healthcare collaboration

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