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I am excited about an upcoming celebration. In an earlier Hospital Impact blog post I shared the story of leaving the closing moments of Patient Experience Conference 2013 to witness my son's birth. The powerful juxtaposition of perspective that situation provided--transitioning from an advocate for unparalleled experience to a recipient of one--is now woven into who I am.
It also taught me a practical and valuable lesson on the importance of all who impact the patient experience each and every day. And while I anticipate celebrating my son's first birthday just a few days from now, there is another celebration I anxiously await.
In just more than 10 days, the first Patient Experience Week will be begin. This idea, generated by members of The Beryl Institute community, will take place in healthcare organizations around the world. What is significant here is the opportunity it represents. As a family member at the bedside, I saw first hand how an extensive collection of individuals from admissions to food service, clinicians to housekeepers, impacted my family's experience.
You see, anyone who impacts the lives of an individual in the healthcare system across the continuum from clinic settings, to inpatient facilities, to long term care, home health and beyond, plays a significant role. It reinforces the critical point that "we are all the patient experience."
Things always change in the world of social media and sometimes it's hard to keep up. Recently, two things cropped up that deserve more attention than others.
The big news last week was the security breach dubbed the "Heartbleed" encryption bug, because, well, it's just so bad. It leaves users of many sites (not only social media) vulnerable to security breaches. Hospitals using social media should check which sites updated and change passwords accordingly, but don't do it unless the site was actually updated with a patch.
So how do you know if you should update your password or not? This Mashable story has info on major sites. Also, this website will check domains for you to see if it's safe to change your password. I recently received an email from Pinterest that we should change the passwords on our accounts, which was nice. But don't expect that from every site. I'd recommend doing your homework and responding appropriately when you know a site has been updated.
For decades, hospitals nationwide operated on a fairly straightforward business model--treat patients and charge them for those services; subtract expenses and you have a solid operating margin. If the margin is too narrow or in the red, treat more people or charge them more for your services.
While this was a long-time successful business plan, it's now headed the way of the dodo bird. Hospital care in the 21st century is not that simple. Medical bill payers, including Medicare and some of the country's largest insurance companies, push for providers to reduce costs. But there's a danger in doing that. Does reducing costs mean the quality of care also will go down?
Put another way: Can hospitals care for patients more cheaply without sacrificing their commitment to top-notch care?
The short answer is yes. But the path to cheaper, better care is complicated. And the hospital community is only now beginning to understand how to get there.
"Maybe I should premedicate, too," a CEO of a Western community hospital said to me the night before I presented the data on 27 interviews of her medical and nursing staff.
A little context is in order:
by Lynn McVey
Chuck Lauer is a former healthcare news publisher turned author and public speaker. I don't know his age, but he talks like my dad; a man from the "greatest generation." Men who pledge humanity, integrity, honesty and service. Men who make an effort to locate the owner of a lost $5 bill--like my dad.
Lauer's response to healthcare reform challenges, printed last month in Becker's Hospital Review, is huge. When he read the American College of Healthcare Executive's (ACHE) report that hospital CEO turnover grew to 20 percent in 2013, the highest rate since 1981, his reaction was like a slap in the face.
He said, "The CEO post is a pressure cooker. All that's true, but I and a number of other observers think the data reflect a lack of will and commitment. Faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to overcome silos, inefficiencies and quality problems plaguing American hospitals, more and more CEOs are making a beeline for the exit, hefty retirement packages in arm." Ouch.
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