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When hospital CEOs issue clinical directives, healthcare suffers

October 1st, 2015

by Thomas Dahlborg

“If there is a surgical intervention option as well as another treatment option available, make sure you go the surgical route.”

“Are you serious, Jim?” I responded. “The CEO of your hospital said this to your new podiatric surgeon?”

“Yes. We had recently brought on this podiatric surgeon and the hospital CEO made it very clear to him early on that the expectation is increased numbers of surgeries and if, in fact, there are multiple treatment options the surgical option overrides all others.”

“So a hospital administrator is now making specific healthcare decisions for the patients, families and clinicians at your hospital?”

“That’s exactly right. It is shameful, it is harmful and it is wrong. And yet it is happening.”

This is an excerpt from a recent discussion I had with a former rural hospital medical director and current quality improvement expert. And, unfortunately, even though I want to say I am surprised, I am not, as I have heard similar type stories quite frequently. Such as the hospital CEO (who is also a physician) telling me directly that quality of care was not his highest priority because he was focusing on the financial health of his institution.

=> Read more!

Actions speak louder than words: How mHealth is moving beyond patient engagement and improving patient care

October 1st, 2015

by Jenn Riggle

My mom always told me actions speak louder than words. The same is true with mobile health (mHealth). While health and fitness apps are helping people track the number of steps they take, mHealth’s real promise lies in its ability to provide people with tools to share their health information with their doctors and take a more active role in managing their health.

Increasing awareness about the dangers of living a sedentary lifestyle has helped drive the growing interest in health and fitness apps. Today, there are nearly 165,000 health apps available on iOS and Android, and one-third of U.S. smartphone users (46 million people) have used fitness and health apps, according to research from Nielsen.

The question is: How useful are these apps? A recent study from research firm IMS Health reported that only 36 apps represent nearly 50 percent of all downloads. In addition, of the thousands of health apps available, only 10 percent were designed to link to a medical device or sensor and 2 percent can connect to electronic health records or other IT systems used by providers.

=> Read more!

Patient-centric strategy a shift in the right direction for ONC

October 1st, 2015

by Dan Bowman

There's an old proverb that says if a man is taught to fish, he'll never go hungry.

To that end, listening back to testimony delivered by Intel's Eric Dishman and others last week at a Senate committee hearing on improving consumer access to electronic health records, it's clear that the Office of the National Coordinator's decision to focus more on the patient in its updated federal health IT strategy is the right one.

Dishman, a cancer survivor, discussed the struggle to have his voice heard among all of his doctors, despite technological advancements that should make such a process easier.

"Moving to the paradigm of coordinated care teams where patients are part of it--this is hard," Dishman said. "I had to actually fight to be a bona fide member of my care team."

That's what makes the shift by ONC so important. ONC saying that its efforts will be more patient-centric than program-centric is more than just rhetoric; it seems to be an acknowledgment that, no matter how many new tools are developed, both providers and patients together must figure out the most appropriate manner in which to leverage them.

>>Read the full commentary at FierceHealthIT

How healthcare leaders can drive change during an acquisition

September 24th, 2015

by Darlene A. Cunha

For the past several months, I have been on the ground preparing an organization for acquisition. As with any acquisition, a delicate balance must be maintained between the current staff and those on site from the impending new ownership.

Since we don’t actually own the hospital at this point, we are acting in more of a consultant role yet responsible for strategies that will drive the bottom line. Having bridged this healthcare chasm before, I know successful transitions require four steps during the “acquisition” phase, with each one equally important:

1. Build a strong executive presence: The first impression is important, so make it count! No one likes a helicopter leader--one who swoops in, quickly deduces what’s wrong and puts a plan in place without input from the folks on the ground. We have all been there. You know the type, the leader who doesn’t take the time to get to know the team, but instinctively knows what’s best. Nothing is more important than that first impression. You may have heard it referred to as an executive presence. Be authentic, sincere and committed to providing true leadership. You must be approachable and lead by example.

=> Read more!

Behavioral economics provides clues for how to engage physicians

September 24th, 2015

by Kent Bottles

Hospital executives are struggling with how to engage physicians in order to respond to the Affordable Care Act and the evolving transition from fee-for-service to value-based payment programs. As more and more private practitioners are becoming employees of integrated delivery systems, it is becoming quite clear that what made physicians successful in the past will not work in the transformed clinical delivery system. The rules have changed, but many physicians have not.

The field of behavioral economics offers suggestions that can be used to more effectively engage physicians in behaviors that will benefit both the individual physician and the system where he or she practices.

=> Read more!

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