Finishing Out the Decade in Healthcare Issues

Technology is Only Part of the Solution

Technology is Only Part of the Solution

Futurism and how to pay for it dominate the discussions about healthcare delivery closing out the second decade of the 21st century. Biomed and biotech advances are coming on line at a rapid pace, while the methods to pay for them and deliver them to the public are stuck in a tenacious web of political and theological bafflegab, ennui, and archaic bureaucratic insouciance.

Healthcare and medicine are on the brink of another historical milestone, i.e., a revolution in longevity. Babies born today are likely to live healthy lives into their hundreds. Public Health England data predict life expectancy of schoolgirls is now greater than 100 years. Women living in more than half the districts of England are expected to live beyond 90. Male life expectancy already exceeds that of women. Continue reading

Shopping is Therapeutic so Make Hospital Visits Shopping Experiences

Anyone visiting hospitals sees the proverbial gift shops. They are usually tucked away in 750 square feet of space in a corner juxtaposed to visitors’ elevators. They are the ultimate in impulse buying—candy, magazines, flowers, balloons, greeting cards, toys for kids, and plush items. Nobody feels comfortable walking into a patient room empty-handed.

Gift shop buying fulfills the need of visitors to soften the angst about visiting the sick, share in the joy of birth, and fill the empty hand with a blessing of friendship and sign of empathy. Volunteers staff most gift shops with profits donated to some institutional need or needy patient. Volunteers are frequently retirees being given the opportunity to feel engaged and productive. Continue reading

Ambulance Services Have No Advocates

Ambulance Services are All Too Often Orphans at the Budget Table

Ambulance Services are Often Orphans at the Budget Table

Value-adding services that keep home prices high include good public schools, high numbers of family-occupied single family homes, clean streets and parks, easy access to hospitals and doctors, police protection, shopping, religious institutions, and efficient ambulance services.

Ambulance services are frequently treated like the red-headed stepchild in city planning—until someone needs one. Emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics are usually firemen in suburbs and small cities; they are first responders on scene and call for transport backup if sending an injured or sick person to the hospital. I was in a very bad car accident years ago in a rural area of Illinois. The firemen attended to my injuries and then called the local undertaker to transport me in his hearse to a local doctor. Continue reading

Communications Breakdowns Threaten Patient Safety

Medical technology Can Now Deliver Critical Information Directly to You

Medical Technology Can Now Deliver Critical Information Directly to You

The real estate business is all about location, location, location. In health care it’s about communication, where breakdowns threaten patient safety. Facilities are relying more on sophisticated technology and mobile devices to improve the speed and accuracy of information flow and workforce communications in situations of time-critical urgency.

Tight budgets mean staff cuts. Nursing homes and hospitals with reductions in permanent support staff fill positions on an as-need basis to maintain the required staff-to-patient ratios. The workload is heavier and response times delayed. Technology has the advantage of transmitting alterations in patient status in real time, letting caregivers prioritize responses to patients’ needs for service. Continue reading

Risks and Rewards of Telemedicine

Telehealth Services are expanding, Requiring a Plan to Meet Professional and Community Stake Holders

Telehealth Services are expanding, Requiring a Plan to Meet Professional and Community Stake Holders

The World Health Organization now recognizes e-health as the oeuvre, the encompassing name, given to harnessing virtual exchange of health and medical information and communication (ICT). Included, for example, are virtual clinical patient treatment and surgery, research, health-care coaching and education, new technology training, sharing biomedical and health services research, tracking diseases, and monitoring public health.

E-health is supported by telehealthcare, teledetailing, and telemedicine made possible by the advent of smart mobile devices. Using virtual ICT provides access to care for patients in rural communities, urban medical deserts, prisons, refugee and juvenile detention facilities internationally and in remote distances from care. Telemedicine is a way of decreasing costs, keeping patients out of emergency rooms, using nurse practitioners more and lower-priced physicians based anywhere in the world for consultation and clinical care. Continue reading

TeleHealthcare: Another Tool in the Basket of Outsourced Strategies

Telehealthcare is Good Medicine and Good Sense

Telehealthcare is Good Medicine and Good Sense

US residents enjoy healthier lifestyle choices, greater health-care and medical knowledge, plus the advantages of cutting-edge medical technologies. Now there is e-health, telehealth, and telemedicine (telemed) to extend access.

People are expected to live longer and healthier because of these advantages. All these opportunities and more effective drugs treating more illnesses and dysfunctions are reaching nearly 90 percent of Americans who now have health-care insurance.

Creeping slowly into the medical-care network is telemedicine. It will help people in rural areas, small towns, and urban medical deserts. Through telemedicine, specialists anywhere in the world can train and assist physicians in surgeries and any aspect in the practice of medicine.

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The Changing Public Hospital Under Obamacare

The ACA (Obamacare) is Helping Public Hospitals Thrive

The ACA (Obamacare) is Helping Public Hospitals Thrive

Public hospitals are either singing melancholy blues or basking in good fortune with passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The unanticipated consequences are impacting finances, patient services, and organization architectures if the states expand their Medicaid programs. Here is how patients and one public health-care system are benefiting.

Visit the website of Chicago area’s Cook County Health and Hospital System. It is a network of publicly financed hospitals and health-care centers. You will see pictures of smiling doctors, nurses, and staff on the website. They, along with county taxpayers and politicians, are smiling because by embracing ACA and expanding the Medicaid program, the system recently made its first profit in 180 years. The system has revenues touching $1.5 billion. The profit was a slight, but welcome, $14million! Continue reading

What do Healthcare Administrators Really Want from Software?

Healthcare Administrators increasingly Want IT Resources to Protect Patient Data

Healthcare Administrators increasingly Want IT Resources to Protect Patient Data

What do health-care administrators and other stakeholders really want from IT software? The American Hospital Association (AHA) uses the data collected in the annual Most Wired Survey 2015 ™.

The survey is a benchmarking report measuring IT use and adoption among hospitals. The AHA tries to determine how the institutions are leveraging IT for positively affecting operational, managerial, financial, quality and safety, and clinical performances. But priorities are changing. The survey measures IT use and the extent hospitals wire up nationwide. Continue reading

Refocus from Tech to Ensure Core Values of Medicine

Patient Care Improves when Medical Values Change

Patient Care Improves when Medical Values Change

Biomedical research and digital technology over the last one hundred years are the tour de force in human longevity, healing, and comfort. They are not able to stand alone without other elements. We discuss many of these advances in other health-care articles.

Other elements ensuring the core values of medicine are upheld include advances in public health and epidemiology, incorporating wellness and spiritual healing into medical settings, and refocusing from technology to human interaction and health psychology. Continue reading

Linking Health-Care Status to Government Benefits

Borrowing from the seminal work by Professor Ruth Scurr about the French Revolution, we can say “politics provokes Fatal Purity in candidates and office holders.” Otherwise blessed with trenchant moral insights, they engage in desperate appeals and self-deluding simplicities. They invoke the impersonal schadenfreude as beacons of morality, standard bearers of right and wrong. Attention to facts and sagacious warnings receive short shrift but feed into the stereotypes of others “milking the system.”

A popular political agenda links voluntary health-care risks to government benefits. In the private sector, health insurance carriers charge smokers higher premiums, and some exclude new applicants. Government rescinds a driver’s license when a driver is convicted of DUI. Medical research takes into account personal lifestyle of potential entrants into research studies and for transplant recipients. The commotion now is about the demand of some officials to have welfare recipients and applicants pass drug tests to be eligible. Continue reading