All surfaces in the home, counter tops, floors including laminates, tile and grout need diligent daily cleaning and disinfection. However, Ms. Lybert brings awareness that regarding "stone surfaces, including granite/marble, there is no effective means to disinfect these surfaces." Consider, "granite is an underground aquifer for our water filtering out all kinds of things. Given the right kind of environment, heat and moisture, bacteria will grow."
As the elderly begin to lose their mobility and agility, it is important to maintain clean surfaces in bathrooms and bedrooms, along with the most important surface being the skin. Diligent hand washing and bathing is important throughout the day to avoid cross contamination from the loved one you are caring for, as well as to them. The other surface area to be conscientious of is bedding. When excrement accidents occur, it is important to wash bedding with very hot water to not only clean them, but also kill the microbes.
Clostridium difficile (commonly known as C-diff) "is in the community and found in outpatient settings. There are significant risk factors in patients who are immunosuppressant, individuals who have been on antibiotic therapy, and the elderly population." C-diff is a secondary, very dangerous and potentially deadly infection after antibiotic use. [read article] It is important to those in the community to have appropriate antibiotic prescriptions and use, especially avoiding unnecessary broad spectrum antibiotic use which targets the "good" bacteria you need internally (and not on external surfaces) to kill off C-diff.
But, what is value? Is society conditioned to accept low quality as value, because a lower standard has become the norm?
A surgeon office within a surgical center, (the surgeon with privileges at two leading health systems), has 5-star Healthgrades ratings, including comments: the staff is courteous; appointments start on time; the Physician Assistant (PA) is very intelligent, knowledgeable, articulate and caring; and the surgeon with a benchmark performance staff. There are also one star ratings including a comment the staff is not properly trained and do not know how to maintain a sterile environment.
The primary issue with such score deviations is determining if poor marks are isolated instances (one offs); or, if the variance of only highest and lowest reflect the knowledge of reviewers. Are the high ratings from non-healthcare persons based on perception of the veneer friendliness and scheduling, with one star comments based on specific quality requirements, care competency posted by those with healthcare insight/experience?
As a 35+ year healthcare veteran, an answer was determined accompanying a Medicare patient ‘John’, in his mid-80s who experiences early stage dementia, to the office for a post-op visit for a leg stint placement.
She then stated they would be ordering an ultrasound as a standard post-op test to determine the effectiveness of the stint - over three weeks after the procedure.
Why didn't they do the ultrasound during the post-op visit to have results to make sure the stint was effective?
She stood up, touched the paperwork, the marker and laminate sheet then touched the door handle leaving – never having washed her hands before assessing the patient, nor after putting her hands on his feet.
Perceived value based on quality versus true value and cost
The office visit was charged to Medicare, with an elderly patient perceiving the staff as nice during the office visit.
The care competency and quality as true value-based care during the visit includes:
- lack of basic cleanliness standards with severe cross contamination practices
- no assessment performed during a specific post operative visit (a family member could have taken the BP and said his feet felt warm.)
- lack of care planning and evaluation of medication regime
- unnecessary secondary office visit charging for follow up
- another elderly patient left unattended in hot sun
If the U.S. healthcare system wants to achieve true value-based care, we need an educated population, higher accountability of staff standards with the ability to send evaluations direct to payers based on specific facts and not emotion, and surveys must include care competency reviews versus only veneer questions of politeness, room appearances, and on time scheduling.
There are pitfalls with IVF that are not discussed. And, this business end of reproduction is more often than not cash only. There are virtually ZERO long term studies regarding what effect-impact freezing, and a host of other ‘things’, that are done to the egg, or sperm, or the embryos that have (or could have) on the child that is produced. This 'miracle of modern medicine' could be good ... or just OK ... or it could be very, very bad. Science has rubbed the lamp and we cannot put the genie back in the bottle. After counseling many women in my career, the great emotional toil let alone the finances are not discussed. The ethical check is also missing regarding instances of doctors using their own sperm such as the Indiana doctor who in 2016 used his own sperm at least 50 times.
As the character Dr. Ian Malcom (played by Jeff Goldblum) said in the 1993 movie Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could (create life) that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
by Karen F., (Ret) RN, NP OB & Palliative Care
CEO of health system, "Not every patient needs a primary care physician." A response from patients, the population.
The June 29, 2018 BECKER'S Hospital Review article shares the viewpoint "Froedtert CEO Cathy Jacobson: Not every patient needs a primary care physician" (PCP). The article is the perspective from the viewpoint of a health system CEO, requiring reading of the full article. Full story The following is a perspective, counterview from patients, the individuals in the population.
Health systems are relying on data analysis, defining as population health, as Froedtert is quoted, "As we start stratifying our patients into distinct populations based on their health needs." The issue with this premise is that the data is not always clean, and it will never tell the story, the whole story, of the realities going on with the patients. (See I Wish I Had Known stories.)
Her quote continues, "... insight further into consumer driven wants, we are finding that a substantial sector of the population does not want or need a primary care physician relationship. People need primary care but not necessarily a physician relationship." The issue is the primary care physician practices have been acquired by the hospitals with the biggest complaint from people, of not being able to find a PCP, and those now under health systems, the doctor only giving 15 minutes of time and then passing off with no plan of care, simply writing another prescription. Many in the public just find it faster or are being told to just go to the ER. From the perspective of health system CEOs, it would appear primary care is not wanted or needed. But when actually speaking with individuals across the country, it is the opposite from the lack of care coordination, and "the doctor doesn't know me and is not taking the time to listen to figure out an actual diagnosis."
Population Health: has the focus on big data, populations & large systems caused the loss of individuals?
When the primary focus is on data (the multiple of numbers/records-statistics), singular records and numbers or outliers are not worth the time and effort of analysts and executives. And yet, they should be as each record is a real patient, a friend, a loved one.
The solution is bringing analysis down to the most base level of management with front line analysis, to coincide with first-hand observation, the voice of the patient & their caregivers/champions, and reducing the ever growing administrative overhead. Bigger is not better for addressing health and care of populations, when the focus is shifted upward with large systems where individuals are lost: Especially when the individual issues are indicative of the core problems that need to be addressed for quality care delivery.
HC Aware www.hcaware.com
HC PARC www.hcparc.com
The need for P&P Reviews
What has caused the layering of medications
The country is currently facing increased antibiotic resistance, opioid crisis, etc. due to our culture being conditioned in the taking of medications versus alternative treatments, or prescriptions of medications without diagnosis. A mother of a small child was recently told by a doctor as part of her son's care, "It is very important for you to teach your child how to swallow pills. Start with candy sprinkles, then swallow mini M&Ms, and then have him swallow large M&Ms so he can take multiple pills at the same time." This instruction was given to the mother without a diagnosis for her son, no plan to achieve understanding of what was causing his pain to then create a plan of care - which may or may not have needed to include medication.
Consumer engagement is needed with all medications being prescribed to be fully empowered, to understand: 1) the need for prescriptions, why and when appropriate, 2) the side effects of medications to determine alternatives versus adding on more medications, and 3) to eliminate the misuse of medications without the continued layering of additional drugs. Antibiotics should only be used when the body, given time, cannot fight a severe bacterial infection. And, antibiotics should only be given out after a culture is performed to eliminate a virus as the cause, or to target the specific bacteria. Broad spectrum antibiotics should only be used with life threatening-septic issues while waiting for a culture, or there is not the ability to perform a culture.
A middle aged male was recently experiencing severe abdominal pain, subsequently prescribed three (3) medications in two (2) weeks from three (3) different sources (an Emergency Room, a primary care doctor, a Gastroenterologist). There was no diagnosis, no care coordination within an established plan of care, no thorough instruction in the medications, with the last prescription based on a guessed misdiagnosis which worsened his pain. One prescription was a steroid with the patient being instructed to take as he needed it; the second was an offering by the office secretary blindly asking if he wanted an Epipen when he called to actually speak with the physician for worsening abdominal pain, swelling and to discuss his lab work.
The common standard operating procedure (SOP) in medicine has become symptom and write a prescription, another symptom and write another prescription, etc. This SOP has lent to the opioid crisis, antibiotic resistance, as well as many other drugs being dispensed routinely with side effects causing secondary prescriptions for the side effects of the existing medications being taken.
Several variables cause the use of this SOP beginning with the lack to get a full, detailed history - taking time to speak with patients - to establish a diagnosis and then plan of care, determining if simple steps are first needed such as icing and therapy for pain before opioids, or to remove foods and medications isolating side effects or allergies. Last week, I attended the HIMSS conference, the largest healthcare conference in the country, with attendees from around the world. One executive stated, "I just returned from Finland where they have an effective health system, because people live healthy, and the doctors appropriately tell their patients NO when seeking a simple, quick fix of a drug that is not needed."
Reasons for the mainstream SOP?
I think there are always multiple reasons for issues within healthcare. The symptom=prescription issue can be: Doctors are processing patients through with 'factory-care', Physicians receiving kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies; The lack of proper clinical training; Protocols blindly being followed without individual evaluation (e.g. Vanderbilt University study on Plavix standard for all Cardiac Cath Patients); as well as the alliance of public policy and pharma, direct consumer marketing without proper education.
A healthcare executive summarized the situation well last week when stating to me, "I ultimately make the decision for my own care, with the advice of the physician. It is the doctor's role to diagnosis, and then we discuss all options, along with a plan of care, coordinated with speaking with all other involved physicians." It is important for consumers to understand the need to champion their own care working with physicians, determining what options should be used before medications (diet and some of the old fashioned home remedies still hold true), addressing underlying issues versus only symptoms, and removing or changing medications to eliminate side effects when there are alternatives. Questions to have answered:
An example of direct consumer marketing lacking in education: In 2016, there was broad publication when the company Mylan raised the prices of the Epipen after State Law was passed to stock it in every school. Many individuals and groups were upset because there is not a generic offering. With proper information, the public would be educated that Epipen is the patented delivery system, not the drug epinephrine. The generic already existed in the form of a $15-$18 sterile needle. It is also necessary to establish where and when is it appropriate to stock epinephrine, not specifically the Epipen.
Why are you prescribing this medication, what is it specifically doing in my system?
What are non-medication alternatives, what are other medication alternatives?
How long should I take this, what is the outcome? How does it interact with my other medications?
What should be monitored for an outcome, side effects?
February 14, 2018 Telemedicine is a tool that can be very effective depending upon how it is used. Top 5 Ways Telehealth Will Change Under the New Federal Funding Bill, "The new federal Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law by the President on February 9, 2018."
Recently, the April 2007 story of Chief Mike Day, Navy SEAL, has been recirculated. The incident involved Day being shot point blank, 27 times (11 in his vest and 16 times into his body), within a 12 x 12-foot room, the gun fight occurring within seconds at a range of ten feet. After his rifle was shot out of his hands, he grabbed his pistol, remaining in the fight, taking out the four insurgents, and then becoming stunned being hit by a grenade fragment. Upon regaining awareness, he immediately inquired if the room was clear, and then walked himself to the evacuation helicopter. In one of his interviews, he stated, “I just went to work, it was muscle memory, I just did what I was trained to do.” “… into a gun fight, I feel more comfortable in that situation, I feel more comfortable, I don’t think, I don’t have to think in that situation, I just react.”
Day’s statements exemplify an important component that has been lost in healthcare training - that of muscle, or specifically, movement memory. Clinicians are supposed to be trained in school regarding the need and proper technique for handwashing. More importantly, clinicians used to have extensive clinical time working in patient areas developing the movement memory for proper hand washing, and automatically keeping in mind what is clean vs. dirty, where established sterile fields are located with maintaining of sterile gloved hands. The training was extensive and repetitive, for clinicians to automatically move appropriately in fast paced, life threatening situations - to not have to think and just act. One common, simple example is the insertion of IVs for fluid administration or needles for drawing blood. The needle or IV cannula (the needle with covered sheath inserted into the vein) is sterile, with clinicians wearing nonsterile gloves. The skin is typically wiped with alcohol to clean, and then all too often clinicians press nonsterile gloved fingers on the cleaned skin to feel for the vein; thus, contaminating the cleaned surface of the patient’s skin where insertion directly into their vein will occur. Even though the nurse/doctor is wearing clean gloves, they are not sterile, and worn to protect the clinician. With repetitive movement training, clinicians would press to find the vein before properly cleaning the skin, and clean their gloved fingers at the same time as the patient’s skin.
Two frequent complaints often heard from patients, "They dug around in my arm and could not find the vein, it was so painful." "They poked me five times because they did not know what they were doing." Blood draws and starting IVs is a skill, just like shooting at a target or in high stress a gun fight, that requires proper training of technique, and more importantly, repetitive practice - especially with the understanding when someone's life depends upon it. Additionally, the conditioned good technique should be second nature to purge ALL air from needles and tubing, including from the side ports of IV tubing, to prevent the potentially fatal embolus as a hospital acquired condition (HAC).
With the great reduction of hands on clinical time in schools (with replacement of online theory, population/global health, writing, and shadowing nurses), this movement memory training has been lost, with the shift of cost to hospitals for training, buying expensive monitoring equipment, or addressing the subsequent HAIs/HACs. Bringing the ingrained, repetitive movement training back to school training would instill within clinicians and CNA/PCT caregivers the instinctual, reactionary awareness of dirty versus clean or sterile, and proper IV/needle insertion, while delivering care; whether normal daily care or imminent life versus death situations – because they just do what they are trained to do without having to stop and think through quality actions.
A research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine claimed patient satisfaction-based ratings are associated with patient outcomes, but a recently released study from Quantros disagreed, saying the letter's findings are misleading and may lead patients toward poor clinical outcomes.
Ms. Rohloff, a 35-year healthcare veteran with experience in nursing, business and information systems, spoke with Becker's Hospital Review about providing consumers with more detailed evaluation of quality care delivery. [read more]
The healthcare industry has used perioperative morbidity and mortality reviews (M&Ms) for blunt evaluations, to continuously improve the understanding of and performance in surgical intervention. Since the industry touts Population Health and Patient Engagement as top initiatives, health systems can use the successful process of M&Ms to perform Population Health and Patient Engagement reviews (P&Ps) of individual cases, for ensuring quality care processes. [read more]
"Those in healthcare are there for the patients, the patients are not there for them. If we stopped for a moment to view the actual words 'patient,' 'health' and 'care,' there is no 'I' in either 'health' or 'care,' only in the word 'patient.'" Those in the healthcare industry tout the idea of prioritizing patients by using phrases such as "patient-centric" and "patient engagement," and yet current data trends suggest the contrary is happening. Instead, motivation based on self-interest continues to permeate care delivery. Here are three trends in the healthcare industry that work against patient-centered care. [read more]
Upon reading the article "Must have bachelor's degree: Hospitals' new requirement for nurses" concerning a report published by The Wall Street Journal, I wanted to provide perspective from experts with first-hand experience in the industry addressing points within and not included in the Wall Street Journal report. [read more]
“I spoke to more than 40 people for the story and heard many of the points you raise, unfortunately I could not include every nuance in a 700-word story. All the best, Anna” WSJ journalist
Domain experts sharing leading expertise for consumers.