Latest Digital Health Update

Dan Munro, healthcare innovation writer for Forbes, recently shared Samsung’s “Voice of the Body” launch event which promises the electronics giant will be leaving a much larger footprint in the digital health space (see @Forbes @danmunro Samsung Trumps Apple With Digital Health Announcement Again). According to Munro, this was the second digital health driven event hosted by Samsung in 14 months, and with strategic timing too, as Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (#WWDC2014) kicks off next week. In addition to discussion on sensors, cloud storage of sensor-captured data, and the open reference design of their Simband platform, Samsung is putting forward a Digital Health Challenge:

The Samsung Digital Health Challenge is an ongoing opportunity to access a pool of $50 million in investments from the Samsung Catalyst Fund. The goal of the Challenge is to stimulate innovation surrounding the delivery of wellness-related insight through the use of highly accurate, non-invasive sensors working in conjunction with advanced algorithms. SSIC here.

Much of this appears to be direct-to-consumer technology for the already engaged patient to become even more engaged in optimal health, at least at the moment. What Ram Fish, Samsung’s VP of Digital Health, envisions according to a short video on their site (see Simband Open Reference Model), is unlimited capability of their open Simband platform–where anyone can create sensors that talk to a larger system. All of this further reinforces the SXSW health focus on wearable technology earlier this year (see Top 10 Takeaways from SXSW 2014: Part One).

On the flip side–how will this help consumers/patients who are already left behind? How can manufacturing giants like Samsung put this wearable technology on the wrists and hips of the frequent flyers in Emergency Departments across the US to keep them healthy and at home? How can this technology be used to prevent readmissions of congestive heart failure patients? These are at least two questions that, if Samsung or others can provide a solution to, will drastically and positively affect healthcare costs. A TOMS 1-for-1 strategy comes to mind…

The following short marketing video gives a quick glimpse into Samsung’s Voice of the Body. As an avid Apple fan, I can’t help but be intrigued, even in light of my failed user-experience with the Samsung S4 phone.

Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camps & The Doctors Company Foundation Add “Telluride West” for 2015

David Kern, in his book entitled Curriculum Development for Medical Education: A Six-Step Approach, said, “The ultimate purpose of a curriculum in medical education is to address problems that affect the health of the public.” I think we can all agree patient safety is a public health problem, however, medical and nursing schools have been slow to change in the face of this crisis, and instead, remain mired in a very traditional 1980’s curricular model. I can’t help but think of Einstein’s mantra…“insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result”.

Fortunately, others are trying to help…

TDFThe Doctors Company Foundation (TDCF), created in 2008 by The Doctors Company–the nation’s largest insurer of medical professional liability for physicians, surgeons, and other health professionals–is one group at the forefront of medical education change, supporting many medical education programs and projects. From their website:

The purpose of the Foundation is to support patient safety education for health care professionals in training and in practice, patient safety research with clinically useful applications, and medical professional liability research.

TPSSC_Logo_v3TDCF has also been a long-time supporter of the Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camps for health science students. Over the last four years, through their generous support, close to 200 health science students will have attended one of our week-long patient safety summer camps. Student summer camp reflections and experiences have been shared on the ETY blog through the years, as well as the Telluride Sumer Camp blog.

Because of our past success, and the willingness of The Doctors Company and its Foundation’s mission to make care safer for our patients, we are excited to announce that the Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camp will now offer three one-week student summer camps in 2015–with our newest patient safety camp being held in California (“Telluride West”). Ninety health science students from across the country will now be able to attend one of the three, one-week patent safety summer camps being held in Colorado, Washington DC and California. Leaders and visionaries from The Doctors Company and its Foundation, such as Richard Anderson, David Troxel, Leona Siadek-Rice and TDCF board members, believe in the Educate the Young premise, and back it up through their generous and continued support of our Telluride Patient Safety Summer Camp mission.

Combined with the two weeks of Patient Safety Summer Camps for Resident Physicians supported by COPIC, CIR and MedStar Health, there will now be five weeks of patient safety summer camps offered each year. That makes over 150 of our future health care leaders immersed in patient safety and transparency education led by international leaders in patient safety. I think even Einstein would be happy….


Using Twitter to “Live Tweet” a Kidney Transplant @UofUHealthCare

University of Utah Health Care (@UofUHealthCare) pushed the healthcare social media agenda forward yesterday, as well as heightened the bar for transparency in healthcare, as they “live tweeted” a kidney transplant. Not only were they tweeting progress of the surgery, they were posting photos and interacting with the media to answer questions. The team also engaged their patients in this process, even posting photos of the donor in recovery. While I have seen surgeries tweeted in the past, I have not seen anything on this scale, or so inclusive of every person — patient and provider — during the actual delivery of care in such a high-stakes surgery. Kudos to them!

Below is a screen shot of a story aggregated on Storify captured before, during and after the event (click here for full version), but for those interested in, or leading healthcare social media, I highly recommend seeking out @UofUHealthCare’s twitter feed from May 20th, 2014. It provides a textbook lesson in new media and healthcare transparency!

@UofUHealthcare Kidney Transplant


Patient Advocate Sherri Loeb on Navigating Healthcare

Please welcome our latest guest blogger, Sherri Loeb. Sherri is a nurse of 30 years and the wife of Jerod Loeb, Vice President for Healthcare Quality Evaluation at Joint Commission, who she, and the entire patient safety community, lost to prostate cancer last year (see Experiencing Both Sides of the Quality and Safety Chasm…) . Since losing Jerod, Sherri’s passion for patient centered care has only gathered more urgency, as she works to share their story and her nursing experience in a way that inspires change. She is also a member of the MedStar Health Patient and Family Advisory Council for Quality and Safety, as well as a member of the National Quality Forum steering committee for person- and family-centered care. Following is an excerpt from a recent blog post she wrote for, What it takes to navigate healthcare: Engagement, compassion.


Patient engagement, patient-centered care, shared decision-making, patient experience and centers of excellence–all the latest buzzwords in healthcare. But do our industry leaders really understand what they mean or how to implement them, and how critical they are not only to the patient and family, but also to the ultimate goal of patient safety? From my recent experience I would say it’s rare.

I’m a nurse of 30-plus years who has worked in various healthcare settings. I have always been patient-centered and treated each patient as if they were family. Then, on Aug. 4, 2011, my life changed dramatically when Jerod, my husband of 25 years, as well as an internationally known patient safety and quality expert, was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic prostate cancer…

To read the rest of Sherri’s post, please click here.

MedStar SiTEL Achieves Accreditation by SSH

MedStar SiTEL Code Blue SimulationIn direct opposition to last week’s tongue in cheek poke at Medical Simulation of Olde, according to leadership and Director of MedStar SiTEL (and Human Factors Center at MedStar Institute for Innovation) Terry Fairbanks, MD, MS (@TerryFairbanks) “When the mission is patient first, you don’t try first on patients.”

One of the increasingly obvious missing links between patient safety and medical education is the opportunity for students to learn their skills in a safe and controlled environment–and that means safe for both patient and caregiver. Simulation offers that option, and is growing across the country, as well as at MedStar Health in the Washington DC and Baltimore areas, offering an affordable, interdisciplinary, safety-driven and effective training ground for care providers young and old.

In fact, Bill Sheahan, Managing Director of MedStar SiTEL recently announced that their team achieved a milestone, putting them among the elite in medical simulation training. The group was recently granted accreditation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) in the areas of Teaching/Education and Systems Integration: Facilitating Patient Safety Outcomes. Achievement of this milestone required both a comprehensive application and a full-day site visit by three experts in the simulation field who had the opportunity to tour MedStar SiTEL’s Clinical Simulation Center in DC, meet with program and institutional leadership, MedStar Health’s experts in systems integration and patient safety, subject matter experts who offer education and training sessions in the simulation setting, and learners who have attended sessions at one of MedStar SiTEL’s simulation centers. The application/site visit process also provided a wonderful opportunity for MedStar SiTEL to reflect on all they currently do daily to improve patient safety, as well as to learn from experts in the field.

To date there are just 41 centers who have received accreditation by SSH. MedStar Health has had a very robust OB/GYN simulation program, led by Tamika Auguste, MD, in place for some time. In fact, we have mentioned her MOST (MedStar Obstetrical Simulation Training) program here on ETY (see The Future of Medical Education...). With the success of rolling out the MOST program across all MedStar entities with OB/GYN services, the SiTEL team is now in the process of implementing simulation education for additional disciplines across the health system, such as pediatric and cardiac critical care.

While most envision simulation training to include the lifelike, talking mannequins pictured above, some of the most critical training that occurs in healthcare simulation revolves around teamwork and communication. Because communication has repeatedly been shown to be the largest contributing factor to medical harm, the rehearsal of these skills could not be more pivotal. The debriefing that occurs after a simulation at MedStar SiTEL is key, and participants engage in the follow up discussion as though it had been an actual event. Having observed a number of simulation training exercises at MedStar SiTEL firsthand, the professionalism of the leadership team pre-event was equally as impressive as the commitment of the learners to participate as though the event was occurring in real-time. For more information on MedStar SiTEL services, click here.

Stay tuned for Stories of Simulation to come!

Interactive Storytelling: Best Examples

Earlier this year, the NYTimes posted, 2013: The Year in Interactive Storytelling,  a stunning compilation of last year’s best NYTimes interactive stories, covering topics as disparate as rising healthcare costs, Spring Fashion week, the growing art markets in China, and a murder investigation in Florida. What each story shares, however, is the use of a combination of print, audio, graphics and video to tell the tale. In a 2013 ETY post, Telling Healthcare Stories via Multiple Media, our readers had a brief glimpse at this new form of storytelling from the NYTimes via Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Cedar Creek. Following are a few of my favorites from the “Best of 2013”, but if you have time, every story I’ve clicked through has value for the budding non-fiction storyteller looking to find new ways to share content.

  • Using interactive infographics in Front Row to Fashion Week, NYTimes artists make the sea-foam, lime green and fire orange designer-favorite colors of Spring Fashion week explode from the screen, even allowing viewers to drill down for a closer look at each of Oscar de la Renta’s spring floral cocktail dresses as though they were shopping the streets of 5th Avenue.
  • Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 9.36.41 AMIn Paying Till It Hurts, authors, artists and filmmakers use interactive graphics as well as video to show the difference between the cost of a hip replacement in Belgium ($13,660) and a knee replacement in the US ($125,000+). By clicking on the arrow in the center of the image within the NYTimes story, the page comes to life as Michael and Susan share two very different healthcare experiences.
  • In A Culture of Bidding: Forging An Art Market in China, a beautiful interactive graphic reveals multiple pieces of Chinese art sold at auction, such as “Eagle Standing on a Pine Tree,” a 1946 ink painting by Qi Baishi, a Chinese master, which sold for $65.4M. This piece, like many others, remain in storage unpaid for by the winning bidder, as the authenticity of the pieces are questioned by those afraid to sign the final check.
  • In Two Gunshots on a Summer Night, the use of moving images along with 911 audio tapes and police interviews make the shooting death of a police officer’s girlfriend all too real for viewers, putting the guilt or innocence of the suspects on display for closer evaluation in ways unattainable by print alone.

Interactive storytelling is the future. It’s costly and much more time-consuming than a typical piece of journalism–and it’s a considerably collaborative effort versus the solo journey of a reporter. The results, however, make viewers feel as though they are there in the moment getting to know the subjects and stories in real-time, forming bonds and attachments to the characters on a much more personal level. I look forward to what the NYTimes has in store for the future!