Thinking Differently to Change Healthcare

To all those looking to lead healthcare differently–

  • …to include and honor the voice of patients
  • …to ensure healthcare professionals are allowed to be open and honest with patients, and one another
  • …to honor a culture of safety above all else, and;
  • …to adopt wearables and other new technology that allow patients to better monitor and manage their own health

–here’s to the crazy ones.

And finally, another great “Jobism” from his oft quoted graduation speech at Stanford University, three years before his death:

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

People With Passion Changing Healthcare for the Better

I recently watched the film, Jobs, a biopic based on the life of Steve Jobs, Apple Computer Cofounder, Chairman and CEO. Jobs and partner, Steve Wozniak, started the legendary company in his garage in 1976 in what ultimately resulted in one of, if not, the greatest changes to the landscape of personal computing and digital content development to date. Jobs’ vision and passion for creating technology that would extend the vision and passion of every one of us, never wavered even though he was challenged countless times by doubters with limited vision themselves.

So the story goes, Jobs was told by his Board, “people aren’t going to want a personal computer,” and he ultimately was fired from his own company in 1985, and then later rehired in what many call one of the greatest company turnarounds. Throughout the ups and downs of his career, Jobs remained passionate about the need to deliver the highest quality technology products directly to consumers, putting the ability to create just about anything in the homes of users. Thanks to Jobs passion, stubbornness and entrepreneurial spirit we now have the iMac, iPod, iPad, iTunes, iPhone…the list goes on…and ways in which consumers use each device continues to expand in direct proportion to the freedom given to the imagination.

Healthcare is adopting the devices created by Jobs and his Apple teams at the frontline of care in many places–places where visionary healthcare leadership is too passionate to hear the fearful naysayers that impede the progress we all know also prevents zero preventable harm and returns joy and meaning to the healthcare workplace. In the following clip from the Jobs film, actor Ashton Kutcher delivers the inspirational lines below. Whether Jobs actually said these exact words or not, he has said much that echoes similar sentiment. Those working to influence much needed change in healthcare can draw strength from the dialogue when faced with doubters of our own. To find like-minded healthcare colleagues, be sure to check out ChangeDayUSA!

You got to have a problem you want to solve, a wrong that you want to right. And it’s got to be something you are passionate about, otherwise you won’t have the perseverance to see it through…And in your life, you only get to do so many things, and right now, we’ve chosen to do this. So let’s make it great.


#mlearning In Medical Schools: How the iPad is Changing Medical Education

When Stanford announced they were supplying iPads to their medical students in 2010, they become one of the first medical schools to begin the transition to mobile learning. But now, the number of medical schools across the US handing out iPads with stethoscopes to their first year students is increasing, as the cost to supply the device is becoming far less of an obstacle once students and educators experience the doors that open with the device in hand.

The Yale School of Medicine now provides iPads to all their medical students after a successful pilot program last spring. In a Medical News Today post last March, Yale’s Assistant Dean for Curriculum shared that “it costs about $1,000 per student to provide paper copies of course materials. This is about the same cost as providing an iPad and supporting apps.”

“We pretty much break even,” said Schwartz, “but the iPad is better for the environment – and as an information delivery system, it’s much more versatile.”

At Yale, students and physicians are using the tablet in both the clinical and educational environments. They have found the benefits are far exceeding the initial goal of note taking in class — instant access to the global library of online reference material, video streaming, the ability to collaborate in real-time and the built-in mobility–are just some of those benefits. Textbooks themselves come to life, and become increasingly interactive when loaded to the iPad, and educators are able to change and update curriculum, delivering it to students digitally, in real-time.

In a September 2012 post on eWeek, iPad Program Launches at University of Pennsylvania Medical School, writer Brian Horowitz shares how The Perelman School of Medicine not only gave iPads to their medical students, but also redesigned the white coats with pockets to fit the device. Putting iPads in the hands of students and educators is changing the way content is delivered, shared and used during class, as the device is changing how students learn. Neal Rubenstein MD, professor of cell and developmental biology at Perelman, comments:

“The iPad is bringing a new dimension to my teaching,” said Rubinstein. “By getting rid of the limitations of paper notes and books, I can teach students how to think critically and act on their curiosity in a way I couldn’t before. The textbook no longer defines our students’ educational experience.”

According to iMedicalApps in a post earlier this year, Top 10 free iPad Medical Apps, the ability to capitalize on what the iPad offers health science education will be only as good as the apps available. Currently, there are over 2500 free medical related apps available for the iPad, and the number of medical apps overall is projected to grow 25% per year over the next five years. Today, apps allow students and physicians to view human anatomy in color, 3D-images, take handwritten notes and create .pdf documents, download a New England Journal of Medicine subscription directly to their iPad and look up drug interactions in comprehensive drug dictionaries–and that is just scratching the surface of the informational power apps deliver to the user.

Did Steve Jobs have any idea how this device would change not only medical education, but the way the world interacts with the growing amount of information available to us? Please share how you are using the iPad, or related technology, to enhance medical education.

Innovative Healthcare Organizations Going Viral With Flu and Infection Prevention

Wayne Gretzky once said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Steve Jobs echoed those same words. Two leaders who set the bar in their respective fields with their creativity–Gretzky’s innovation on ice remains a gift to young players who still try to emulate his moves in rinks across the country, and Jobs’ magic with mobile device development continues to open doors in the way information is gathered, formatted and shared. Outside the box thinking put into action is how real innovation takes life, moving the next generation forward. Health system leaders with courage and creativity, like Gretzky and Jobs, are perfecting their own innovative approaches to protect patients from the transmission of flu and infection.

Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, FL created the following video on hand washing to prevent the spread of disease-causing bacteria in their community. The video was entered into a contest sponsored by Planetree, a “non-profit organization providing education and information in a collaborative community of healthcare organizations, facilitating efforts to create patient- centered care in healing environments”:

Larger healthcare organizations like MedStar Health in Washington DC and Maryland, and Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) in Seattle, WA are enlisting care providers to “do as I do” by getting a flu shot in the spirit of patient safety. With healthcare provider influenza vaccination rates at 36-54% nationally, depending on when/who is collecting the data, leadership in both of these forward-looking healthcare environments took matters into their own hands.

Lynne Karanfil, RN, CIC, Corporate Coordinator, Infection Prevention at MedStar Health, Bill Thomas, MD, EVP Medical Affairs & CMO along with colleagues, published results of their mandatory, seasonal influenza vaccination program for all employees during the 2009-2010 flu season in the April 2011 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Championing Patient Safety Through Mandatory Influenza Vacccination for All Healthcare Personnel and Affiliated Physicians. The program was instituted in the best interest of MedStar patients, and with 99.9% compliance to the policy it appears as though MedStar healthcare providers felt the same way.

VMMC went to their sweet spot–rapid process improvement workshops–and applied the system’s improvement methodology to increase the number of patients who received a flu shot. The result was a “flu drive-through,” that made getting a flu shot as simple for patients as “rolling down their window and rolling up their sleeve”. Care providers met patients in a circular driveway nearby the hospital, gave the flu shot and the patient was on with their day. On the VMMC provider side, increasing the percentage of those vaccinated became an obvious next step, especially when the patient was put at the top of the VMMC strategic plan. Starting in 2006, there were now two choices at VMMC–get a flu shot or work somewhere else. While push back from the nurse’s union occurred in the first year this new employment requirement was instituted, 98% of all health care providers received the flu vaccine. The following year, the topic was no longer a cause for discussion–continued proof how truly dedicated the great majority of healthcare providers are in the effort to keep their patients safe.

In the spirit of flu season, please share you own creative solutions and examples of infection control, flu vaccination and viral video education!