Learning from the annual industry list ritual

Holiday gift lists, baking lists, family fun lists while kids are out of school and “honey do” lists while off from work…..we have personal to do lists everywhere. But as the year ends, it’s interesting to canstockphoto18647021look back on some of the industry based 2016 lists and look ahead at what to expect in 2017.

I’ve compiled some of the most interesting health care and technology lists to share as we approach this annual turn of the year. You’ve probably seen some of them already.

There are the best places to work lists where we can all learn best practices to attract and retain talent in a competitive market: Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare 2016 and Becker’s 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare 2016. And more specific to IT, there is Healthcare IT News’ Best Hospital IT Departments 2016. Check out their profiles and possibly get some new ideas to apply in your own organizations. Continue reading

Cuban healthcare, an emphasis on prevention

You will be hearing a lot about Cuba after the death of Fidel Castro. I am certainly not an expert on Cuba, but I learned a lot about the country and its people recently on an 8-day Road Scholar tour. canstockphoto21968575And I was particularly interested in learning about their healthcare system.

“I wanted to see and experience Cuba before it drastically changes with American influence and investment”. That was the sentiment from many of our fellow travelers.

The trip was called “People and Society: Cienfuegos to Havana”. It included day trips to Trinidad and Santa Clara plus a stop at the Bay of Pigs on our way to Havana. Everywhere we went, we experienced the cultural arts first hand – music and dance from young grade school age students to seniors well into their 80’s. We heard a chamber orchestra and saw a contemporary dance show.

We heard lectures on history, politics, and religion as well as how Cuban millennials view the  future. We learned how negatively the U.S. embargo has impacted the people of Cuba. And how they want the embargo fully lifted but with future U.S. investments and development managed.

We had a chance to sit and talk for an hour with a young man who works in a telecom job in health care. I asked about electronic health records and he said they are in the process of implementing a system they have developed.

When I got home and caught up on my email, I learned that a 15-member delegation of healthcare executives visited Cuba while we were there. That delegation was led by former HHS Secretary and Governor Mike Leavitt, and included Dr. David Blumenthal, former National Coordinator at ONC and Stephen Lieber, HIMSS president and CEO. Stephen wrote an insightful blog on the experience. The delegation was a mix of vendor, consulting and provider executives who had gone to see the Cuban healthcare delivery system up close. Continue reading

Happy Sesquicentennial!

Most of us won’t live to be a 100. Yet organizations that are the foundation of our communities celebrate 100 year or more anniversaries. I have been fortunate to be part of 225 and 150 year anniversaries at my canstockphoto16622580churches in Worcester, MA and Ann Arbor, MI. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston was making plans for its 100th anniversary celebration when I left there in 2012 for the University of Michigan Health System, yet another institution with a long and rich history. And now as a member of the University Hospitals team in Cleveland, I am joining in celebrating our 150th or Sesquicentennial anniversary.

The UH history dates back to May 14th, 1866 when a single hospital in a two story wooden house was established. As noted on our new UH 150th website, “For 150 years, the people of Northeast Ohio have looked to University Hospitals as a trusted health care provider. Our roots date back to 1866, when civic leaders established a hospital in a small Cleveland home to care for the sick and disabled. From these humble beginnings, UH has grown into a multihospital system, serving 1 million people annually. The medical advancements made at UH touch lives worldwide, yet we remain true to our roots as a community health care provider.”

UH has a long history of care and caring. To continue that commitment to our community, Continue reading

A passion for health care

Doctor Talking To Senior Female Patient In Hospital Bed

I have worked in health Information Technology my entire professional career. In high school, I worked as a part-time nurse’s aide in a nursing home. In college, I worked in a hospital as a unit secretary, back before there were computers at the nurse’s station. I never wanted to be a nurse or physician,
but I am passionate about health care and what we do to improve people’s lives.  I found the path for me is through health care IT.

But I still remember some of the elderly people that I cared for back at that nursing home: Anna, who never had a visitor but was the sweetest and most grateful little old lady you’d ever find. And Hilda, who was as demanding as any but turned on the charm to make sure you liked her and met her requests.  Oscar, who was as grumpy and mean as anyone could be. And Ida, who fought us every time we tried to give her medicine; it took two people most of the time. In spite of their varying personalities and needs, we cared for all of them as best we could, with empathy and support.

My daughter used to joke when she was upset with us that she would put us in a cheap, bad nursing home far away. But for many, it’s no joke. My heart breaks for elderly people alone and without family visitors. I applaud a retired friend who has found “Meals on Wheels” to be his volunteer focus – what a wonderful way to show up for someone. I also applaud a recent retiree from the UMHS ambulatory services leadership team; I saw her in the hospital recently wearing a blue volunteer smock. She is there twice a week as a communion minister.

I remind my IT staff we are part of the extended care team – we don’t touch patients directly Continue reading

Marriage equality, it’s personal

I usually stay away from politics here, but last Friday was just too monumental.  On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled definitively in favor of marriage equality. It’s now the law of the land, and for me, it’s personal.

Many families have secrets. Something everyone knows but nobody talks about. But that sounds so yesterday. And yes, for many it is. Yet many families still struggle with acknowledging that a loved one is gay or lesbian. Yes, family secrets – we all have them.

My family is no different. My Aunt Dorothy was born in 1914 and died in 1997 at the age of 83. She lived her entire adult life with her partner, Teal. There was never an open discussion in our family; to us, they were just “life-long friends”. Dorothy and Teal met while serving in the Women’s Army Core (WAC) during WWII, and lived together until Teal died in 1990.

Dorothy, a life-long Roman Catholic never heard a Pope say, as Pope Francis has, “who am I to judge?”

The pain of same sex couples to be accepted and respected in our society was never more evident for me than when Teal was in her final days. Dorothy had cared for her at home as long as she could, but once Teal was hospitalized, the hospital staff ignored Dorothy.

Dorothy was there all day every day and managed all of Teal’s care, but when Teal died the hospital didn’t call her. They called Teal’s nephew instead who had visited her only once or twice while there.

Dorothy walked into Teal’s room to find an empty bed.  Continue reading