Monthly Archives: May 2012

Nurses Saving the Day (and a Dollar) in Texas

Interesting news for the day – a nurses’ advocacy group in Texas has revealed a new study, saying that “a greater utilization of APRN’s in the state of Texas would result in about a $8 billion savings and economic benefit to the state of Texas,” Green said. If these nurses were used better.” Source Its good to see groups pushing for changes like this – we’re moving into a healthcare age where ARNP’s are goign to be needed more and more for primary care, and its time for states to realize this and have the laws reflect it.

Common Sense and Social Media can go hand and hand

Healthcare IT news has a recap of some speakers at the “Healthcare + Social Media Conference”, and Ed Bennett, director of Web and communications technology at University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), spoke on bringing together social media and healthcare together. He covered a lot, but there’s one that struck me – social media is more than the sum of its parts.

4. Social media is more than just the sum of its parts. Throughout his presentation, Bennett maintained a common theme: Social media is more than the sum of its parts. “It wasn’t just social media and Twitter and Facebook, but everything else the organization was doing,” he said. In summary, there are three takeaways to creating a common-sense approach to social media, said Bennett. “Understand patients are far ahead of anything you want to do,” he said. “At a large, transformational level, change has to come from top leadership, so is time best spent to educate and convince about the value of social media. And remember, social media is a tool – anything that comes along, anything an organization wants to do, there’s some aspect of social media that can benefit.”

The overhwelming number of social media avenues scares people off from the vaule, and being a part of social media. By looking first at the needs of your organization, and setting limits, anyone can make social media productive for themselves.

Muppets Taking on Health Care, Pt. 2

by Umang J. Desai

In my previous posting, I shared with you my history with the Muppets and why I feel it is imperative to seek out future thinking conferences. I also left you with a cliffhanger, teasing you with lessons from animated Muppets like the Cookie Monster. Though their role in TEDMED was small, they have begun teaching millions of children vital lessons about health and wellness.

Growing up, most of us knew Cookie Monster as the voracious creature who gorged on cookies and spoke with a mouth full. These were cute attributes society excused because he was a comical, beloved, harmless character who captivated the interest of children. Well, if you haven’t seen his bit in the last few years, then you might be surprised by what you see now. His name is now a misnomer; he’s reformed his diet and culinary ways, shifting his stance on cookies by dubbing them a “sometimes snack” while filling his stomach with more fruits and vegetables, preferably eggplants.

Around 2006, Sesame Street starting airing a more health conscious diet for its characters, noticing that childhood obesity was reaching record levels. This epidemic was affecting our nation’s youth as well adults. Just one year prior, the USDA food pyramid was altered from its original six horizontal sections to a more colorful, vertically segmented triangle. The problem was that it never gained traction and the government agency could only do so much to positively impact the statistics.

Children are impressionable individuals who pick up from what they see. When our television shows constantly portray lovable characters stuffing themselves with unhealthy foods and being physically inactive, our youth naturally assume it’s normal to live that way. Currently, one out of every three children in the United States is obese or overweight. While not the only source contributing to this epidemic, media has a responsibility to characterize idyllic health standards within its productions, rather than activities which are detrimental to one’s health. This duty is further shared by communities and families, demonstrating what proper diets and activity levels should be for future generations. Many people believe efforts like those of Cookie Monster and other children’s shows are slowly contributing to the recognition and action against this childhood epidemic.

This is just one way in which media impacts health care, but the key question remains: how can you? Had Cookie Monster not been invited to speak at TEDMED, I might never have taken the effort to correct my misconceptions about the PBS shows during my childhood. Even worse, without knowing that programming like Sesame Street was now working to model healthy behaviors for children, I may have continued to attribute a portion of the current childhood epidemic to poor programming choices. Certainly there are many other factors attributing to childhood obesity statistics, but Cookie Monster’s presence at TEDMED shows me first hand that these messages are changing for future generations.

In this new era of faster, more diverse, and real-time information, I reiterate it is imperative to attend conferences, learn from others, and follow up on new ideas and innovations. Without making the effort, how can we ever learn and grow? Oh and while you’re at one of these events, eat an apple.

National EMS Week – how communities are celebrating

A great look at how different communities are celebrating National EMS week!
National EMS Week Underway in Hinsdale
EMS providers honored with week-long celebration
Alexandria Fire Department Celebrates EMS Week 2012
Honoring EMS professionals during National EMS Week 2012
HGH EMS will celebrate “EMS Week” with community barbeque
Rural/Metro Celebrates EMS Week
EMS workers deserve thanks
‘Emergency Medical Services Week’ highlights stroke survivors and awareness
Westminster Fire Company Celebrates EMS Week May 20 through May 26
Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services recognizes EMS week May 20-26
National Emergency Services Week
City of Cornwall marks Emergency Medical Services Week
Hamilton EMS to hold candlelight memorial during EMS Week
SIUH Competition Tests EMS Responses
Hoosiers recognize dedication of Emergency Medical Services

Fairfax Hospital proposal for leasing space from Providence Regional Medical Center

The first steps for Fairfax Hospital’s proposed lease of space from Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett has occured this last week, with the first hearing on the issue. Fairfax mission is “This to provide the highest quality of patient care in response to the behavioral health care needs of our community, by focusing on the experience of our patients and families while remaining accountable to our stakeholders” and this expansion in Snohomish County will go a long way in helping an underserved population, and taking stress off of ERs.

LaurieAnn Sigler, of Marysville, said she has been hospitalized at Fairfax in Kirkland 22 times in 13 years.

“We desperately need more psychiatric beds in Snohomish County,” she said. “There are many people who need this service and are unable to get into a psychiatric bed because none are available. That’s where the danger lies.”
Most of the treatment options are located outside Snohomish County, which can make it difficult for friends and family to visit and tough for the patient to get care from his or her psychiatrist, he said.

Ken Stone, a vice president at Providence’s Everett hospital, said that 65 percent of people in Snohomish County who need inpatient hospital psychiatric care have to leave the county to get care. Psychiatric patients arriving at the hospital’s emergency department have to wait an average of eight hours, sometimes as long as 24 hours, to be transferred to a hospital that provides psychiatric services, he said.

If there’s no place to transfer the patient, Providence keeps them in its emergency department or admits the patient to observation units until they can be transferred, Stone said. “On a typical day, we have four voluntary and four involuntary inpatient mental health patients under close observation,” Stone said. Staff often have to be assigned to sit and monitor the patients, requiring about 1,500 hours of staff time in the past month, Stone said.

Approval of Fairfax’s plans for an inpatient psychiatric unit “will allow residents to obtain quality psychiatric services close to home,” he said.

Greg Long, deputy director of the North Sound Mental Health Administration, which helps pay for mental health services for the uninsured, said that he supported efforts to bring more inpatient mental health beds to the area, but noted there were no plans to have units for children or geriatric patients. He also said he thought the state agency should carefully consider if all 105 proposed psychiatric beds are needed.