Estes Park Healthcare Conference – Orlando

The 2008 Estes Park Healthcare Leadership conference is all about discontinuous change.  Continuous change, as it has been explained over the past few days here in Orlando, can be predicted and projected.  Discontinuous change occurs when future direction does not follow historical patterns.  In other words, the future of healthcare cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. 

Well that makes strategic planning simple, now doesn’t it?  The experts gathered here recommend that organization leaders participate in “what if” discussions and create multiple potential scenarios. 

One fact is abundantly clear, US healthcare can’t afford to stay on its current path.  Our economic system is simply unable to support the current delivery model, particularly as the population ages.

Another reality is that burgeoning technology is forever changing the way healthcare is provided and documented.  Google Health, Microsoft Health Vault, and Dossia are all worth watching.  Robotic surgery, nano technology, and implantable microchips will soon dramatically decrease the need for physician and patient to be in the same physical location.  Increased use of the web will enhance patient education, medical record access, and interactive patient/provider relationships. 

 Considering those realities, the presenters agree that this may not be the best time for hospitals to plan large building projects.  The delivery of healthcare is beginning to decentralize.  Care that now requires a trip to the doctor’s office, (sometimes considerable) time in the waiting room, and a wait of hours (or days) for test results, will increasingly be available remotely or in the local (think Walmart clinic) community. 

The primary take-away message this week?  Don’t expect tomorrow’s healthcare to look like today’s.

Oh, I’ve included a few photos of our surroundings to show that, while the message may not always be comfortable, we in attendance certainly are.

Aggravating Your Co-Workers in Ten Easy Steps

“I don’t care if people like me – I’m just here to get a job done!” 

Ever hear that one?  The problem is, sometimes getting the job done is a whole lot tougher, maybe even impossible, if our colleagues find us highly annoying.  Having the respect of the people we work with is great, cultivating a relationship where they actually like us and want us to succeed is even better.

Careerbuilder offers these 10 Surefire Ways to Tick Off Your Co-workers. 

1. Is it always all about you?
Are you preoccupied with your own career path and looking good at the expense of others? Do you put others down while you pump yourself up? Instead, conduct yourself in such a way that other people will want to see you succeed — let their genuine support and admiration of who you are pull you to success.

2. Answering cell phone calls during meetings.
A surefire way to aggravate people is to consistently respond to calls, e-mails and pagers when in conversation with others. This sends a message that they are less important than the caller. Let the calls go and return them when your current conversation is over. If you are expecting an urgent call, alert those present. They will appreciate that you value their time and that you stay focused on matters at hand.

3. Sending voice mails that go on and on and on.
4. Acting like a bureaucrat.
5. Reading the newspaper or hammering on your laptop during training sessions or meetings
6. “I’m like, ya know…”
7. Doing your bills at the office.
8. Skirting around the dress code.
9. Taking it too easy on telecommute days.
10. Acting unethically.

Go to  10 Surefire Ways to Tick Off Your Co-workers

And Now A Word From The Chief Happiness Officer

Alexander Kjerulf blogs as the Chief Happiness Officer, and has recently written a book called Happy Hour is 9 to 5. 

Now one might think that a CHO would say if someone isn’t happy in their job it must be their own fault, and we can all agree that sometimes that is the case.

However, Mr. Kjerulf also acknowledges that some jobs just aren’t worth keeping in the Top Ten Bad Excuses For Staying in a Bad Job.

For example, number four:

#4 “I’ll never get another job”

Well not if you stay in your current job while it slowly grinds you down, you won’t! Move on now while you still have some self-confidence, motivation and energy left.

Having once left a position that was doing just that – killing my self-confidence, motivation, and energy, I can attest that staying on in a work situation that’s bad (at least for you) can have a surprisingly negative impact on your life and health.

Read all of The Top Ten Bad Excuses For Staying in a Bad Job.

Online Physician Rating Sites – Here to Stay

Their value will continue to be debated, but one thing is certain, online physician rating sites are here to stay.

Elizabeth Cohen of CNN Health offers five tips for smart surfing on physician rating Web sites.

1. Decide what you care about
2. Look for volume
3. Look for specifics, not adjectives
4. Look for patterns
5. Use reviews along with objective information

Get the details, go to How To Find A Doctor Online

And one wonders, can anonymous online hospital rating sites be far behind?

Additional blog posts on the topic of anoymous physician rating sites on the web:

Help Improve Patient Safety With These Free Web-Based Programs

Patient safety is the goal of every healthcare organization, and empowering patients to become part of their own safety team is an essential part of reaching that goal.

Emmi Solutions, a company that produces web-based patient education, is now offering free adult and pediatric patient safety programs that are available for placement on your own web site.  Each lasts about five minutes, and is a valuable addition to your organization’s patient safety toolbox.



These programs are a simple and effective way to help educate patients and families about ways to keep themselves and their loved ones safe in the hospital.

The Quaid Foundation

Our family has been the victim of an avoidable medical error that came close to costing the lives of our newborn twins.  The cause was a chain of HUMAN ERRORS linked from the drug manufacturer, to the hospital pharmacy, to the pediatric ward, and finally to the administering nurse who twice massively overdosed our twelve day old infants over an eight hour period with the anticoagulant drug, Heparin.We were lucky.  Although a similar incident killed three infants in an Indianapolis hospital a year earlier, our twins survived. 

It has galvanized our family to try to do something about this pervasive, yet solvable problem.  Please join us in helping to minimize the impact of HUMAN ERROR in patient medical care.

Investigating Patient Complaints: The High Price of Hospital Non-compliance

By Lisa Venn, J.D., M.A., Advocate Alliance

Health care institutions beware!  Having a “Hear no evil; see no evil” patient complaint policy is an expensive proposition.  Just ask Oakland-based Kaiser Permanente which was fined $3 million by the California Department of Managed Care for, among other issues, failing to adequately handle, review and analyze patient complaints.  As quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle (7/27/07), the Department’s Director Cindy Ehnes, said “A patient has to be sure if they have a problem. . . the health plan has their ears open to hear those complaints and their arms available to tackle any of the problems that have arisen.  Those ears in particular seemed to be sometimes deaf.” 

A hospital which turns a deaf ear to patients’ complaints risk sanctions by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS).  CMS’ Hospital Conditions of Participation (CoP) mandate the form and function of a hospital’s patient grievance program [42 CFR 482.13(a)]. If a hospital fails to comply with each and every CoP, CMS may terminate the hospital’s participation in the Medicare program. (

Read the rest of Investigating Patient Complaints: The High Price of Hospital Non-compliance

Grand Rounds 4.29 – A Heartwarming Edition

Dr. Wes, aka Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC, board certified internist, cardiologist, and cardiac electrophysiologist, is the host of this week’s edition of Grand Rounds.  It’s a clever compilation of posts, organized by heart rhythm, and one of the few times I’ve been classified as “normal!”

To miss this edition would be positively heartless!

Stop over at Dr. Wes’ place and enjoy the best of this week’s posts from the medical blogosphere.