Truth or Lie?

Heather Hatfield of WebMD shares ten tips to help you figure out whether someone is telling the truth in 10 Ways to Catch a Liar.  I’ve listed the tips below, go to the article to find out more.

Tip No. 1: Inconsistencies
Tip No. 2: Ask the Unexpected
Tip No. 3: Gauge Against a Baseline
Tip No. 4: Look for Insincere Emotions
Tip No. 5: Pay Attention to Gut Reactions
Tip No. 6: Watch for Microexpressions
Tip No. 7: Look for Contradictions
Tip No. 8: A Sense of Unease
Tip No. 9: Too Much Detail
Tip No. 10: Don’t Ignore the Truth

Extra Tip: Be Trusting

If we take a trusting stance, life is going to be a lot more pleasant but sometimes we are going to be taken in. As a parent or a friend, you’re much better off being trusting rather than looking for lies all the time.

A Happy Ending in Ohio

CNN reports a happy ending tale from northeast Ohio  — Connie and Donald McCracken were watching CNN one evening last week when they learned of the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson from a head injury. Immediately, their minds turned to their 7-year-old daughter, Morgan, who was upstairs getting ready for bed.

Two days earlier, Morgan, her father, and brother had been playing baseball in the yard of their Mentor, Ohio, home when her father hit a line drive that landed just above Morgan’s left temple. A lump formed, but the McCrackens iced it down and the swelling subsided within an hour.

The evening ended with Morgan being life-flighted to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland and undergoing emergency surgery.  Perhaps Natasha Richardson’s family can find comfort in the knowledge that her tragic death may have helped save the life of a child.


The New Healthcare Stimulus – from Masters In Healthcare

A new blog, Masters In Healthcare, opens with a post outlining  “10 Things You need To Know About the Healthcare Stimulus. 

Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed on February 17, and is already beginning to filter out funds to hopefully stimulate the economy. One of the principal goals of the package is to reform the health care system while creating jobs and insuring more Americans. Through measures to support the unemployed, integrate cutting-edge information technology systems into medical networks, and insuring more children, the act may in some way affect how you receive health care. Find out how.

Welcome to the medical blogosphere!

Management by Wandering Around vs Management by Metrics

Business consultant Tom Peters publicized the acronym MBWA in the 1980’s – Management By Wandering Around.  It’s always been a favorite of mine.  I worked for a hospital CEO a number of years ago who personified the style.  It was common to see him in the hallway chatting with employees.  He knew our names; he often knew the names of our children and sometimes even our pets.  We loved him for that. 

 Today’s management strategy seldom allows opportunity for much wandering around.  Leaders are expected to spend considerable time collecting, analyzing and charting statistics – Management by Metrics.  Pie charts, bar graphs, and Pareto diagrams rule our world; there is a great reliance on the science of numbers.

Neither style, however, can be entirely successful alone.  Competent leaders figure out how to combine strategies in order to understand both the hearts and minds of their employees. Numbers can be manipulated and people can be biased; it’s the role of the leader to determine the essence of truth they each tell.

An unfortunate by-product of over reliance on metrics is that it becomes “all about the numbers.”  Too often managers desperate to improve ratings resort to MBC – Management by Club.  MBC acts on the belief that if employees are not producing adequate numbers, hitting them will bring about improvement. If targets remain unmet, MBC, which unfortunately only has one primary strategy, escalates by applying more force; i.e.; hitting them harder.

“Work harder, work longer, be more forceful, don’t take no for an answer; this is your responsibility; where are your results? I need to see better numbers, just do your job” etc., etc.  MBC produces short-term results, which can make it very appealing to those without long-term vision.

MBC isn’t about holding people accountable for job performance, which is a necessary function of leadership.  MBC is about relying on authority rather than strategy, bullying rather than planning, punishment rather than reward.

When we put our leadership hats on, let’s leave the clubs behind.  Let’s try wandering around with a flow diagram and a control chart instead.  Who knows what we might learn?

Healthcare Transparency In A Non-Punitive Environment – Is It Possible?

 Healthcare is all about transparency these days.  Most organizations strive to increase openness to error disclosure, both internally and externally.  Leadership confidently promises a non-punitive environment because evidence proves that most errors are the result of process flaws, not human inefficiency. 

“Report errors, how can we fix what we don’t know is broken?”  It’s all good, right?

Well, humans being human and all, is a non-punitive environment realistically possible?  Sure the process may have been flawed, but don’t physicians, nurses, technicians, etc. who commit an error often find themselves ostracized by their co-workers?  “If they would have only been more careful this wouldn’t have happened” whispered in their wake. 

And if discovered pity the poor reporter, who may find that doing the right thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  “Look at all the trouble you’ve caused, why didn’t you keep your mouth shut?” uttered as a plethora of lawyers, risk managers, quality managers, and administrators descend upon the “crime scene” to investigate. 

But if no one reports problems, how can we improve?

A fellow student in a Six-Sigma class I’m taking offered this story from a tour of a Japanese auto plant.  A group of company VIP’s was touring the factory.  Nearby a large part fell from a conveyor belt, with an employee scrambling to retrieve it.  One of the VIP’s rushed over to the embarrassed worker and said, “I apologize that we created a system that allowed this failure, we will work to fix it.” 

Wouldn’t that attitude be a good place for all of us to start?

Grand Rounds at Doc Gurley

Doc Gurley, who according to her blog posts from an insane healthcare system, is host of this week’s edition of Grand Rounds. 

This Grand Rounds included an innovation – last night Doc Gurley and friends hosted a sneek-peek webinar showcasing posts from this week’s edition.  Then participants took a “field trip” with our host while she made live visits to a few sites.  The event was recorded and Doc Gurley will post a link for anyone who would like to view the program.

Stop by Doc Gurley’s place to sample the best of the ever-expanding medical blogosphere.

Grand Rounds

An Interview with Vicki Searcy, CPMSM

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted an interview with an interesting person in healthcare, but I recently had an opportunity to chat with my long-time friend Vicki Searcy, and wanted to share some of her fascinating professional experience with you. 

Vicki is a Certified Professional in Medical Services Management and a past-president of the National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS).  She currently serves on the NAMSS Past-President’s Council, and works as a consultant in the field of medical staff services.

Now I don’t want to say that Vicki is my “old” friend, but both she and I started working in the field of medical staff administration at a time when desktop computers were not yet common in hospitals.  She however, holds an accolade that I do not; Vicki had the FIRST personal computer in her hospital, and was sent to IBM programing school to learn how to write basic programs for its use. An original “propeller head!”

 Vicki recently joined forces with the Morrisey Company; heading up their new medical staff consulting service, as well as providing content guidance for enhancements to the popular Morrisey credentialing and privileging software package used by hospitals around the country.  Vicki explained that she is developing criteria for both clustered and stand-alone privileges, as well as working with the programmers to incorporate tracking methodologies for both OPPE and FPPE.  (Ongoing professional performance evaluation and focused professional performance evaluation for those who do not “speak credential.”)

Vicki and I talked about the profession of medical staff services/administration; its history, where it stands today, and where we believe it’s heading.  Forty years ago hospitals hired medical staff secretaries, who often functioned far beyond the normal scope of a secretarial role, and who in general learned to be “the woman behind the doctor.”  It’s been a learning process over the years to change that perception, both internally and externally. 

Individuals attracted to this field are often highly organized, utilize excellent project management skills, are politically savvy, and exhibit a high degree of emotional intelligence. Those traits provide a solid foundation for the work of today’s Medical/Professional Staff Department, which often functions as a central communication hub for the organization. Credentialing professionals work with senior leadership to ensure that only competent, safe practitioners are permitted to provide patient care.  And that determination is ongoing; there is no such thing as “once privileged always privileged” in healthcare.

 Because the rules and standards that apply to the work of medical staff service professionals are in a continual state of flux, ongoing education is a necessity. To that end Vicki shared with me yet another of her many concurrent projects.  (I began to wonder when she finds time to sleep!)  She is partnering with Hugh Greeley and HG Health Consultants to provide an upcoming education program called The Credentials Experience, which will be held in Chicago on April 2-3, 2009.  I asked why MSSP’s should choose this particular conference, and was told that attendees can expect content that is on point and realistic.  Presentations are being planned with the goal of offering limited theory and considerable practical application.  Vicki and HG Health Consultants hope that teams of physicians and medical staff service professionals will attend together, as they have found that team attendance facilitates both learning and change.  An additional benefit is a six-month period of follow-up via eResources, eConsultation and eNewsletter. 

If you don’t get the opportunity to attend The Credentials Experience, Vicki will also be speaking at this year’s annual NAMSS Conference being held in Reno, NV in October.  Her topics include Criteria Based Privileging and Using Best Practices to Set up a CVO.

If you’d like to contact Vicki, she can be reached at

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Last month the Cleveland Clinic announced an affiliation with the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in Las Vegas.  The goal of the newly named Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is to prevent the disabling symptoms of chronic brain diseases and to prolong healthy vital aging in people at risk for dementia or cognitive disorders.

Larry Ruvo established the Keep Memory Alive Foundation in honor of his father Lou, who died of Alzheimer's Disease.  Last week Siegfried and Roy staged a brief farewell performance as part of a charity fundraiser for the Keep Memory Alive Foundation and the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

In addition to the buzz created in both the Cleveland and Las Vegas health communities, considerable comment has been stirred by the Frank Gehry building design.

Individuals involved in healthcare in both communities will be watching to see where this collaboration leads.