What Your Boss May Not Be Telling You

Is your boss happy with your work?  If you think he or she must be because “no news is good news” you may be so wrong.  As Alison Green reveals in 10 Things Your Boss Isn’t Telling You, bosses are human and some of them avoid conflict, even when having a difficult conversation is called for. 

If you manage employees, you know that it is a challenging task. Even if your team is great, keeping them educated, motivated and focused requires energy and effort. If you have one or more problem employees, the effort required increases exponentially.

Dr. Frank Benest reminds employees that they must work to understand their supervisor’s communication style in Communicating With Your Boss

“To enhance communications, you need to figure out how your boss prefers to communicate. Is your manager informal or formal? Does your boss like for staff to simply pop into her office with a new idea or make an appointment? Does your manager like to talk about an idea first, or does she prefer to get a memo or email first, read it, and then talk about the issue? …”

Good communication is a key component of all successful relationships, both personal and professional.

Shhh – Silent Hospitals Help Healing

When you have overnight guests in your home, chances are you do all you can to make their stay as comfortable as possible.  In a sense, patients are guests in our “house,” but often they find their overnight accommodations anything but comfortable and restful.

Hospitalized patients often complain “How am I supposed to sleep when…”

My room is close to the nurse’s station and it sounds like a party all night

Keeping in mind that caregivers are human, and humans sometimes talk or laugh loudly, the built-in conflict is obvious.  The patient may be sleepy, but those who work the night shift are trying hard not to be.

I got a new roommate at 2:00 a.m.

Just try sleeping through furniture rearranging, conversation, and of course the obligatory stamping of multiple documents, causing the addressograph machine to be enthusiastically wacked down 25 times out at the nurse’s station.

Carts and equipment squeak up and down the hallway at all hours

My roommate:  (The list is daunting… )

    • Snores
    • Coughs / cries / moans / wanders all night
    • Watches television all night
    • Talks on the phone all night
    • Entertains visitors all night
    • Et., etc.

And who can blame the poor patient?  Everyone agrees that a sojourn to the hospital is anything but restful.  Since our goal is to help patients heal and improve patient satisfaction, what can be done?

Noise Reduction Strategies

  • Install glass around the nurse’s station so the noise reaching patient rooms is minimized
  • Mount sound monitors on the wall that display alerts when noise levels rise
  • Limit overhead and room to room paging
  • Set cell phones and pagers to vibrate
  • Turn down ringers on unit phones
  • Consider piping in white noise during the evening to help mask other sounds
  • Ask maintenance to ensure that all those wheely things going up and down the hallways move quietly, and that doors in patient areas do not bang shut.
  • Give patients headphones for their television sets
  • Offer ear plugs
  • Keep the addressograph machine in an enclosed area – or better yet, use labels on documents for new admissions during the night.
  • While most hospitals are establishing more liberal visitor policies, those policies need to allow enforcement of an expectation of consideration, especially in semi-private rooms and common areas
  • Appoint unit champions to come up with additional noise reduction strategies for their area
  • Place signs on patient floors reminding staff and visitors to use their “inside” voices  – reminders do  help since many people simply don’t realize they are being loud

Sleep deprived people are crabby people; let’s do our best to make everyone’s life a little better by offering any consideration we can to help our patients get the rest they need.

Grand Rounds is up at Health Business Blog

David Williams of Health Business Blog is our host for this week’s edition of Grand Rounds, the weekly compiliation of the best of medical blogosphere.  This week we’re learning about meaningful use and accountable care – two of the hottest topics in healthcare. 

David included a post from Supporting Safer Healthcare and tagged it “the stone age of medical blogging.”  He’s right;  there were few blogging platforms available in 2004 and 2005 when he and I joined this brave new world of social media.  Medical bloggers often wrote insightful, witty and educational posts in squinty Times New Roman font with no paragraph breaks. 

I forsee a wonderful opportunity to bore the younger generation with woeful tales of how tough it was “back in the day”  to produce a meaningful, accountable, blog while avoiding the horrors of broken html.  

Stop over at the Health Business Blog for a taste of both old and new.


Social Media’s Faces to Follow in Healthcare

Fierce Health IT recently published 11 Faces to Follow in Healthcare Social Media

Most healthcare organizations now use social media as part of their marketing strategy; some more effectively than others.  Many, if not all of the individuals on the Fierce Health IT list were early social media adapters.  I know that because I have connections through this blog to four of them. 

Supporting Safer Healthcare (originally called MSSPNexus) was established in 2004.  Medical blogging in the early days was a heady experience.  The number of medical bloggers was small, and we often found ourselves connecting through shared interests and through Grand Rounds, a weekly collection of medical posts started that same year by Nick Genes, MD, of Blogborygmi.com

 In 2005 a few of us had the pleasure of being interviewed by an early podcaster, and #3 on the Fierce Health List Kent Bottles.  Kent asked leading questions and made the experience of a 20 minute telephone interview fairly easy. 

Number 5 on the list is Ves Dimov.  Dr. Dimov and I worked at the Cleveland Clinic at the same time.  He is the founder of one of the most popular clinical blogs on the web, CasesBlog.  Ves pushed us all to use technology in new ways through his innovative use of the latest gadgets and software.

Kevin Pho of KevinMD  fame comes in at #8. Dr. Pho started his blog in 2005.  From the beginning he was a prolific poster; we all wondered how he managed to fit in his “day job” of practicing medicine.  Kevin has always had a unique wisdom about how to manage and market his blog, and today his is one of the most well-read and often-quoted blogs online. 

I would say that #9, Mike Sevilla is a fellow Ohioan, but since I recently moved to Pennsylvania we no longer share a state.  Dr. Sevilla authors Family Medicine Rocks, which is primarily a video blog.  He was among the first to make extensive use of video casting on his site, even when he wrote as Dr. Anonymous.  It didn’t take long for the medical credentialers (me) and others to figure out Dr. Anonymous’ true identity from the clues he scattered through his posts.  Dr. Anonymous did a bit of soul searching and then began writing and posting videos under his own name. 

Blogs were “cutting edge” social media back in 2004.  Since then Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and others have captured our imaginations and increasingly short attention spans.  I don’t post here as often as I used to, but I just can’t bring myself to give up my little corner of the web.  On those occasions when an important story needs to be told, or I just find myself yearning to put thoughts to pixel, I like knowing there’s a place I can call home.

Congratulations to each of you on the Fierce Health IT list – through you and others like you, humans will continue to find new ways to communicate through technology.

Medical Staff Services Awareness Week, 2011

All it takes is one fraudulent or unqualified practitioner on your staff to bring enormous harm to both patients and your organization’s hard-earned reputation.

And sometimes, all it takes to keep them off your staff is one dedicated, qualified medical staff services professional.

November 6-12 is National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week.  If you work in healthcare, take a moment to recognize the work of the individuals who manage your credentialing and privileging process, as well as facilitate the work of the medical staff organization.  The work they do, along with medical and administrative staff leaders, helps keep your patients and your organization safe every day. 


Grief Will Come Soon Enough

She faced the worst of all enemies; the impending death of someone dearly loved.  She knew that her son would soon leave behind not only loving parents, but a lovely wife and young child.  There was precious little time left.

The enemy proved victorious, although with faith she looks to a time when even those chains will be broken. 

When asked later for advice in dealing with this most heart-rending of futures she replied, “Don’t live your life in anticipation of death.   Grief will come soon enough.  For now, live each day full of love and appreciation for just today.”


Radio Interview – Improving Patient Experience

Lisa Venn, JD, MA, author of “Improving Patient Experience:  50 Things Every Advocate Must Know,” a nationally recognized speaker and owner of Advocate Alliance, was interviewed on the popular “Coping with Caregiving” Internet radio program on Saturday, October 15th.  Listen online to the recorded program.  

Lisa shared tips on protecting patient rights and resolving patient concerns.

Based on twenty years’ experience as an attorney and patient advocate, Lisa believes that knowledgeable advocates can empower patients to make informed health care decisions, avoid medical errors, privacy violations, identity theft, billing fraud and property loss.

New Perspectives on Transfusion from HHS

Findings of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability, June 8, 2011:

  • Blood transfusion carries significant risk that may outweigh its benefits in some settings and add unnecessary costs.
  • Wide variability in use of transfusions indicates that there is both excessive and inappropriate use of blood transfusions in the U.S.
  • Medical advances and aging of the population are expected to drive demands for transfusions that could exceed supplies in one to two decades.
  • Improvements in rational use of blood have lagged behind improvements in the quality and safety of the products.
  • Additional data on blood utilization and clinical outcomes are needed to identify gaps in knowledge.
  • Programs at some hospitals have demonstrated significant reduction in blood use without increase in patient harm, based on expert decision-making