It’s all about Heart Health

A friend and classmate of mine passed away this weekend of a heart attack. He was a retired officer of the Indian Armed Forces and fought the good fight against terrorists as part of his mission. Both his parents were in the armed forces and met, I understand when his mother, a doctor, tended to his father’s war wounds. I guess the “Nightingale Effect” then occurred. An unsung hero, he will be missed by his friends and family. His passing did strike close to home, as my own late father passed away over 30 years ago at the same age as my friend and even though we thought that there were no symptoms at that time, he must have been experiencing these for a while and passed away suddenly. The time that he could have been saved though were altered as I recall seeing and hearing the Hong Kong Police Officer come in and interview him while the ambulance was on it’s way (to presumably make sure that he was really having a heart attack) during his heart attack; precious minutes lost. Although some heart attacks can be sudden and intense like the one my Dad went through, most heart attacks begin slowly, with mild pain and symptoms. Knowing the symptoms can help save your life.

The warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest discomfort – An uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  • Discomfort in other areas of your upper body – Can include pain or discomfort in one or both of your arms or your back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath – With or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs – The other signs may also include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, arm numbness or extreme fatigue.

Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, call 911 or the equivalent in your country — make sure that don’t drive. Fast action can save your life or someone else’s. When you call 911/Emergency, paramedics can start providing care and let the Emergency Department know they’re on the way.

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Interoperability: The Holy Grail of Healthcare – The Conference that you need to be at

It’s not too late to register for the CSO HIMSS Fall Conference “Interoperability: The Holy Grail of Healthcare” on October 13th at the Savannah Center in West Chester, OH.

It’s a day filled with awesome networking, education, community engagement and interesting sessions that pulls in individuals from different provider organizations around the region. Don’t forget the prizes at the end of the day that many people have won from both CSO HIMSS and the 24 sponsors we have this year supporting our community.

Every year, we have interesting and thought provoking speakers that give you a glimpse of what providers do in the 21st century healthcare ecosystem. We have been fortunate that our community has been engaged and enthusiastic when it comes to participation at our events. I look forward to seeing many of you there to connect and reconnect. Check out the agenda at http://wp.me/p1XSxy-ks and register now. The keynotes are awesome; from Lisa Esch Chief Population Health Innovation Officer from DXC, formerly CSC flying in from Colorado and Stew Wolfe Associate Principal Cisco Global Security from Cisco, coming in from Canada to present to our community. See you there to grab the world of healthcare IT and take it to the next level!

 

The ABC of Healthcare is split and sold!

In healthcare news this week, it was announced that The Advisory Board Company agrees to be acquired for $2.58 billion dollars. The news on Tuesday this week that this stalwart of healthcare consulting and advisory services, with an estimated *5,700 healthcare organizations as clients, was being purchased by Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group surprised many, including yours truly. The merger is expected to be finalized by the end of 2017.

The Press Release here mentions details of the sale. It is understood that Advisory Board chief executive, Robert Musslewhite will head the combined healthcare advisory services after the merger is completed.

*Source – Washington Post, 8/29/17

CSO HIMSS Fall Conference 2017

For those of you that follow this blog, you’ll be happy to hear that the Central & Southern Ohio HIMSS Chapter’s Fall 2017 conference on October 13th at the Savannah Center in West Chester OH is all about our favorite topic.

The title is “Interoperability: The Holy Grail of Healthcare.” Register here for Early Registration discounts. See you there!

Physician Burnout! A disturbing trend

Burnout1

Since my last post about my late Grandfather, I didn’t have the motivation to write; but then I thought about all of the times he encouraged me to write, it reminded me to follow my passion, so here I am with my thoughts again, this time on the disturbing trend of Physician Burnout.

Physician BurnoutOver the last 7 years since the time of the “Great EMR Implementations”, we have always discussed physicians retiring because they did not want to learn technology and use the EMR. I put it down to older physicians not keeping up with the times. I’m not so sure about that anymore.  The reason being that one of my friends who is a physician went through a very visible burnout episode that surprised everyone recently. She said that she was working until the middle of the night trying to keep up with documentation and it finally became too overwhelming for her to take. This surprised me tremendously. This wasn’t something that happened to younger, more savvier physicians…or so I thought. IBurnout2n a June 29th, 2017 article in the Harvard Business Review, points such as loneliness at work is also a factor that is identified as the reason for burnout (it doesn’t discuss physician burnout in particular though). Similarly, in a June 22nd article in Time Magazine, titled “Doctor’s on Life Support”, it starts by saying that “Doctors are stressed, burned out, depressed, and when they suffer, so do their patients. Inside the movement to save the mental health of America’s doctors“. The  signs of stress are evident. IT departments can and should do more to collaborate with clinic practices and primary care and specialties to help develop efficiency within the every day use of technology. Technology “A-Teams” should be identified to work with their physicians, understand the challenges that they are facing, whether in the EMR, wireless “dead zones” in clinics that drop the connection, old laptops and PCs that need to be updated, that sometimes may mistakenly be attributed to an EMR deficiency or other areas where the process can be smoother for the physician and/or clinic staff.

All of us as Healthcare Information Technology professionals needs to bear in mind that we need to do all we can do reduce and eliminate physician burnout and improve the processes for the physician so that we can enable them use technology for better, faster and more efficient patient care. The burden of EMR documentation should be lessened and, at the end of the day, it will be the patient that will gain and the quality of care will increase with a happier, less stressed, care provider.