Driving Innovation (and an Electric Car) in Detroit

When I last met up with Frank Venegas, we were at the Detroit Institute of Arts talking about Frida Kahlo and her ties to Frank’s family, as well as Henry Ford Hospital.

Henry Ford Hospital also has something else in common with Frank and his company, Ideal Group:  a focus on innovation in Detroit.

One of Ideal Group’s customers, General Motors, is responsible for creating one of the bigger innovations to recently come out of Detroit – the Chevy Volt, a plug-in, range-extended electric vehicle with an on-board gasoline generator.

Not only did Frank show support for GM’s innovation by buying two Chevy Volts, he’s also been documenting his driving experience on his blog, “Frank’s V in the D.”

Frank’s even been handing the key fob (no keys needed for the Volt) to business colleagues in Detroit, giving them the chance to test-drive this game-changing product.

I recently had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of Frank’s Volt. (And, yes, it does comfortably seat someone taller than 6 ft.)

I thought that one of the best ways to really test the car’s electric charge and gas mileage – and continue the conversation about innovation – was to drive to a few Henry Ford sites in and around Detroit, where innovation is changing how we care for our patients.

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Day 3: The Complete Top 10 Health Care Issues in 2011 List

Here are the final three items on my list of the top things I expect to see in health care over the next year. 

I will stop at 10.

Which are on your mind? (Please post your comments, or your top 10 list below.)

 Top 10 List, Day 3:

1. Fight Over Health Care Reform
2. Transparency. Moving Toward Reporting Performance & Outcomes in Health Care
3. Organized Physician Practices (Can You Say Accountable Care Organizations?)
4. Health Care Amenities
5. Recruitment, Retention and Engagement
6. Declining Revenues
7. Reduction in Cost per Unit Service

8. Looking for Solutions Outside of Our Industry
. Health care has been slow to adopt business practice changes that other industries have used to be internationally competitive. 

Industrial re-engineering, relentless process improvement and management transformation will increasingly be used in hospitals beyond the usual inventory and production functions.

Benchmarking of performance will become more focused on best in class, not best in industry. (Think of the service expectations set by an excellent hotel versus a traditional hospital).

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You Have Spoken: The Essential Food Groups

The polls have closed and all the votes have been counted. 

Without question, in a year of the passage of the most radical reform in American health care since the Medicare act, the number one issue on the minds of health care workers is – hold the drum roll – food.

Salary, benefits, work conditions, and even the foremost of all issues, parking, all take a second seat to food: the fuel, the nutrients, the comfort, the indigestion. 

I am a bit surprised that comments about the initial food blog did not include defenders of the traditional fare eaten by hospital employees.  

No defense of the hidden benefits of transfats or the delight in eating a cheese burger in 24 seconds; no cry to maintain high body mass just in case of famine or being left abandoned for days on the Lodge service drive. 

No claim that the combination of white flour, cheese, pepperoni and tomato sauce actually promotes vascular health. 

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The Essential Food Groups for Hospital Employees

I will not claim to having performed an exhaustive study of the essential food groups that fuel the doctors, nurses and others working within a hospital. 

I have made several observations in the field as part of my due diligence and learning, and I feel comfortable sharing with you these elements, sans food pyramid.

The Essential Foods:

1. Donuts
2. Pizza
3. Coffee, Mountain Dew or other more exotic caffeinated energy beverages
4. Any fried food, most importantly French fries or chicken
5. Hamburgers
6. Chips, or high-fat, cheese-containing and/or salt-laden snacks

Preferably, meals are constructed to include at least three of the essential foods, fit into the pocket of a white coat, and can be eaten in less than four minutes. (Or, more scientifically, the intake rate of 12,000 calories per minute). 

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