Relationships in Medicine

“Anything happen in your day? Anything new happening at work?”

After an extended deliberate process by leadership of Beaumont Health System and our own, Henry Ford Health System, leadership of both organizations announced a plan Wednesday to begin exclusive negotiations to create a new organization merging our operations into a new organization, to serve as a new model of health care delivery.

From left: Beaumont CEO Gene Michalski; HFHS CEO Nancy Schlichting; Beaumont CMO Dr. Ananias Diokno; Me; HFHS Board of Trustees Chair Sandy Pierce; and Beaumont Board of Trustees Chair Steve Howard at Wednesday’s press conference.

The Boards for Henry Ford and Beaumont approved a letter of intent to develop this new organization, and to enter a period of negotiations and due diligence to determine how best to bring the systems together. The goal is to create a definitive agreement for approval in the first half of 2013.

So when we go home and our spouse asks what happened at work today, we can say something more than, “Nothing, really.”

Here are comments I shared at the press conference announcing this event…

Medicine and health care create strong relationships.

Through those relationships, Henry Ford has had a long history of collaborating with Beaumont on patient care, education and research.

Many Beaumont physicians and my colleagues, including me, cared for patients together, patients who received their health care in both systems, systems with histories of clinical strength and deeply shared values.

Combining these two national leaders in clinical excellence and patient safety will transform our focus from not only healing the sick but to keeping people and our communities healthy.

The prospect of what we can do together for patients is exciting, especially opportunities to improve population health through quality, safety, integration and premier clinical programs.

This partnership can provide:

  • A comprehensive service offering to our patients with ample coverage throughout the full spectrum of medical specialties,  as well as
  • Greater access to care with broad selection of clinical sites close to home wherever you live in Southeastern Michigan.

With the installation to the EPIC electronic medical record throughout Henry Ford, both Beaumont and Henry Ford will have a common integrated medical record across all clinical sites.

  • With a common electronic medical record, patients will always be treated by a clinician who knows their history, no matter which site they visit, because their patient records will be at the clinician’s fingertips.
  • This common electronic record enhances patient safety, reduces duplication of test and services, and increase patient satisfaction.

Today’s announcement follows months of study and deliberation by both organizations on how to continue their nationally recognized industry leadership in the face of the changing health care environment. Continue reading

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Rallying the Detroit Food Trucks

I was looking at an email blast last July promoting the 20th Anniversary of the Concert of Colors at the Max M. Fisher Music Center.

Rather than being drawn to the great artists like the Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue, Tito Puentes and George Clinton, I immediately looked at the Detroit-based food trucks that would be attending the concerts.

You can see how Maslow’s hierarchy works in the Popovich brain: Physiological needs (food, drink), stop there.

You also know that I love the past, and food trucks make me think of the great experiences I had when I was younger, in a distant century, far, far away.

Trucks like “the ice cream truck.” Ice cream just tasted better after running headlong to the curb and waving down the driver who looked like Steve Buscemi on a bad day.  Creamsicle, ice cream sandwiches – wow!

Or, seeing the food trucks outside of the auto plants (my grandfather called them “car shops”), serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner. Big men, gathered around the truck, to get coffee, donuts, sandwiches and the latest gossip before going on or off shift.

So the convergence of these needs, memories and Detroit-based pride created the idea: Henry Ford Hospital Food Truck Rally.

After a bit of thought and negotiation, our first rally happened on a cool, crisp fall day on the tennis courts on our hospital campus.

It’s not every day you can walk outside for lunch and enjoy some of Detroit’s finest, homemade food truck cuisine: spinach pierogi, braised beef short rib tacos, cookie monster ice cream and lightly fried dill pickle spears calledfrickles.”

While the above mentioned foods are certainly not on my published list of essential food groups for hospital employees, I may be willing to modify that previous pyramid to include the culinary delights of People’s Pierogi Collective, Treat Dreams, Concrete Cuisine and Jacques’ Tacos. Continue reading

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To Colbert, With Love from Detroit

An invitation to Stephen Colbert to come to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit

Dear Mr. Colbert:

I am a particular fan of your political commentary. You appear to be much more insightful than other television personalities, such as Bill O’Reilly and Rachel Maddow, although both of them seem to interject greater humor into their shows.

What I do like is your emphasis on Detroit in your comments. I particularly like the way in which you use satire to emphasize the great aspects of this city. Bravo!

See more great photos of Detroit, like the one posted above at HFH, on Facebook.

Clearly, your admiration of our city is drawing you and your entourage to “The D.” I heard several Detroiters had created a light-hearted and fun social media group called “Colbert Does Detroit (and so can you!)” aimed at bringing Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” and you to Detroit.

I felt it was a great opportunity for me to invite you to Henry Ford Hospital to show our pride in the flagship of the Baldrige Award winning Henry Ford Health System and for the city that’s been our home since 1915.

We are in Midtown, where young people are moving in record numbers, revitalizing this part of the city, which includes Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Institute of Arts, Orchestra Hall, the Detroit Public Library, and numerous other cultural and social sites.

So, Mr. Colbert, I know you want to come to Detroit to experience these great things first hand, but perhaps need a bit more prompting.  You have an open invitation to come visit us.

Sincerely,

Dr. John Popovich, Jr.
CEO and President
Henry Ford Hospital

By the way, Henry Ford Hospital loves Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” Really talented and funny guy!  Please give him our best!

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Always a Tiger

BELIEVE: Go Tigers!

OK, I will admit it.

I thought I could not watch the fifth game of the ALCS after the game four heartbreak.  I rationalized it in many ways: Too late, too tired for the early morning meeting on Friday, what happens happens.

It actually is simply because I couldn’t take the emotional wringing.  My television was in danger of damage from objects I was throwing.

I know I have been told that this is simply not something that a man of my age and responsibilities should feel; a childhood game having that kind of hold.

Then Justin Verlander took the mound, and it clicked on – it was not too late, I will not be tired, and, as I have said on many occasions in this blog, I BELIEVE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been following the Tigers for over 50 years.

I learned to love them from my Mom putting me to sleep with the transistor radio tuned to Ernie Harwell and George Kell.

Seen them in Briggs Stadium, then Tiger’s Stadium, and now Comerica Park.  Shared every victory and endured every loss. Continue reading

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Waiting to Live Campaign

Did you know that roughly one-third of the more than 3,000 Michigan residents waiting for organ transplants live in Wayne County, yet only 25 percent of the county’s adults are registered organ, tissue and eye donors?

(By comparison, more than 37 percent of adults statewide and about 43 percent nationally are registered as donors.)

That’s a tremendous gap, one that our partner in organ donation, Gift of Life Michigan, hopes to close through its new ad campaign, “Waiting to Live – Wayne County.”

The campaign features five Wayne County residents – two of whom are Henry Ford Transplant Institute patients – all waiting for life-saving organ transplants.

Henry Ford Hospital has pledged our support to this campaign and our community by asking residents to consider adding their names to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, a confidential database of people who want to give the gift of life.

I should also note that the Henry Ford Transplant Institute has joined Gift of Life Michigan, the Michigan Eye-Bank, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and the Donate Life Coalition of Michigan to add one million names to the Michigan organ donor registry too.

As I’ve said before, transplantation of human organs is one of the great accomplishments of modern medical science.

Although still requiring lifelong care with medications and oversight, the transformation of patients, from failing organs to full of life, is truly remarkable. Continue reading

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Border-to-Border Teamwork Gets Patient Back on the Ice

Earlier this year, I shared a story about Jaime McDermott, the Leamington Flyer assistant coach who crossed the border for life-saving surgery for an ascending aortic aneurism at Henry Ford Hospital.

And I’m not just bringing up this story again because it’s an opportunity to talk about hockey while we await the return of our players to Hockeytown.

Mr. McDermott returned this week to Leamington District Memorial Hospital, to celebrate his incredible recovery and thank the staff there and the staff at Henry Ford Hospital – the two teams that worked together to ensure he would remain a vibrant husband, father, coach, and member of the Leamington community.

This story stands as great example of our relationship with the Canadian health care system. Henry Ford Hospital is ready to provide the best of care to the sickest of patients when alternatives cannot be provided from Canadian resources.

Following Mr. McDermott’s recovery, I sent a letter to Terry Shields, the acting-CEO of Leamington District Memorial Hospital.

In it, I wrote about what we often refer to as the “Miracles on the Boulevard.” These miracles are the product of many individuals, from first responders, to emergency personnel, to transporters, to customs agents, to the treating surgeons, physicians, and nurses.

The story behind the diagnosis, treatment, and eventual dramatic recovery is a tribute to all of these individuals, who, if there was delay or misstep in any part of the process, would not have created the opportunity for Mr. McDermott to be celebrated today. Continue reading

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Transporting Service Excellence

Whether it’s an inpatient arriving for an x-ray or CT scan, or a patient coming in for a routine clinic appointment, getting patients comfortably and safely from Point A to Point B is a vital component of the patient care experience at Henry Ford Hospital.

And if you’ve seen our team of patient transporters in action, you know it’s not an easy job.

Give it a try someday.

From moving a patient safely out of bed, to negotiating too narrow doorways, to maneuvering beds, gurneys or wheelchairs through the maze of corridors and crowded hallways, all while keeping the patient calm and relaxed and ensuring the patient receives a smooth and timely ride to the next destination in their treatment of care.

Have you ever tried just walking through the main hallway during the lunch hour or walking the patient floors during the height of morning patient care and rounding?

Imagine trying to weave through that crowd with a patient, equipment and a gurney.

The job of a patient transporter is essential to the everyday activity of clinicians too.

That’s why I wanted to highlight the important (and at times overlooked) role of the patient transporter, by taking a walk in the shoes of Willard Robinson.

Willard has been with the System for more than 20 years. He’s also someone I consider a “legacy employee,” because his mother also worked many years for the hospital.

Like many of our employees, Willard goes out of his way to ensure he not only does his job, but puts his patients first. Continue reading

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Celebrating An Amazing Ride

The Tour de Ford event concluded last Sunday on a glorious late summer afternoon.

I want to personally thank the organizers, the volunteers, the sponsors, and the riders from all parts of the System and community for making this such an incredible event.

The ride along Belle Isle on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012

In the third year of the Tour, we had over 500 riders and raised over $50,000 for the Tom Groth Patient Medical Needs Fund, which provides health care, medication, medical supplies and social services to underinsured patients at Henry Ford.

My wife and I rode the “35-mile” route, which according to my GPS was 38.45 miles.

We had a great ride through Eastern Market, down the Dequindre Cut, over to the Riverfront, east to the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle, a quick spin around the island, back to Jefferson, Indian Village, The Pointes and a welcome rest stop at our Cottage facility.

Did a banana, orange slice and water ever taste better?

Back on the bike, westward to Midtown and finally the Henry Ford Hospital Campus, where our great friends from Subway provided the lunch, and drinks, including some great Michigan ale from Rochester Mills Brewery, were a plenty.

Lots of celebration of the ride, the day and each other.

In all:

  • 3 hours in the saddle
  • 2,048 calories burned
  • average heart rate of 129, and
  • average moving speed of 12.0 mph

Continue reading

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Ready to Ride: Tour de Ford

Henry Ford hosts numerous fun and generous philanthropic events, but there’s one “grass-roots” effort that really stands out from the rest: Tour de Ford.

Tour de Ford was started by two cycling enthusiasts who also happen to be Henry Ford ER physicians, Dr. Gerard Martin and Dr. Ronny Otero. This year’s event on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Henry Ford Hospital promises to the biggest and the best yet.

Tour de Ford is the perfect balance of fun and charity. This will be the third year I’ll be riding too, and I even got my wife to join me in the 35-mile route.

Unlike other rides, anybody can participate in the Tour de Ford (and you aren’t required to wear those spandex shorts or have a particularly fancy bike either).

If you aren’t able to do the 10-, 35-, or 70 -mile ride, the Tour de Ford offers volunteer opportunities so employees and community members alike can be involved.

While the event is a great opportunity to give back to the community, it simultaneously offers an amazing tour of Detroit.

Cyclists of all experience levels have the opportunity to tour some of the best sites of our city – Belle Isle, Eastern Market, the new CHASS facility and more – all while benefiting the Tom Groth Patient Medical Needs Fund, which provides health care, medication, medical supplies and social services to underinsured patients at Henry Ford. Continue reading

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