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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2-Year Anniversary, Part 1: Celebrating What We’ve Accomplished

 

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The Power of Habit

How’s that New Year’s resolution going so far? Still carrying those extra 10, 15 or 20 pounds?

Certainly, if we resolve to do something and put all of our effort behind it, we should be able to do it, right? This type of “free will” is a great part of our traditional view of how we change or conduct our lives and business.

Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that.

I recently read an opinion piece by David Brooks in the New York Times that highlighted a book written by Charles Duhigg called “The Power of Habit.” In the book, Duhigg, who’s also a reporter at the Times, explores research about how our habits determine our actions.

As much as we think free will overcomes all, much of our actions and behaviors are driven by unconscious habits. Duhigg notes that researchers at Duke University calculated that 40% of our actions are governed by habit, not by conscious decisions.

So much for free will!

According to Brooks’ article, researchers have also come to know the structure of habits. Cue, routine, reward is how habits become ingrained.

Duhigg highlights several examples of how people have learned to replace bad habits with good ones, or create new habits.

From the routine use of toothpaste to football coaches creating practice drills to Starbucks baristas, creation of habits will dictate how one responds to a situation even more quickly and routinely.

Changing your neural network not merely based on forming routine or common triggers. These are instead fortified by emotions and strong desires, like the commitment to a higher purpose or gaining admiration.

What does this have to do with Henry Ford Hospital? 

We are going through a world class service training exercise called by the mnemonic, AIDET (Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, Thanks).

The habit that we wish to create is a common greeting and dialogue that forms the basis of our service culture.

I have heard from many that say they already do this in their patient interactions. Me too, except sometimes I do A, I and E, or I, D and T, but not the habit of routinely doing all the elements. I have a hunch you are no different. Continue reading

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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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One Kleenex Made a Lasting Impression

As I was leaving the hospital the other day, I started thinking about first impressions.

I know it may sound somewhat odd, but perhaps thinking backward is the best way to explain it.

I really believe that the initial impression of a hospital is so extraordinarily important; first impressions leave a lasting impression on a patient.

I was once told a story about a patient who went to one of the top academic medical centers in the country for complex cardiac surgery.

The surgery was successful and the care was great.

But a Kleenex is what left a lasting impression on the patient.

Continue reading

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