Re: “Consumerism Hits Health Care” by Lola Butcher in February H&HN

Thanks Lola and all for the consumer perspective on how health care providers must reorient their services to meet reasonable customer expectations. As we all know, this can be easier said than done, especially when we consider the people and IT processes that must adapt quickly to support the required Big Data analytics. We find that the most successful health care providers invest in automated, repeatable data integration processes; educate their line workers about data collection requirements; and keep their data repository as flexible as possible for future needs.

— Kevin Petrie, Attunity

Want Physician Buy-In? Listen Up

Re: “Four Ways to Gain Physician Buy-In” by Dan Malloy in H&HN Daily, April 2

From my years of experience in working to engage physicians, what I have seen is too much of an emphasis on telling them what to do rather than listening to their concerns and seeking their input and involvement in process redesign. Given the growing stress, dissatisfaction and burnout in today’s health care environment, we need to work more closely with our physicians, encourage their input and involvement, and provide the necessary education and support to help them adjust better to the pressures of today’s complex medical environment. This will require a multipronged approach that includes efforts to raise awareness and understanding, provide appropriate education and training, increase opportunities for physician input and discussion, and to be able to provide them with appropriate administrative, behavioral and career support. Organizations need to take a proactive approach and not leave it up to the physicians themselves to take the necessary steps before an unwanted crisis occurs.

— Alan Rosenstein, M.D.

Manage Meds, Cut Readmissions

Re: “A Hybrid Approach to Avoiding Readmissions” by Steven Counsell, M.D., in H&HN Daily, April 9

I agree, managing care transitions offers significant opportunities for hospitals and carriers to effect positive outcomes for patients post-discharge. Providing these services can help to keep patients recovering safely and comfortably at home and potentially reduce readmissions. At Comprehensive Pharmacy Services, we've taken this hybrid approach one step further by pairing a pharmacist with a nurse practitioner. Ineffective medication management, including reduced medication adherence and patient misunderstanding of medication regimens, is a significant cause of readmissions. By pre-empting [those] issues, we've seen readmissions for at-risk patients drop to below 5 percent at an ambulatory care discharge clinic that we help to manage for a Midwestern hospital. Having direct pharmacist involvement gives patients a clearer understanding of their medication regimen and of the importance of adhering to their medications as prescribed. Pharmacists are uniquely trained to provide these tools to help patients manage their health conditions effectively at home.

— Steven Silverstein, PharmD, BCPS
Pharmacy Health Systems Director
Comprehensive Pharmacy Services

Understanding Joe's Specific Needs

Re: “Did Good Intentions Hasten Joe’s Death?” by Bill Santamour in H&HN Daily, April 7

The facility may have had a rule regarding socialization at meals, but we do not know what alternatives to eating in one's room were recommended by staff or requested by the resident. He may never have asked for an exemption, but staff should have been cognizant of his limitations, had a private conversation with Joe and made appropriate accommodation.

— M. Bennet Broner, Ph.D.

An Economic Engine

Re: Datadig: 2013 Economic Boost in April H&HN

The numbers have been known to be high, but $2.6 trillion dollars contributed by hospitals to the U.S. economy is amazingly high. And 5.6 million jobs is a strong workforce in health care. In 2014 and 2015, these numbers should be even higher, given the ACA and changes with reform.

— Rajat Dhameja