A World Without Waits or Waste

Re: "Patients Waiting: Wasteful to Some, Valuable to Others" by Marty Stempniak in H&HN Daily, Oct. 7

All waiting is a waste. Period. Some waits are simply more tolerable than others but, in the end, it is a nonvalue process step — and there, it is waste. Every minute a customer is actively in the system pursuing some sort of treatment or care should be a value-add to their experience and outcome.

Moving a person to a different room to wait for the next process step is nothing more than putting the waste on a conveyor belt to the next phase. I wonder, if these rooms were called waste rooms [whether] we would be so willing to accept this norm. Using these times as an opportunity to parallel process is a great step toward accomplishing the goal of "every minute is value-add." The example of teaching is a great one, as long as the materials are necessary and valuable to the patient. Simply playing a smoking cessation video on the TV in the waiting room that isn't relevant for the nonsmokers in the room adds no more value than continuously playing the "Airplane!" movie. It may be entertaining and distracting, but, ultimately, it's a waste of time for the patient.

Imagine a health care world without waste. What could be accomplished with the square footage currently dedicated to this nonactivity?

Linda S. Gaul, R.N., CCS
Senior clinical data outcomes coordinator
Navion Healthcare Solutions

Behind the Curve

Re: "Capital Planning in the Next Health Care" by Joe Flower in H&HN Daily, Sept. 24

The dramatic shift from an illness-driven model to a wellness-promoting model is well-articulated in your article. However, I was left somewhat baffled by the last patient population you discussed: those who have high deductibles (who will behave as uninsured) and uninsured persons. I think you are underestimating this segment of the population that is going to make a connection with health care organizations when they are well into the disease process. Many of these individuals may also lack the technological infrastructure and/or basic living conditions in their homes/communities to support the level of in-home care described. Finally, I am always amazed that those of us in the health care industry see these dramatic (understated) changes in delivery systems very clearly. Unfortunately, the consuming public has a HUGE learning curve and a set of expectations that will not [have changed] on Oct. 1, 2013. What are we going to do to address this oncoming locomotive?

Tim Bevelacqua

Beyond Antibiotics

Re: "Jenny McCarthy Could Help Save Health Care by Fighting Overuse of Antibiotics" by Paul Barr in H&HN Daily, Sept. 25

The issue of overprescribing or inappropriate prescribing of antibiotic therapy is well in the past, but, unfortunately, the damage has been done. The public needs education on the importance of completing antibiotic therapy as prescribed in its entirety in relation to the issue of antibiotic-resistant infectious agents.

What really needs public awareness is the importance of healthy living and preventive measures [related to] junk food and fast food, inactivity related to the development of obesity in all generations and especially relative to the development of diabetes, heart and kidney disease — the metabolic syndrome.

Jeanine Ostrowski

Someplace to Heal

Re: "N.J. System Promoting Arts for Better Health" by Paul Barr in H&HN Daily, Oct. 9

One of our hospitals has a wonderful program called "Art for Healing." It is not a class to teach art; rather, it is a place where individuals come to express themselves through art. Art for Healing provides patients, families and community members an opportunity to experience the healing benefits that may come from creative expression. The center is also open to those who just want to come into a quiet and reflective space to read, pray or have a quiet conversation with others. In FY 2013, the program had 3,549 participants. Of those participants, 590 were hospital patients.

Eileen Barsi
Dignity Health
San Francisco