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Showing posts from April, 2012

What If All Hospitals Were Like Mercy - North Iowa?

It's my honor to be associated with Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, a Top 100 Hospital in the nation according to Thomson Reuters, a healthcare information firm.

Though I can't take any of the credit, having been here only a short while, this is the ninth year Mercy – North Iowa has been named to this list, making it the only Iowa hospital to have achieved this level of success. Furthermore, Mercy – North Iowa is one of only 15 hospitals in the nation to have made the list for nine or more years.

This award recognizes hospitals for being a reliable provider of high value and effective care to patients and the entire community.

According to Thomson Reuters research, the 100 Top Hospitals have higher survival rates, keep more patients complication-free, and have lower expenses — all while maintaining financial stability. Thomson Reuters Healthcare estimates that if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those in the 100 Top Hospitals:
More than 186,000 …

Rating 7.7 Million Meals To Learn...

...that we think pizza is WAY healthier than it really is! From Massive Health (via Forbes Magazine): "Massive Health Analyzes 1/2 Million Meals to Understand Our Eating Habits [Infographics]."
"Over the past 5 months, Massive Health has collected over 7.68 million food ratings from people in 50 countries through The Eatery, an iPhone app that helps users track and analyze their eating patterns. Today, they are releasing some of their key findings about when people eat, where people eat, what they eat, and who they eat with, as a series of infographics. For more information about the company and to see the infographic detailing at how people think they eat (and how healthy they actually eat) click here.
"Key Finding on When We EatWe eat 1.7 percent less healthy after each hour that passes in the dayBreakfast is the healthiest meal of the day. Dinner is 15.9 percent less healthyPeople who eat breakfast eat 12.3 percent healthier during the dayOn the weekend, we eat…

De-Bugging Starbucks

Today's story is about the power of social media and a global company's quick response.  From USA Today: "Starbucks de-bugs its menu offerings."

Recently, Starbucks began coloring its Strawberry Frappucinos with cochineal extract. Sounds innocent enough, except cochineal extract is made by crushing the shells of cochineal beetles. Bugs.

And so a vegan barista tipped off a vegan blogger who alerted PETA who.. .you get the idea.

And now that yummy pink color comes from lycopene, a natural, tomato-based extract. (Of course several species of beetles co-habitate with tomatoes, presumably making it into our food chain at some point, but that's another story for another day and another blogger.)
At least one consultant thinks Starbucks acted quickly and decisively. "That's pretty quick when it come to companies making major changes in ingredients," says management strategist Barbara Brooks. "They were aggressive and didn't set up a commission …

The News and Nothing But the News

Well, maybe a snide comment or two. In the news today:
Fox News: Hospitals are making progress in reducing the spread of care-related infections.Reuters and CBC News: Meanwhile, thanks to the vaccination-averse among us, cases of measles hit a 15-year high in 2011 and a whooping cough outbreak is expanding in Canada's Fraser Valley.WTVG: Another reason to exercise: lower Alzheimer's risk.And from the Commonwealth Fund (via U.S. News & World Report): "One in four working-age Americans went without health insurance for at least some time in 2011. And the majority of those people—nearly 70 percent—lacked coverage for more than a year..."Finally, from CBS News: researchers successfully grew hair on a bald mouse. So many things I could say, but for now I'll just thank all those researchers hard at work on such an important medical mystery. I mean, c'mon, why work on things like CANCER when there's toupee-wearing mice out there needing our help?

Graying America Gets Wired

...healthcare costs get slashed. Who says old folks don't use computers? From Reuters: "Graying America gets wired to cut healthcare costs"
...Marilyn Yeats, 79, is suffering from congestive heart failure and uses a personal healthcare computer, Connect, provided by the health insurer Humana Corp. She calls it My Little Nurse for helping her keep track of her blood pressure, weight, temperature and whether she is taking her medicines on time. "It rings me up every morning at 10 am, and there I am, on my machine measuring myself, and if I have gained weight, it asks me additional questions. I say it is like having your own nurse come into your house every day." said the Naples, Fla., resident. If these programs succeed, home technologies could help slash billions of dollars from the nation's $2.6 trillion healthcare bill by keeping elderly people in their homes for longer and out of expensive hospitals and nursing homes. Again, pay attention to the growing…

Taking Social Media Beyond Marketing

From InformationWeek.com: "Many Doctors Don't Take Social Media Beyond Marketing."

Good article with some interesting ideas. I fear our social media strategy has been a mile wide and an inch deep - all things to all people to put it another way. It's time to build useful communities and solve real problems. It's time to get very serious, very targeted, very outcomes-focused and very conversational.

It's time to think and act 'social,' and NOT like we're controlling the conversation (control that we've NEVER possessed, by the way. We just ACTED like we were in control, to our own detriment and that of our patients.) As a communications strategy, "I talk, you listen and do exactly what I say..." is a non-starter. So what should we do?
"Healthcare organizations in the United States should learn from their peers abroad and expand the use of social media beyond marketing functions, suggests a new report from technology consulting fi…