Monday, September 21, 2015

Disruptive Behavior

Disruptive Behavior Can Change Outcomes
“Disruptive behavior” in healthcare is a fairly new term to explain medical professionals who may otherwise be called rude, arrogant and not easy to get along with. An article in USAToday describes disruptive doctors as a patient safety risk.  For many reasons they are a patient safety risk including that others won’t stand up to someone who is intimidating and probably bringing in money for the hospital or practice.
Arrogance, bullying and disruptive behavior is not only in the operating room.  It can be seen in meetings and in the board room. 
A few years ago, I was at a meeting with a number of high level medical professionals.  All who seemed to get a long and respect one another.  When one physician told a story of her caring for a patient and how the outcome affected her and can be important for others to learn from, another well respected physician, who didn’t agree that that experience should be counted as a “measurement” began to raise his voice and become argumentative and explain that she was wrong.  This physician was louder and much more aggressive to get his point across.  His comfort with his own behavior made me realize that this is not new.  I intervened and shared my displeasure.  When it was all over, the physician chairing the committee announced to the group of about 30 people, including the newcomers that it is wonderful that we can all share our thoughts and ideas in a conversation and still get along and be respectful.
I followed up in a letter to the leadership of this group, some who are deeply involved in “disruptive behavior” that this behavior was not respectful nor a conversation.  The physician who was telling her story was “attacked” (she admitted that to me).  Her colleague was rude, aggressive and being “disruptive”.  My letter was taken seriously and acted upon.
It is important that we, as patients are not afraid to speak up.  We MUST acknowledge that there are improvements being worked on in patient safety and improving the patient experience but it may never leave the c-suite.  If the information doesn’t get to the bedside, it is up to us, the patients and advocates working in patient safety to make sure patients and families feel supported when speaking up. 
If you feel disrespected by a sales person, auto mechanic or customer service representative, you have a choice to not return and give them your business.  The same holds true for medical professionals.  We can't live in a world thinking that we must tolerate behavior that makes us uncomfortable.  If they treat us, the patient that way, its probably affecting their work and their relationship with their team.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rating Doctors

North Shore-LIJ Health System Raises the Bar Once Again

North Shore-LIJ Health System is now posting ratings from patients on-line to help choose a physician. 

Now patients who use doctors affiliated with North Shore LIJ Health System can expect that their concerns - and compliments will be used as a tool to hold physicians accountable for patient relations.   How many times have you felt that your physician didn’t spend enough time with you to explain a new medication, a procedure or a diagnosis? This dialogue and communication between patient and physician is crucial to help in getting the best care possible and better outcomes.

The site is simple enough to use.  Go to the system website, type in doctor search and you can start narrowing down your search.  In one instance I went from 374 choices and by choosing my insurance narrowed it down further to 236 and then by hospital – if you have a favorite hospital, narrowed it down to 79 physicians practicing in the field I searched.

Although in the time I spent searching, I couldn’t find any negative comments.  That leaves me to wonder where they are.  Are people just leaving a practice and moving on without filling out the survey?  This is a great opportunity for patients to help patients by getting the information out and for holding the physician responsible for their “patient relations”.

I would like to see it go one step further and let us know how the office staff treated us.  So often we have more interaction with the staff managing the practice.  That should be encouraged in comments.  Although this is not a guarantee for positive outcomes – there is never a guarantee, it is yet another tool for patients to be part of the team in making choices.   

Here is something else family and friends can do to help a loved one recently diagnosed or searching for a doctor.  Do the search. 
Watch a video explaining Rating Doctors

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Peggy Lillis Foundation

Preventing C-Diff in Loving Memory

I had a very educational and eye opening experience being in the room with passionate advocates at the recent PeggyLillis Foundation symposium and training on C-Diff awareness and prevention.

This amazing group of people were there for one reason – learn about - and prevent the spread of c-diff.

These are the people who are hands on, loved ones and survivors of this awful, preventable infection.  According to the Centers for Disease Control Clostridium difficile was estimated to cause almost half a million infections in the United States in 2011, and 29,000 died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis.

There were an estimated 722,000 hospital acquiredinfections (HAI) in U.S acute care hospitals in 2011. About 75,000 hospital patients with HAIs died during their hospitalizations. More than half of all HAIs occurred outside of the intensive care unit.

According to the Mayo Clinic, C. difficile spreads mainly on hands from person to person, but also on cart handles, bedrails, bedside tables, toilets, sinks, stethoscopes, thermometers — even telephones and remote controls.  Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications. However, studies show increasing rates of C. difficile infection among people traditionally not considered high risk, such as younger and healthy individuals without a history of antibiotic use or exposure to health care facilities.
Christian Lillis and Ilene Corina

At some point you may want to throw your hands up and give up telling healthcare professionals to wash.  What kind of disservice would we be doing for the public, for those people who shared their story at this conference, for the next generation of our children? 

Can we even for a second say that Peggy Lillis’ death didn’t matter?  It did, her beloved sons have made it their mission to educate and advocate and make their mothers life matter.   She must have been amazing to raise her children to do such great work. We owe it to her and to the people we love.  Next time you are with someone at the hospital in the emergency room or at the bedside you can say– “DO YOU KNOW PEGGY LILLIS WHO DIED FROM C-DIFF?  I DO!  NOW DON’T TOUCH MY LOVED ONE UNTIL I SEE YOU WASH!” 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A New Flag

The Patient Safety Flag

When so many of my Facebook friends’ pages turned rainbow in support of same sex marriage, I marveled at the connectedness amongst so many people – gay or straight.  That rainbow meant empowerment, loyalty and “we are here, we are one”. 

When men, women and children wear pink it shows the sisterhood of those suffering as a patient or loved one of a patient, or those who died from breast cancer.  Red ribbons share the common goal of finding a cure for AIDS.

What connects those who have suffered preventable medical harm?  Those who have lost people they love – those who fight to keep healthcare safe often feel alone because when we talk about patient safety or patient empowerment it may come across as blame to the people who work in the system.  But patient safety is not about blame.  It’s about encouraging our most vulnerable people; those who are sick, frail or injured – patients as well as their scared and frustrated family and friends to feel empowered and be part of the solution.  It is about giving the people who work within the system the tools to do their job and keep patients safe and the center of the team.

With the staggering numbers of 400,000 lives lost each year from preventable medical harm, there needs to be a connection.  Purple, a powerful wavelength of the rainbow is said to be a fairly new color.  In the book The Color Purple, Shug tells Celie “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it”.  A sign of mourning, the color purple can make us take pause.

Yellow, the color of the sun and sign of a new beginning can give people hope.  A yellow dot, not quite hidden within the grief can keep us focused that there is a future in the work we do.