Dec 16 2011

Keeping your senses

Tips for taking care of your ears this holiday season

We take care of our eyes with an annual visit to the eye doctor, where the optometrist takes note of any changes to our vision. We take care of our mouths with an annual visit to the dentist, who repairs old fillings and checks for oral cancers. So what do we do to protect our ears, or, more specifically, our sense of hearing?

The holidays are upon us and many – adults and children alike – give and receive portable music players, such as iPods, that can potentially cause hearing loss. Before you load your new music player with your favorite songs and turn the volume to high, check out this Health System press release on the subject.

In a nutshell, a C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health shows teens are at risk for hearing loss and two-thirds of parents haven’t broached the topic with their children.

“Teenagers are unaware of noise-induced hearing damage until it progresses to the point where it affects speech and communication,” says Sarah Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan and associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health. “At this point, they may have difficulties and frustration at school and in social situations.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 6 2011

Cash for Quality

Hospitals nationwide measured for clinical quality and patient satisfaction

UMHS already performs well on many and is working to continue to make improvements, especially on cleanliness and quietness measures

Value-based purchasing” might seem like a complicated concept, but, when put in its simplest terms, the new Medicare initiative isn’t hard to understand: hospitals nationwide have to measure and submit clinical quality and patient satisfaction data to the federal government. Moreover, there are now financial incentives for hospitals to perform well on these measures.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2012, all hospitals will take an automatic one percent reduction in federal Medicare reimbursement dollars. UMHS will have to earn that money back, and possibly more, through its quality and satisfaction measures. The top-performing hospitals nationwide – especially those above the 75th percentile nationwide – will receive the highest incentive payments. Those between the 25th and 75th percentiles will earn fewer dollars. Those in the lowest 25th percentile will not earn back any of the one percent reduction.

VBP can get a bit complicated, but the overall goal is clear: to link hospital payments to improved performance, holding them accountable for quality of the care they provide.

“It sets up a race for hospitals across the country to improve quality now and into the future,” says Ed Karls, manager of customer performance metrics and improvement, UMHS Quality Improvement. “We have already begun to be measured so what we do right now matters.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 1 2011

Down to the Last Detail

Children’s and Women’s teams prepare for Sunday’s inpatient move down to the minute

Welcome desk at the new C.S. Mott Children's and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital.

Moving is a challenge. You have to pack carefully, call movers for heavy lifting and cancel utilities. It’s all about the details, even if you live in the smallest home. So imagine the level of detail required to move a hospital—with intensive care patients, sophisticated equipment, an IT infrastructure, and everything else—while maintaining operations in both the old facility and the new.

How will we track the moving of parents and newborns? What about patients on ventilators? Who goes first? What about security? What if faculty, staff and volunteers get hungry or tired?

The C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital’s move leadership team has it covered in a “Move Playbook” outlining every detail, contact person, patient, security officer and office supply necessary to make each patient’s airplane-themed “trip” safe, expedient and even fun. The inpatient move takes place Sunday, Dec. 4. Outpatient clinics will begin moving on Dec. 4 and will wrap up the next Sunday, Dec. 11.

Project Lead Loree Collett during the construction of the new hospital.

“We’ve already begun the patient ‘typing,’ where we evaluate patient conditions and needs by level of seriousness to decide what order they’ll move,” says Loree Collett, R.N., BSN, MSBA, associate hospital administrator and operational lead for the children’s and women’s hospital expansion project. “Our nurses will continue doing this every day as we lead up to Sunday’s move. Each day, the leadership team huddles to discuss patient needs and red flags.” Read the rest of this entry »