Category: Hospitals

Podcast interview with Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders

published date
May 25th, 2007 by
Medical care in the US costs a fortune. In the past few years, uninsured and under-insured Americans have been venturing to places as far away as India and Singapore for surgery and other treatments. The care is often excellent, prices are low, and even surgeons are customer-service oriented.

I spoke yesterday with Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders: Everybody’s Guide to Affordable, World-Class Medical Tourism. Listen in and hear what he has to say.

Fierce hospitals

published date
May 9th, 2007 by

FierceHealthcare has published a list of the most innovative acute care hospitals. Check it out.

These awards honor some of the most innovative acute care hospitals that are stepping outside of “business as usual” and getting special things done. Some are strikingly original, and others are just doing a great job of solving common industry problems. Several have built successful programs by studying high-performing companies in unrelated industries like manufacturing, retail, aerospace and consumer electronics, while others turned inward for inspiration. Each story offers ideas worth considering.

My guess is he looked at the balance sheet

published date
April 30th, 2007 by

An article in today’s Boston Globe announces that new Joslin Diabetes Center CEO Ranch Kimball has canceled plans to build a $225 million expansion and is instead selling the parcel of land where it was planning to build.

Kimball declined to discuss what he saw as the project’s flaws or why Joslin had not yet started construction in four years since winning approval. He said he scrapped the plan “to get all of us a clean start.”

The article then summarizes Kimball’s resume without providing any insight into the reasons behind the decision. So here’s a little hint: Joslin financial position isn’t strong enough to support the project. The balance sheet isn’t particularly robust, and diabetes treatment isn’t well enough reimbursed to allow Joslin to generate a positive margin on patient care.

Please reschedule your emergency for a different date or location

published date
April 6th, 2007 by

From the Montreal Gazette (Heart institute’s ER overwhelmed by cases):

The Montreal Heart Institute is asking patients to stay clear of its overcrowded emergency room at least until the end of Thursday.

It issued a 24-advisory today, asking those with non-emergency problems and patients who are already being followed at another hospital to avoid the heart institute and see their treating physician or contact a CLSC or Info-Santé.

ER’s provide a good window into how well a health system is coping. When the ER is overwhelmed with non-emergency patients as seems to be the case in Canada as well as the US it means the rest of the system isn’t doing a good job. People go to the ER because they lack convenient access to high quality care. At least in Canada there are ambulatory clinics with extended hours like the CLSCs referred to above. We don’t seem to have many such things in Boston.

Pentagon bashing

published date
March 30th, 2007 by

In Disuse of System is Cited in Gap in Soldiers’ Care, the New York Times takes the military to task for lack of continuity of care. Information from medical records in Iraq and Afghanistan is not always transferred seamlessly stateside even though a system to do so has been mandated for two years.

No doubt there are plenty of problems. But it doesn’t sound worse than the civilian sector, where such inter-hospital medical record systems are almost never in place at all. No one should be under the illusion that this problem is limited to the Defense Department. And we don’t learn from the article if the system is any good, just that it’s been mandated.
Madigan Hospital at Fort Lewis in Washington State comes in for a severe pounding, being blamed for causing a soldier’s suicide because doctors didn’t look into the system to check his records. The Times makes the place sound like a backwater, resistant to the benefits of medical information technology.

I don’t know much about Madigan, but since it is one of the hospitals that signed up for institutional access to advanced decision support software, I give them the benefit of the doubt.