Monday, July 17, 2017

Tail Wagging The Dog

I was talking with a colleague the other day and the subject of why some clinicians are resistant to new methods and technologies came up. Even though these methods and technologies can improve patient outcomes and provide safer treatments for both clinicians and their patients, some clinicians still refuse to accept these new approaches.

The thing I don't understand is that I thought the clinician was the employee. I thought the director of rehab establishes the rehab program which would include methods and technologies. Apparently this is not the case because if a clinician doesn't want to learn a new technique or new technology they don't have to. Even though it could save time and money, be safer for both the clinician and their patient and provide a better outcome.

It seems like the tail is wagging the dog. Is there any other industry where the employee tells the employer what they are willing or not willing to do? I can't think of one.

There is nothing more frustrating to an administrator than to see a piece of expensive new therapy equipment gathering dust or being used as a coat rack or lunch table. No wonder some administrators are resistant to purchase the newest products on the market, I totally get it.

This is a leadership issue on every level and it always starts at the top. Developing a culture of respect and cooperation is essential in every department. It is the oil in a well oiled machine, all parts moving together with a common goal, to be the best they can be in every situation. That's why the tail should never wag the dog, it doesn't work.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Why They Won't Talk To Me

I've often wondered why administrators and corporate types won't talk to someone who has an idea or product that will save them time and money. They don't even consider it and when you meet them face to face at a trade show or conference they smile and say call me or my assistant to set up a meeting. That never happens!

It makes you appreciate the visionaries and early adopters, without them we'd still be practicing blood letting as a medical procedure to cure a headache. I figured out that the reason they won't talk to me is because their position is indefensible and if they say no they will sound, well in a word STUPID!
So, rather than sound stupid they avoid the conversation altogether. As if they don't have the time to explore the possibilities of a better mousetrap because it might cost money. Never mind that fact that it can save more money than it costs.

I thought it was management's job to investigate new cost saving way's to improve productivity, protect worker's and improve the bottom line. If it ain't broke is the mantra of the status quo. Don't upset the apple cart. There are a few individuals however that are willing to kick the apple cart over and are brave enough to talk to me.

Sadly they are few and far between because they are to busy to answer an e-mail or text or phone call.      We call these people pragmatists, punch the clock types. No changes unless they are forced to change by some visionary who is willing to take the chance on the possibility of making a difference in people's lives and the financial health of their companies.

So this is why they won't talk to me, I'll keep trying because the next visionary is my next call!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The profit killer

The evidence is clear that preventing injuries to therapists and healthcare workers must be a top priority. In a article published in Medical News Today, the APTA and OSHA have formed an alliance that focuses on work related musculoskeletal disorders and the safe handling of patients. There has been a growing concern over the increasing number and severity of musculoskeletal injuries associated with patient handling tasks.

Risk Management should be at the top of the list for all facilities providing health care services, especially for those that provide care for the most fragile among us. It has been well documented that both patients and clinicians are at risk of injury during a “Transfer”. Weather it is a transfer from the patients bed to their wheelchair or a transfer to a piece of rehab equipment from a wheelchair. There is a way to eliminate the number of transfers that are performed, the risk of injury can be reduced and if injuries are reduced, money is saved profits increased .

What if the therapist or clinician did not have to lift or aid or hold the patient ever. The technology exists but the investment doesn't. Many healthcare institutions simply are unwilling to see the the BIG picture. The good news is competition and outcome based reimbursement is changing the landscape and the forward thinking visionaries in the industry are out in front of the pragmatists.

The profit killer, injuries. Prevent them and the bottom line goes up. Ignore them and start counting the days until your facility either gets sold to another operator or simply closes down.       

Friday, March 11, 2016

Patient Fear

I was thinking about the biggest obstacle for patient recovery and better outcomes. I came to this conclusion, fear. Patient fear prevents progress. So what is is most effective way to combat patient fear? Developing an atmosphere of trust between the therapists and their patients. The less fearful a patient is, the more they are willing to try and cooperate with their therapist. 

Another way to combat patient fear is through safety and comfort. This is where the equipment used in rehabilitation is vitally important. If old equipment and equipment in disrepair is all that is available the therapist is at a tremendous disadvantage because they cannot offer the safety and comfort that both the therapist and their patients deserve. 

In a rehabilitation setting it is equally important that both patient and therapist have safety and comfort. Practicing great technique in a unsafe environment may undo any progress if an accident occurs to either patient or therapist. Injuries to healthcare workers are at epidemic proportions. 

Why? Because administrators and corporate officers do not see the value in providing equipment that promote a no lift environment. OSHA estimates that U.S. companies will save $9.1 billion annually or an average of $27,700 for every musculoskeletal injury “MSD” prevented. The evidence is clear that preventing injuries to therapists and healthcare workers must be a top priority. It has been proven that investing in modern up-to-date equipment that provides a no lift environment saves money, lots of money. Reductions in Workman's compensation premiums, reduction in lost work days, greater employee retention.

The reduction of injuries at a number of skilled nursing facilities implementing patient lift policies has resulted in amazing savings. Wyandot County nursing home in upper Sandusky, Ohio reported that workers’ compensation costs have declined from and average of $140,000 per year to less than $4000 per year. Reduced absenteeism and overtime has also resulted in an annual savings of $55,000. Schoellkopf Healthcare Center in Niagara Falls, New York, reported a downward trend in the number and severity of injuries. Lost workdays dropping from 364 to 52, Light duty days dropping from 253 to 25 and Workers’ compensation losses falling from $84,533 to $6,983 annually.

The statistics are clear however they fall on blind eyes and deaf ears. How do we change the culture, who can we talk to, how do we sound the alarm. Did you know, there are 78 Million baby boomers in U.S. and 10,000 reach the retirement stage every day. This economic powerhouse is coming to a neighborhood near you and their impact will be staggering. The number one expense for these Boomers is healthcare. When the Boomers arrived they impacted hospitals in a dramatic way with the creation of maternity wards. How will the boomers impact healthcare at the end stages of life?