Now is the time to follow-up on those good intentions of yours to make sure your swine flu/pandemic illness policy is all that is should be. Things are calming down a bit (although US numbers are rising, cases are mild) and as we might have a bit of calm before the next storm, it is the ideal time to give yourself a policy and training check-up while the topic is fresh.
- Do you have a policy for dealing with a community illness that is more than your typical flu season?
- Does your policy include detailed information that most anyone in your organization could follow if you were not able to give directions?
- Do you know what the local hospitals’ plans and policies are?
- Have you clarified roles for each of your clinical and administrative staff and provided them with detailed information on their responsibilities during a community illness?
- Do you understand what your practice is required to do to report information to local, state and national authorities?
- Have you located resources for or designed patient education materials appropriate for your population?
- Have you integrated community illness information into your new employee orientation and your annual staff training materials?
If you answered “no” or “maybe” to any of the questions above, here are some resource links to help you (more…)
A term referring to a service that:
- collects mail delivered to a special practice Post Office Box (typically only payments)
- opens the mail and discards the envelopes
- separates the checks from the accompanying paperwork
- scans or copies the checks and the accompanying paperwork
- itemizes the checks on an electronic or manual deposit slip
- deposits the checks in the practice’s bank account or makes scanned copies available to the bank
- returns the original checks/paperwork to the practice, or holds it in-house for a period before shredding
- makes the electronic or paper copies accessible to the practice for posting to the practice management system
Pricing for this service varies based on number of pieces processed and number of functions applied to the mail. Advantages of using a lockbox include faster deposit of daily monies and elimination of staff involvement in check-handling and making deposits.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED started in 1984 as an annual conference held in Long Beach, California with the goal of bringing together people from the three fields to give 18-minute talks about innovation and possibilities. The TED Talks site has more than 400 talks by people from an expanded array of fields and the videos of their talks are available to be shared and reposted without cost.
From the TED Talks site:
Our mission: spreading ideas. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. This site, launched April 2007, is an ever-evolving work in progress, and you’re an important part of it
TED has also spawned the TED Prize which is “designed to leverage the TED Community’s exceptional array of talent and resources. It is awarded annually to three exceptional individuals who each receive $100,000 and, much more important, the granting of “One Wish to Change the World.” After several months of preparation, they unveil their wish at an award ceremony held during the TED Conference. These wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.”
Most of us have heard that interviewers make up their minds about applicants in the first minutes, or even seconds of an interview. But what about once the applicant has been hired, or even once an employee has been with us for several years? Do we base our beliefs on an employee’s ability to take on a new challenge or improve their performance on something real, or things we believe to be real?
New research shows that managers with a fixed view of people’s attributes tend to “ignore improvements or deterioration in the performance of their staff, and are also less likely to ensure they receive the training they need.” The research findings, reported on the British Psychological Society Research Digest Blog, are as follows:
One study, for example, gave managers negative background information about a fictional employee before they were shown that same person performing well at a negotiation task. Managers with a fixed view of personal attributes (they tended to agree with statements like “As much as I hate to admit it, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. People can’t change their deepest attributes”) subsequently rated the employee less positively than managers with a belief that people can change.
Another study found that managers who think people’s attributes are fixed gave their staff less coaching, presumably because they think such interventions will be ineffective.
The good news is that once managers become aware of these findings, they can change their minds about employees being able to change and improve! Read the article here.
Voice recognition (VR), sometimes called speech recognition (SR), is a technology that translates the spoken word into the written/electronic word. In healthcare it is most commonly used for physician notes in the medical record. The physician dictates the information and either edits the information himself/herself, or a staff member edits the information. The physiican note can be printed for inclusion in the paper chart, or can be imported into the electronic chart. Some electronic medical record (EMR) software products have speech recognition built-in, and some have the ability to integrate with speech recognition software.
A short film demonstrating the “surprising limits of perception, attention, and awareness.” Viewers are instructed to count bounces or baskets made by one team, and in doing so, completely miss that a person in a gorilla suit walks among the players! Viewers are astounded when viewing the video a second time and seeing the gorilla. The video is part of a 2003 DVD Surprising Studies of Visual Awareness, Volume 1 produced by Viscog Productions, Inc.
Clarification on H&P Requirement Prior To ASC Procedure (Angela Mason-Elbert of CMS:
“Each patient that is seen in an ASC must have a comprehensive medical history and physical assessment (H&P) not more than 30 days before the date of the scheduled surgery. The H&P is to determine if the patient has any underlying conditions that would put the patient at risk for having such a procedure or to identify any new or existing co-morbid conditions that would require additional interventions. Additionally, the H&P could provide evidence that the ASC is not the appropriate setting for this particular procedure. The H&P, as long as it is comprehensive, can be completed the day prior to the procedure and even on the day of the procedure. It does not have to be completed prior to scheduling the procedure.”
Medicare announced that it will allow an exception for the patient notices required in advance of the day of the procedure in certain cases. Specifically, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said:
It is not acceptable for the ASC to provide the required notice for the first time to a patient on the day that the surgical procedure is scheduled to occur, unless:
- the referral to the ASC for surgery is made on that same date; and
- the referring physician indicates, in writing, that it is medically necessary for the patient to have the surgery on the same day, and that surgery in an ASC setting is suitable for that patient.
In such situations the ASC must provide the required notice prior to obtaining the patient’s informed consent. Cases of surgery occurring on the same day it is scheduled are expected to be rare, since ASCs typically perform elective procedures. Frequent occurrence of such cases may represent noncompliance with the advance notice requirement.
This information and new interpretive guidelines are available at www.ascassociation.org/coverage. As the ASC Association analyzes these guidelines more information will be available on the web site.
(Finalized October 30, 2008)
The OPPS/ASC (Outpatient Prospective Payment System for Ambulatory Surgery Centers) final rule modernizes Medicare’s ASC Conditions for Coverage (CfC). The rule reflects current ASC practice by focusing on the care provided to patients and th impact of that care on patient outcomes. Specifically, the new CfCs:
- Define an ASC as a distinct entity that operates exclusively for the purpose of providing surgical services to patients not requiring hospitalization and in which the expected duration of services would not exceed 24 hours following admission.
- Strengthen Patients’ rights regarding disclosure of physician financial interests in the ASC; advance directives; the grievance process; and confidentiality of clinical records.
- Impose stronger obligations on the governing body of an ASC to oversee its quality assessment and performance improvement (QAPI) program, while allowing ASCs flexibility to use their own information to assess and improve patient services, outcomes, and satisfaction.
- Emphasize the importance of infection control practices.
- Strengthen the requirements for assessing the patient’s condition at admission to verify that the surgery is appropriate and safe for the patient in an ASC setting, and at discharge to ensure appropriate post-surgical care for the patient.
- Require the ASC to adopt a disaster preparedness plan.
People of my generation (the author is in the late afternoon of his twenties) don’t get it. What we don’t get is how relatively new and modern personal computing technology is. We don’t realize that we were one of the first generations to have computers in our classrooms when we started kindergarten, one of the first to have internet access in our libraries, and one of the first to have networked computer interaction as a fundamental part of our lives from a young age. We don’t understand why other generations don’t find computing as intuitive as we do.
Learning to use computers effectively is a process of repetition, immersion, and is ideally started early in life, just like learning a new language. I think there is both a challenge and an opportunity – for all generations – in the generational computing gap. The younger folks who can find ways to tailor their products and services towards usability, approachability and friendliness can often make big strides in taking new technologies mainstream. Boomers and older have tremendous opportunities to separate themselves from their peers and their competitors by balancing a willingness to be open minded about embracing technology with a keen eye towards results.
In this spirit I would like to talk about a basic computing concept: file extensions. First, what is a computer file? (more…)
The WHO (World Health Organization) Level 6 requirement for a pandemic requires serious outbreaks in communities in two or more different WHO regions.
According to the WHO, a pandemic can start when three conditions have been met:
- Emergence of a disease new to a population.
- Agents infecting humans, causing serious illness.
- Agents spreading easily and sustainably among humans.
A disease or condition is not a pandemic merely because it is widespread or kills many people; it must also be infectious. For instance, cancer is responsible for many deaths but is not considered a pandemic, because the disease is not infectious or contagious.
The HHS and the CDC have developed lots of widgets that you can place on your practice website to give your patients the latest information on the swine flu. You can get a widget for your practice website
from HHS here or from CDC here. These sites also provide podcasts and other resources that you can use to develop your practice protocols and education materials for staff and patients globally for a pandemic illness, or specifically for the A(H1N1) swine influenza illness.
This article will provide resources for three areas:
- Protocol for your practice for potential pandemic illness (swine flu or other)
- Plan to provide information to your patients about swine flu
- Plan for your practice to function during the swine flu or a pandemic illness episode
The good news about the swine flu is (more…)