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Tag Archives: Health

Acadia to add West Virginia behavioral health facilities

Officials at Highland Hospital, Charleston, W.Va., say the mental health center’s board of directors has agreed to sell its Charleston facilities to Tennessee-based behavioral healthcare company Acadia Healthcare Co.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Mental health bill advances to House floor

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), passed 53-0 in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday. The bill was first introduced by Murphy a year after the 2012 Sandy Hook shootings that…
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

University Hospitals will provide joint replacement care to GE health plan members

General Electric has selected University Hospitals, Cleveland, to provide joint replacement surgery to eligible out-of-state health plan members.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Mayo Clinic Care Network partners with Indiana health system

Beacon Health System is the first Indiana health system to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Would body cameras on doctors improve health care?

Picture this: A physician is accused of inappropriately touching a patient during an exam. Authorities immediately access video taken from the clinician’s body camera to determine what transpired in the examining room.

If body cameras are effective in policing and racial profiling, can health care benefit from the technology as well?

Steven Strauss, a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, raised the issue in an op-ed published in Monday’s Los Angeles Times.

Leaving aside patient outcomes, there are also highly credible accusations that medical staff have groped and sexually abused sedated patients . Body cameras on doctors and nurses might well prevent such incidents, or provide evidence if they did occur.

Doctors_Bodycams_Facebook reported that the video cameras could also address claims of inferior medical treatment for minorities:

In general, African Americans and other people of color receive inferior medical treatment, leading to higher death rates. David Williams, a professor of public health at Harvard, who has researched this issue, writes that blacks and other minorities receive fewer diagnostic tests, fewer treatments, and overall poorer-quality care — even after adjusting for variations in insurance, facilities, and seriousness of illness.

Physicians’ body language and minority patients

According to the Huffington Post, a recent study of body language as it relates to physician communication and patient care proves Williams’ point. Dr. Amber Barnato, an associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the study’s senior author, said her team analyzed audio and video recordings of doctors who interacted with black actors. The actors were asked to portray dying hospital patients. The providers knew they were involved in a study but didn’t know what the researchers were looking for, HuffPo reported. The result? African-American “patients” received less-compassionate care from real doctors than did their white counterparts.

Barnato said: “Although we found that physicians said the same things to their black and white patients, communication is not just the spoken word. It also involves nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, body positioning and touch.”

The Huffington Post goes on to say the research suggests the doctors in the study let their black “patients” down.

When interacting with whites—explaining their health condition and what the next steps might be—the doctors in the simulations tended to stand close to the bedside and were more likely to touch the person in a sympathetic way. With blacks, the doctors were more likely to remain standing at the door of the hospital room and to use their hands to hold a binder—a posture that could make them appear defensive or disengaged.

RELATED: Fine-tune your internal communications measurement and earn buy-in for your team.

Still photos and social media expose elderly abuse

Video cameras aren’t the only tool that can be used to improve patient care. Consider the repugnant activities of numerous staffers at nursing homes nationwide. Many have been convicted of breaking abuse and privacy laws when they posted photos on Snapchat and other photo-sharing platforms. The Chicago Tribune reported a few months ago:

The incidents illustrate the emerging threat that social media poses to patient privacy and, at the same time, its powerful potential for capturing transgressions that previously might have gone unrecorded. Abusive treatment is not new at nursing homes. Workers have been accused of sexually assaulting residents, sedating them with antipsychotic drugs and failing to change urine-soaked bedsheets. But the posting of explicit photos is a new type of mistreatment — one that sometimes leaves its own digital trail.

One facility, Prestige Post-Acute and Rehab Center in Washington modified its internal communication policies after an incident in 2014, according to the Tribune:

In a statement, PrestigeCare said it fired the employee, alerted authorities and instituted new, stricter cell phone and social media policies. “We take these situations very seriously and are thankful that our own internal procedures alerted us so promptly to the issue.”


Communicators, do your crisis plans include this aspect of social media policy and employee culture? Are you coaching providers on body language as it relates to patient care? Where do you stand on the introduction of body cameras in medical situations?

D.C. pick to lead hospital came from troubled Indian Health Service facility

The new head of Washington’s public psychiatric institution has just one other hospital stint on his resume: chief executive of an American Indian reservation’s hospital where emergency services were halted because federal and tribal officials said…
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Health officials urge lawmakers to fund Zika response

The nation’s top health officials told lawmakers on Wednesday that efforts to combat the spread of Zika would be severely hindered if they reject President Barack Obama’s request for $ 1.9 billion in emergency funding. They also said any diversion of…
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Broward Health board defies chairman, plans to discuss FBI investigation during private meeting

The board voted 5-2 to delay a discussion over an e-mail from Wayne Black, a corporate private investigator hired by Broward Health, alleging the system’s lawyers were hindering an FBI investigation into the system.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Phone Answering Skills Critical for Health Practices

First impressions are vital for any business, and your practice is no different. Your office staff is the first impression and the first point of contact for new and prospective patients, and that initial interaction can either make or break your practice.

Many consumers judge the quality of healthcare by how your staff treats them from the first phone call to their most recent appointments. In fact, some studies suggest that the typical healthcare practice loses more than $ 50,000 in revenue annually due to poor telephone management skills alone. For large-group and multispecialty practices, the losses can be significantly higher.

The knowledge required for your staff to contribute to practice growth may not be intuitive, but it is teachable. You can empower your staff to help boost your ROI by training them in simple and efficient ways to provide customer service that enhances their patient experiences. These five steps will help you get there:

Five steps to better phone answering and patient engagement

1. Ensure that you have the right person answering the phone. Is he/she a good communicator, a “people” person, enthusiastic? Having the right personality type is crucial.

2. Ensure that the team member handling the phones is not the same one who greets patients or works with insurance companies and pharmacies. Think of your office phone as your “bat phone.” Don’t put an incoming patient or inquiry on hold while dealing with an insurance company or helping an onsite patient who also deserves your undivided attention.

3. Is your phone team fully trained on your services and practitioners? Ensure that their messaging is always value-based. For example, “I’m so glad you called today! Dr. Jones is one of the few local doctors who is trained in xxx. She’s also a great listener and communicator, so I’m sure you’ll feel like you are in great hands once you meet her.”

4. Ensure that your staff understands the mindset of the caller. Callers are often alarmed, stressed or simply concerned and need an empathetic, helpful person on the other end. Staff should be reminded that they work in the caring industry and a little empathy can go a long way if they know how to listen, affirm and engage each caller in helpful conversation.

5. Close every call. Too many phone staffers never even try to book an appointment. Too many give out pricing information but leave the caller to think about next steps. Consider incenting your team members for each appointment they book.

Whether it is role-playing, phone skills training or individual counseling, by giving your staff the skills to do their jobs more effectively, you can build a better practice and ensure that your employees feel like active, fully engaged members of the team.

Need more strategies for capturing your share of new patients and revenue? Call us at 800.679.1200 or email us at to speak to a seasoned program consultant.

Practice Builders

WHO declares Zika an ‘international health emergency’

There’s no time for a wait-and-see approach.

That’s the message that Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, delivered to journalists on Monday.

In a rare declaration that represents the WHO’s highest level of alert and is invoked only in response to the most dire threats, Chan said the mosquito-borne virus has spread to 25 countries, including the United States. Pregnant women are especially at risk, said Chan.

This is only the fourth time such a declaration has been made.


Following the press conference, The Washington Post reported:

Zika, which was first identified more than 50 years ago, has alarmed public health officials in recent months as it was potentially linked to thousands of cases of brain defects, known as microcephaly, in newborns. Estimates are that the virus will infect up to 4 million people by year’s end.

The emergency status paves the way for the mobilization of new funding and manpower from governments and nonprofits around the world, Chan said. At this time, there is no vaccine or way to prevent the spread of Zika. 

Keep your cool in a crisis with these 13 tips.

A coordinated international response is needed to improve detection and to speed work on a vaccine and better diagnostics, said Chan. She stopped short of discussing the need to curb travel or trade at this time, Reuters reported. Also, health experts noted that the virus is rampant in Brazil, where the Olympic Games are scheduled to be held this summer.


Position, praise and Periscope

Numerous physicians and health experts commended the proactive approach by WHO and the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both agencies were lambasted in 2014 for dragging their feet on the Ebola epidemic, which killed some 10,000 people worldwide.

The New York Times reminded readers of the slow response to Ebola:

The official “emergency” designation can trigger action and funding from governments and non-profits around the world. It elevates the WHO to the position of global coordinator, and gives its decisions the force of international law. The agency is trying to cast itself as a global leader to revive its reputation after a faltering response during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

Chan told reporters: “Can you imagine if we do not do all this work now and wait until all these scientific evidence to come out? People will say, ‘Why didn’t you take action?’”

Ashley Thomas Martino, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at St. John’s University in New York, agreed with the decisive action. “They always want to err on the side of caution. It frees up resources so they can give the appropriate response to limit the transmission and reduce the mosquito population. You’re talking about people’s health and fetal development,” said Martino, who also teaches about infectious diseases.

WHO wanted to share the news on social media channels, and it used Periscope in its strategy.


Thomas Russo, professor and chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, said many were curious about how the World Health Organization would handle the Zika outbreak. “They’re trying to get ahead of it,” he said.