What This Blog is About

A long time mentor and friend, Cicely Berry, often says: "all we do comes from our need to survive".

Cis is the Voice Director of The Royal Shakespeare Company. Her profound work and deep appreciation of the human spirit has affected diverse communities all over the world.

Will take you to my current work.

This blog is dedicated to the belief that the overall health of a community or organization is a clear reflection of their ability to communicate.

"Cada cabeza es un mundo" - Cuban proverb

"Every head is a world"

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Health & Care - Are They 2 Seperate Thoughts?

I paid a visit to my uncle today. He is in a nursing home which is serving as a re-hab center following two recent surgeries to replace his twenty year old pace maker. My uncle will be 97 years of age in a few weeks. He is brilliant and witty and wanting to go home.

I have written about him before. He has been an extremely successful entrepreneur and community leader. Recently, he offered an opinion on people who resisted change in the workplace, saying that in business, "change makes people aware of you".

Today, my uncle seemed a bit weary of the now seven week stay in one facility or another. What's really troubling -- is that he has done quite well with his two, very detailed surgeries. It's the travel from one facility to another for the follow-up needs that have been difficult. And its the waiting, based on one doctor's schedule, for one piece of awkward equipment to be removed that is taking its toll.

My uncle waits. The staff waits and the family becomes more frustrated for this one moment of aggregated understanding to approve a simple action that will give him some relief.

Sometimes, it seems as if the intelligence we have built inhibits the very objective of our expertise and our skills.

It's as if my uncle's health and his care are two separate entities right now, caught in an overcomplicated health care system.

The irony is that in his "local" hospital his name is on the wall because he helped contribute to building that institution. Of course, he was concerned when he was first told that he would need to go to a much larger hospital for surgery. However, when I visited him in the more complex hospital , I marveled at how the medical team had managed to maintain his comfort level and intimacy of treatment. It was testimony to their professionalism and their core values.

But now, valuable time and patience (his and his family's) have been lost, mostly due to schedules and additional transportation. One has to wonder what causes these unfortunate hold-ups.

In an earlier blog, I wrote about the simple truth that we can get information for any part of any automobile faster than we can get information about medical records in most cases.

While there are reasons to argue for this medical gap, information and implementation go together in health care.

Old schematics for how to organize hospital patient treatment are based on doctor's schedules and shared cost structures between the hospital and the doctor.

These agreements are long overdue for re-structure. Of course, this is only a single thread in a complicated story. However, it did not look so complicated this afternoon.

PS: Later this morning, I hope to call my long time friend and mentor in the UK, who is bravely traveling and continuing to work while in need of some serious orthopedic surgery. She is waiting in the U.K. health care system to be told when she can have the operation.

Sound familiar to a family experience in your life? Welcome your comments.


Friday, October 5, 2007

2 Interesting Health Care Stories In One Day

Microsoft Offers System to Track Health Records – NY Times 10-5-07

Microsoft is starting its long-anticipated drive into the consumer health care market by offering free personal health records on the Web and pursuing a strategy that borrows from the company’s successful formula in personal computer software.

Microsoft announced HealthVault, an online platform where personal electronic health records can be stored.

The platform allows patients to share medical information with doctors and hospitals.

The venture by Microsoft, which is called HealthVault and was announced yesterday in Washington, comes after two years spent building a team, expertise and technology. In recent months, Microsoft managers have met with many potential partners, including hospitals, disease-prevention organizations and health care companies.

The organizations that have signed up for HealthVault projects with Microsoft include the American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson LifeScan, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and MedStar Health, a network of seven hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington region. The partner strategy is a page from Microsoft’s old playbook. To make its operating system, Windows, the dominant platform for personal computers, Microsoft persuaded other companies to build on its technology, and it helped them do it.

“The value of what we’re doing will go up rapidly as we get more partners,” said Peter Neupert, the vice president in charge of Microsoft’s health group.


More Doctors in Texas After Malpractice Caps – NY Times Oct. 5, 2007

Four years after Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment limiting awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, doctors are responding as supporters predicted, arriving from all parts of the country to swell the ranks of specialists at Texas hospitals and bring professional health care to some long-underserved rural areas.

The influx, raising the state’s abysmally low ranking in physicians per capita, has flooded the medical board’s offices in Austin with applications for licenses, close to 2,500 at last count.


I have been away for a while working on a health care project and frankly, thinking a great deal about what we can really do to help one another in our workplace.

Please feel free to comment.