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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.

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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.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Interesting Post on a Health Care Blog

A Creative Way to Engage Physicians

Kenneth H. Cohn, M.D., MBA, FACS

In response to a frequently asked question, "How can you engage physicians who do not want to have anything to do with the hospital?" a physician colleague responded:
"If they do not want to have anything to do with you, ask them why not!!.....that is a definable set of reasons and (mis)perceptions you might have to dig out of them, realizing that you might not like and may not want to hear what they say, but once understood gives you something to work with."
This approach is a variation on taking the first step: admitting that we do not have all the answers and seeking feedback that may hurt because we take personal pride in our efforts to care for patients.
Some times, it takes unconventional approaches to obtain breakthrough results, as the following story illustrates:
Leon Bender, President of the Medical Staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, was frustrated with physician hand-washing compliance. So, infection-control staff who caught physicians washing their hands gave physicians $10 Starbucks cards, which increased compliance from 65% to 80%. A breakthrough came at a meeting of physician leaders, when the epidemiologist at Cedars Sinai cultured physicians' hands, photographed the bacteria on the Petri dishes, and turned the photograph into a screen saver on every computer in the hospital that physicians used to obtain clinical information. That graphic depiction of bacteria increased physician hand-washing compliance from 80% to nearly 100%, where it has remained for several years.
Dr. Bender noted, "With people who have been in practice 25 or 30 or 40 years, it's hard to change their behavior. But when you present them with good data, they change their behavior very rapidly." (Dubner and Leavitt 2006).
The distinction between what physicians and nurses principally do (care for patients) and what administrators principally do (finance, operations, marketing) is blurring. Recent decisions, at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not to reimburse hospitals for complications, such as catheter acquired urinary tract infections, decubiti, and falls that occur in the hospital, compel us to put aside significant differences in background, training, and outlook and place patients and families at the center of our joint universe.

Dubner SJ, Leavitt SD. 2006. "Selling Soap." [Online publication, accessed 12/8/07]. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/magazine/24wwln_freak.html?_r=1&ex=1160020800&en=0c4817f1e4d7f211&ei=5070&oref=slogin#

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