Medical Harm Explained…

Medical harm explained, in graphics and Farzad style first appeared on Neil Versel’s, Meaningful HIT News on Oct. 18, 2012.

INDIAN WELLS, Calif.—Still think the United States has the “best healthcare in the world?” You clearly haven’t been paying attention.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal ran this excellent commentary from Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Marty Makary about how the broken culture of medicine is harming people.                                                                                                                                                

Here is an excerpt: I encountered the disturbing closed-door culture of American medicine on my very first day as a student at one of Harvard Medical School’s prestigious affiliated teaching hospitals. Wearing a new white medical coat that was still creased from its packaging, I walked the halls marveling at the portraits of doctors past and present. On rounds that day, members of my resident team repeatedly referred to one well-known surgeon as “Dr. Hodad.” I hadn’t heard of a surgeon by that name. Finally, I inquired. “Hodad,” it turned out, was a nickname. A fellow student whispered: “It stands for Hands of Death and Destruction.”                                                                    

Makary went into a discussion of checklists, à la Gawande, and reporting of adverse events. “Nothing makes hospitals shape up more quickly than this kind of public reporting,” he said. Yep, a little shaming can be good for consumers. And shocking.                                                                                                                                                

Now playing in a fairly small number of theaters and available on DVD, on demand and through iTunes is a new movie called “Escape Fire,” which takes its title from the Don Berwick book of the same name. I have not been to see it yet — soon — but the trailer is compelling. So is this graphic, which the movie’s producers are circulating on social media:

 

Still think we don’t have a problem with patient safety in this country? Not only haven’t you been paying attention, you also haven’t heard Dr. Farzad Mostashari tell the heart-wrenching story of accompanying his mother to an emergency department shortly after he joined the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in 2009.                                                                                                                                                       

He couldn’t get answers about his mother’s condition from anywhere in the department, and not because the doctors and nurses didn’t want to do the right thing. “The systems are failing them,” Mostashari said Wednesday at the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) CIO Forum, where I am now.                                              

Even as a physician, he felt like he would be imposing on the doctors and nurses on duty if he requested to look at his mother’s paper medical record to see what might be wrong. “There was something rude about trying to save my mom’s life by asking to see the chart. That’s messed up,” Mostashari said.  Read more on Meaningful HIT News.

About Joyce Lofstrom, MS, APR

Joyce Lofstrom, MS, APR, is HIMSS Director, Corporate Communications.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Health IT News and Developments, Patient-Centered Systems, Public Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Medical Harm Explained…

  1. Joyce Lofstrom, MS, APR says:

    I think the personal stories of healthcare, such as those shared in this post from Neil Versel and Dr. Mostashari, provide a much-needed perspective on the value of health IT. Thanks to Meaningful HIT News for letting us share this post here on the HIMSS Blog.

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