Author Archive | Jennifer Thew, RN, MSJ

Focusing on Fun and Interactivity Can Improve Health Outcomes

Interactivity, and not just technological interactivity, may be the secret to getting patients engaged. Doing is infinitely more interesting than being talked at or just handed information. That’s why we do science experiments in school. Theory is one thing but seeing an idea in action, and being a part of that action, makes the concepts so much more concrete. Making the action fun just adds to the chances of success. That’s why nursery rhymes and the ABC song have been used as learning tools for decades.

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The Difference Between Patient-Centered Care and Patient Satisfaction

If you must pick one area to focus on, focus on patient-centered care over patient satisfaction. Perhaps it’s because I have always worked in the clinical setting that I believe good clinical care can trump, or at least balance, parts of an experience that are less satisfying. Healthy patients equal happy patients and I feel they, like me, would be more willing to compartmentalize different aspects of the care experience. Because they are treated like individuals and listened to by their clinicians, they’ll be less likely to give an overall poor satisfaction score if something, like scheduling, goes amiss. And let’s not forget that despite how health care has changed over the years, good health outcomes are really what it is all about.

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Carrots Vs. Sticks: Can Consumer Data be Used to Promote Healthy Habits?

What are health systems doing with purchasing information provided by patients? Some are placing it into a system that takes the data and assigns risk scores to patients. If your consumer activity points to unhealthy behaviors, you earn a higher risk score and perhaps a phone call from your physician or a nurse. Is this the right approach to encourage healthy behaviors? Jennifer Thew explores this classic encouragement vs punishment approach.

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Patient Satisfaction: Who’s Paying the Price for Happy Patients?

I admit I was skeptical when I first heard about the patient satisfaction component to Medicare reimbursement that was part of the Affordable Care Act. I still am a bit. I definitely think patients should be satisfied with their experiences and get the best care they can get, but I’ve often felt like institutional attempts to make patients happy are attempts to cover up for poor patient care.

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Getting Hip to HIPAA: A Primer

The three main provisions in the act are the portability provisions, the tax provisions and the administrative simplification provisions. The Privacy Rule falls under the simplification provision. Why is that? The third provision is an attempt to standardize electronic transmission of health data and the Privacy Rule was developed to create security standards regarding this information.

What does HIPAA really mean? Here’s a brief primer for to help make the legislation less scary and more helpful.

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Don’t Stop Believin’: Work to Avoid Confirmation Bias in Health IT

Why would anyone who is presented with hard evidence choose to believe otherwise?

What if those opposed to EHR use kept a log of what they expected to happen (e.g., less time with patients, increased work load) and compared it to a log of what was actually happening? They might have a different perspective and see they aren’t working longer hours. The same advice goes for those pushing for the implementation of new technology. You have to acknowledge what is actually happening – nurses working longer shifts – and compare it to what you hoped would happen. We have to be willing to change our views when faced with real-world experiences.

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Make the Connection: Using Tech to Find Mental Health Resources

Mental illness still carries a huge stigma, causing embarrassment for those with mental illness that often prevents them for reaching out for help when they are struggling. Fear of being judged as unstable, potentially violent or “crazy” can prevent those with mental illness from getting the help they need. Access to mental health care also has historically been a challenge.

Technology is one possible way to help breakdown stigma and barriers to care and can provide a tool to help raise awareness and build support. Here are some ways the tech community can help those with mental illness.

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