News

A Growing Need for Teamwork

Apr 20, 2015

2137729430_a0c1f4070e_oThere's more news on the "healthcare is a growing industry" front, this time from a late-2014 report from the nonprofit College for America at Southern New Hampshire University. According to the report--which is an update, of sorts, of the organization's 2013 healthcare workforce strategy study--the healthcare sector will hit 21.9 million workers by 2022, making it the largest segment of the U.S. economy. What's more, the report stresses that all sectors of healthcare employment are on the rise, including so-called "non-clinical" positions--think administrative, community and social service and support positions. The report says non-clinical positions represent 42 percent of the healthcare workforce.

Online Job Boards: The New Normal

Apr 17, 2015

indexWhether you're looking for a job, or looking for a job-seeker, recent statistics seem to suggest your best bet for finding either is via internet job boards. According to a recent--and, unfortunately, unsourced--post on Online Recruiting News and Views, internet job boards now account for well over 40 percent of so-called "quality hires." That puts them at the top of the list, ahead of more traditional sources such as social networks and employee referrals. But though the Online Recruiting post doesn't cite any source for its statistics, it's not hard to find other, sourced stats that support its conclusions.

The Good, The Bad, and Job Statistics

Apr 15, 2015

OrderStatisticsThere's good news and bad news in a recent report on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' list of top jobs for growth potential. The good news--for those in the healthcare industry, at any rate--is that three of the top five are healthcare jobs. Which really shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, since the healthcare industry has been on an upswing these last few years. The BLS reported that the industry had a strong showing in March--adding 22,300 jobs--despite a down month overall for job growth across the U.S. economy. In the last year, the health industry has grown by a healthy 363,000 jobs.

The Jerk at Work: A New Study

Apr 13, 2015

imagesA new study by software firm Cornerstone OnDemand seems to confirm something the rest of us have always suspected. It's about the office jerk. You know who we're talking about--that @#$% so-and-so that everybody in the office hates. According to Cornerstone OnDemand, you really are better off without him. And not just in some vague, squishly, oh-how-morale-would-improve sort of way. The OnDemand survey determined that hiring jackasses diminishes the workplace in quantifiable ways; we're talking dollars and cents.

Providers Taking Charge

Apr 10, 2015

indexA couple of years ago, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram published a story taking note of an evolution in the U.S. healthcare system that has seen more doctors and nurses being thrust into leadership positions. The paper pointed to various health institutions around the country as examples--Texas Health, fronted by president Lillie Biggins, an RN; Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Illinois, with physician Roberta Luskin-Hawk at the helm; and Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire, which is led by nurse Anne Jamieson.

The State of Healthcare Tech-NO-logy

Apr 8, 2015

untitledAccording to a recent Harris poll--conducted at the behest of PerfectServe, a medical communications platform--one of the biggest problem areas in the U.S. healthcare system today is technology. If that sounds broad and unspecific, that's because the survey found that the industry is experiencing problems in just about every area related to tech--technological incompatibilities, lack of adoption, use of inadequate or outdated technologies... When it comes to tech, the survey says, the healthcare industry is simply not embracing the state of the art.

Happiness, and the Power of "Thank You"

Apr 6, 2015

thank-you-645884_640We've already written about a recent Gallup study that found that many U.S. workers do not feel a sense of investment in their job. Now a recent survey by the Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated piggybacks on that research, and suggests that re-engaging disinterested workers might not be so difficult after all. Kronos found that, of a sample of 850 U.S. employees, 47 percent said they felt unappreciated, or at least not adequately appreciated, at the workplace. Kronos made a direct correlation between these numbers and the earlier Gallup numbers, which said 51 percent of workers felt either "not very engaged" or "actively disengaged" at work.

Ending the Tyranny of the Gown

Apr 3, 2015

imagesA recent Kaiser Health News story has gotten good traction lately—getting picked up by CNN—for its announcement that a much-maligned old standby may finally be on the way out. The hospital gown—that dignity-deficient relic of a bygone era, with its awkward, flimsy construction and backside-baring design—is getting a makeover, as a number of health systems have introduced new, more comfortable clothing options for hospital patients. Kaiser quoted a couple of patients who summarized the gist of the problem pretty well. "You're at the hospital because something's wrong with you—you're vulnerable—then you get to wear the most vulnerable garment ever invented to make the whole experience that much worse," said Oklahoman Ted Streuli.

Apr 2, 2015

A recent Kaiser Health News story has gotten good traction lately—getting picked up by CNN—for its announcement that a much-maligned old standby may finally be on the way out. The hospital gown—that dignity-deficient relic of a bygone era, with its awkward, flimsy construction and backside-baring design—is getting a makeover, as a number of health systems have introduced new, more comfortable clothing options for hospital patients. Kaiser quoted a couple of patients who summarized the gist of the problem pretty well. "You're at the hospital because something's wrong with you—you're vulnerable—then you get to wear the most vulnerable garment ever invented to make the whole experience that much worse," said Oklahoman Ted Streuli. "They are horrible; they are demeaning; they are belittling; they are deempowering," said Marylander Camilla McRory. Kaiser noted how one hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, tapped the expertise of a prominent fashion designer to create a different style of gown, which their patients reportedly gave high marks upon receiving the new garment. All of which is well and good, but let us offer our own thoughts here. It's very true that the traditional hospital gown is an atrocity, an idiotic and ill-conceived piece of "clothing" that is better suited to polishing porcelain than (inadequately) covering backsides in hospitals, or any other setting for that matter. But solving the problem doesn't require rocket science, nor the services of a high-concept fashion designer. While it is certainly true that doctors require easy access when they need to listen to hearts or stick needles in butts, that access is easily afforded by, say, a loose-fitting T-shirt and elastic band shorts. Really, the whole question of "access" is drastically overblown, as if different articles of clothing are like locked doors, impenetrable vaults that physicians just can't breach . There are other considerations, of course. Hospital-issue materials must be cheaply and easily laundered for instance. But none of these secondary issues should be so hard to resolve. A 2014 study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, in fact, examined—among other things—the possibility that patients might be just as well served (Gasp!) wearing their own clothing for the duration of the hospital stay. But the Kaiser article did touch on two overarching themes at work in the hospital gown conundrum. The first is that the move toward new styles of gowns is a reflection that as the nation's healthcare model changes, care providers are becoming more attuned to the needs of patients, up to and including the notion of "patient satisfaction." (Insert yet another "Gasp!" here) "It's all part of a trend among hospitals to improve the patient reviews and their own bottom lines—fueled in part by the health law's focus on quality of care and other federal initiatives." And the second is that, in making bold moves such as reinventing hospital gowns—and healthcare in general—to be more patient-friendly, there are large amounts of institutional inertia that must be overcome. The JAMA study, for instance, found that some doctors "seemed shocked at the idea that patients might wear garments other than the open-backed gown during their stay." And Kaiser notes that "the most common challenge isn't necessarily doctor expectations or costs; it's navigating hospital bureaucracies." The article quotes the president of a California company that designs alternative hospital gowns, who notes that decisions are often made by committee. "There's a lot of bureaucratic runaround," he says.

A Rising Tide for Care Coordinators

Apr 1, 2015

waves-142352_640Demographic shifts and changes in the structure of healthcare delivery models in the U.S. are driving demand for a whole new healthcare job category—that of the care coordinator. We've written about care coordinators before. Education Portal describes their role as that of "ensuring that a medical facility is providing high quality care services." Another health blogger describes care coordinators as "the liaisons between patients and healthcare systems."