Thursday, February 24, 2011

If you need to have a heart bypass, do you choose the hospital with the biggest building?

The DSP blog is quite impressed by some of the beautiful architecture it witnesses in hospitals.  And sometimes concerned by the food it has eaten in hospital cafeterias.  You may feel like you have no other choice but choose a hospital based on a) their TV commercials; b) architectural transparency; c) hospital cafeteria; d) which hospital you have heard the least horror stories about; e) which hospital you have heard the most success stories about.

Where's the Consumer Reports for hospitals?

This and this is a start.  And it might give you a better basis to choose a hospital than a,b,c,d, or e.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Does your hospital get the simple things right?

The professional society (i.e. ACOG) which provides guidelines for obstetricians that say, in a nutshell, that say inducing labor before 39 weeks without a clear indication is simply not a good idea.  The DSP blog was not there when this edict was officially issued, so it has to speculate why ACOG recommends against the practice, but it thinks it may have to do with the minor issues of this practice a) increasing the chance the baby is born before it can breathe using only it's built in ventilator, and b) increasing the chance the baby will have to take a tour through the mom's abdomen on its way out, instead of another, perhaps more natural route.

If the recommendations are so clear about not inducing labor before 39 weeks, then would you want to go to a hospital where this was done more than half the time?  If these hospitals can't deliver on this one simple guideline, how well are they going to deliver on something a little more complicated?  How would a driver's seat patient know how well their hospital was doing in this arena?  You might find yours listed on this list.  The DSP blog found it concerning that not a small number of hospitals reported getting this wrong over 25% of the time (including one hospital that got it wrong 100% of the time).  What was even more concerning was the hospitals that either "declined to respond" or felt that the recommendations apparently did not apply to them.

Clearly, the DSP blog is against patients playing Dr. Google.  But at some level, if you are in the Driver's Seat, and you know a hospital gets this simple directive wrong so often, the DSP blog might start looking at the map for a hospital that was a little more successful getting the simple things right.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Upcoming show: March 5: Wheelchair to marathon due to effective driving?

The DSP blog is excited to inform you that, thanks to some cigar smoking, back room wheeling and dealing, Washington's very own Rahm Emanuel will be Chicago's new mayor Lisa Hall will be joining us on the Driver's Seat Patient Radio show, March 5, 2011, from 0800 - 0830.  As told on her blog, The Proactive Patient, Lisa got in the driver's seat and successfully made the trip from being not being able to walk down the driveway due to being able to run a marathon.  This was accomplished with stops at 38 different physicians, including one who apparently realized that her symptoms were due to the internal conflict raging inside her head because she was a southern woman (his diagnosis, not the DSP blog's).  At any rate, her story is quite intriguing, and the DSP blog is looking forward to talking with her about her experience, and plans to ask her just how applicable her experience is to others (apparently some of her symptoms may have been secondary to a lightning strike....).  So please join us here live on March 5, and call in with your questions.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ask for more than 8 minutes

Unfortunately, too many patients discharged from the hospital make are admitted again within 30 days of their discharge.  While the DSP blog thinks that hospitals are great for cable, decent food, and sometimes a front row seat to quite a bit of excitement depending on who your roommate is or what condition is ailing her, all in all, it seems like a fairly expensive way to entertain oneself in this way.  Although the DSP blog was quite saddened by a number of things in this recent overview of the problem, potentially most distressing was this quote:  "Nationally, nurses spend an average of eight minutes on discharge education -- that time spent on education is probably inadequate for anything."  Eight minutes?  The DSP blog feels that if the guy at the oil change place can spend close to 8 minutes reviewing what they did for my car, and how I can take advantage of their free top-off policy between oil changes, then the nurse at the hospital can spend a little more than 8 minutes explaining a) what I need to do when I leave, including my medications, activity, and wound care, and b) which doctors I need to see and when, and under what conditions should I call for an earlier appointment.  The DSP blog would add that before you leave the hospital, you should have a friend fill your discharge prescriptions and you should make your follow up appointments so any issues can be dealt with before you leave the hospital.