It’s been a little while since I sat down and wrote a blog for Mobile Heartbeat. It took a recent hospital visit (as a patient, unfortunately) to remind me why I do this job (and truly enjoy it, boss, really) and how sometimes blog ideas and stories just come from personal experiences.
I was on a Sunday morning drive, and for no reason whatsoever, I suddenly and unexplainably lost clear vision in my left eye. Long story short (for the sake of a blog), I unknowingly had a partially detaching retina that persistently insisted I get to my favorite local ER (which I have been to enough times due to self-inflicted, sports-related injuries that I really should get a wing named after me). After anxiously and nervously sitting in an exam room listening to countless intercom announcements about every other patient besides me, I was reminded that Florence Nightingale wrote in her 1859 book, Notes on Nursing, “Unnecessary noise is the most cruel abuse of care which can be inflicted on either the sick or the well.” That immediately made perfect sense to me, as did the value of the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) patient perspective about “quietness of the hospital environment” (http://www.hcahpsonline.org/home.aspx). Directed messaging to available care givers, as opposed to loudspeaker broadcast messaging to everyone, seems to be a solution that calms patients AND caregivers alike, yet few hospitals seem to have embraced technologies (like Mobile Heartbeat’s MH-CURE) to reduce noise (at least so far), and that’s just cruel (thanks Florence, your point is well taken).
When the on-call Ophthalmologist arrived, he spent a significant amount of time deeply peering into my eye (not even close to romantically), and used his personal cell phone to text a retina surgeon and request an appointment for me for Monday morning. No, it was not a healthcare-specific secure texting product he was using, because I asked. That’s what I do, even when looking over his shoulder with one good eye. But, I WAS assured none of my PHI was sent along in his request for the appointment. Again, I was reminded of the gap between “need” and “access” to technology – exactly the gap we at Mobile Heartbeat fulfill for acute healthcare facilities, in order to solve their HIPAA-compliant Clinical Communications & Collaboration needs effectively and efficiently.
Surgery went well (thanks for asking), as I traded my eye for a 24-hour eye PATCH that made me look not unlike a battle-worn pirate (so my co-workers joked. I promise not to share any of the memes they took exhaustive personal time and commitment to create and mock me with). Now back in full swing, I look forward to sailing the seas of technology change in healthcare!