Advances are Everywhere

We know that time is brain when it comes to stroke care. An increasing range of apps, IT solutions and innovations are wide-ranging across the care continuum. An everyday text message can help friends and family members detect a neurological problem—known as dystextia. Apps can turn smartphones into medical devices, such as the 501(k)-approved 1-lead ECG from AliveCor. Information systems can help route patients suspected of stroke to a CT scanner more quickly and alert the appropriate clinicians as soon as the scans are ready for review to speed diagnosis and thus care. Order sets remind clinicians to ask all the right questions, ensure that evidence-based best practices are being delivered to stroke patients, that discharge instructions are thorough and make sure patients don’t fall through the cracks when it comes to follow-up care.

While stroke is a leading cause of death and disability, innovation is driving improvements for many other illnesses and disorders. Another exciting advance centers around medical body area networks. These wearable monitors track vital signs and other measures to provide clinicians with a complete assessment of their patients. The FCC recently designated spectrum specifically for these networks which should help drive this already burgeoning field. How we’ll eventually deal with all the additional data is a conundrum but check out are article on page 30.

Another innovation boosting performance and efficiency in healthcare is Lean management techniques as adapted from the Toyota production system. As Margaret Pastuszko, VP, strategic and business planning at Mount Sinai Medical Center told me, there is no aspect of the healthcare business that Lean techniques can’t improve upon. Efforts to reduce waste—and that primarily encompasses wasted time—make organizations operate more efficiently, improve the patient’s experience and lead to happier, more satisfying workplaces for employees. For more on how to implement Lean at your facility, see page 26.

Order sets drive standardized care and, in turn, better patient outcomes. Laura Pedulli’s article on page 18 details how organizations can successfully implement order sets to streamline workflow and improve core measures right at the point of care.

More and more providers are sensing the need to track and care for patients all the time, not just when they are both in an exam room. Population health efforts provide the ability to do that. Well-tracked process measures go hand in hand with good outcomes measures—increasingly important when you consider the various reporting mandates driving reimbursement. Learn more on page 20.

Thanks for reading and, as always, please share your thoughts on these ideas and others.