HealthLeaders Media QualityLeaders - January 15, 2009 | Beware of Toys! View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Beware of Toys!
Jay Moore, managing editor, HealthLeaders Media
With thousands of people dying in U.S. hospitals from healthcare-associated infections every year, taking steps to control the spread of HAIs is an issue of extreme urgency. But there's a fine line between vigilant caution and paranoia. [Read More]
    
 
Jan. 15, 2009
 
Editor's Picks

California probes whether Kaiser call centers endanger patients
This piece reports on an investigation by California's Department of Managed Health Care into Kaiser Permanente's use of a semi-automated system that allows people with limited or no medical training determine how quickly a patient needs to be seen. According to the story, the investigation of the HMO began after a nurse complained about mishandled calls. Kaiser says the call center employees follow a script written by physicians, so they're not really making clinical decisions on their own. I can certainly see why some would be leery of nonclinical people directing medical calls, script or no script, but 911 operators and who knows who else follow some form of script, too. This kind of thing may just be an unfortunate fact of life. [Read More]

In FDA files, claims of rush to approve devices
An intriguing look here at internal strife in the Food and Drug Administration's office of device evaluation. Nine FDA scientists complained first to FDA commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach then to Congress and finally to President-elect Obama's transition team that FDA managers have become too lenient in approving medical devices. The scientists contend some devices aren't being properly tested and that an agency supervisor forced them to change reviews of certain devices, including a breast imaging device. The story does offer responses from other FDA officials, so the truth may lie somewhere between the two opinions of the FDA's process. But beyond the issue of human error, the notion that medical devices themselves aren't tested sufficiently to determine their safety is unsettling. [Read More]

Medical workers caught red-handed
This is one of the more creative ways I've seen to demonstrate the importance of hand hygiene. Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center researchers had a medical student examine a patient with no signs of infection who was known to have drug-resistant Staph on his skin. Before washing her hands, the medical student then placed her hand on a dish containing a jelly that promotes the growth of germs. She then cleaned her hand with an alcohol gel and placed it on a second dish. After 24 hours, the first dish showed a red imprint of the unwashed hand (there's a cool photo so you can see what it looks like), while the second dish was unchanged. [Read More]
This Week's Headlines

New Jersey Assembly takes up inequities in prenatal care
AP/Philadelphia Inquirer - January 12, 2009

Surgeon shortage pushes hospitals to hire temps
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - January 13, 2009

Webcasts/Audio Conferences


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Flat-World Healthcare
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As minimally invasive procedures consume a larger portion of spinal care, provider organizations have many opportunities—and challenges—in an increasingly outpatient service line. [Read More]

Leaders Forum
A Necessity, Not an Option: Rethinking ED Systems
Emergency departments nationwide deserve gold stars for their creativity in mitigating the effects of overcrowding by making processes more efficient through quick registration, provider in triage, bedside registration, standing orders, and the use of fast track and sub-waiting areas, to name a few. [Read More]
Audio Feature
Linda McClung, senior vice president for communications, public affairs, philanthropy, and system services for Irving, TX-based Christus Health, talks during HealthLeaders Media's 2008 Top Leadership Teams Annual Conference and Awards about the importance of recognizing that transparency is about more than the data. [Listen Now]
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