IHI: Hospitals, Patients Rethink Care; Berwick Blasts Rhetoric

Cheryl Clark, December 8, 2011

This year's Institute for Healthcare Improvement forum, which ended Wednesday in Orlando, provided so many new concepts that could—either quietly or dramatically—alter any healthcare system, at times I thought my head was spinning out of control.

Last year's shock of having to brace for change has worn off. This year, leading-edge providers are thinking much more seriously, in much more detailed and creative ways, about just what form that change must take.

Involving the Patient
For starters, many of the more than 5,700 attendees and presenters said they are figuring out how patients and family members can be a bigger part of the process. In some healthcare systems, providers make sure a patient advocate sits in during interviews with prospective hires for certain clinical jobs. Did they look the patient in the eye? Could they listen as well as they could speak?

A smart, young patient with renal failure told how he got so sick and tired of not being in control of his dialysis, that he pushed the Swedish healthcare system to let him administer his own sessions. With the help of an inspired nurse, the patient created a center where more than 50 patients now administer their own dialysis, with less fatigue, fewer infections, and at reduce cost. The patient with renal failure obtained a transplant and now works as a registered nurse.


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