Low Tech Healthcare

I recently wrote about a trip I took to Florida. That trip was to the HIMSS11 conference. There were some interesting sessions, and some sessions that were less so, but the two best ones had very little to do with computers and high-end technology.

Michael J. Fox spoke on the last day, and his closing remarks were very entertaining and engaging. What a compelling story: as he approached the height of his career he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and was told he would be able to work less than 10 years before he would lose control of his body. He has managed to turn that into 20 and counting, and along the way has become a vocal advocate for fundraising to fight the disease. He created a foundation to raise money with the stated goal of finding a cure and “putting it out of business”. While there was not a great deal of technical information in his talk, there was a lot of passion, and it was a good reminder of the humanity and emotion in living with a disease.

The best session, though, had two separate hospitals that had addressed congestive heart failure (CHF) followups with a decidedly low-tech approach. Upon diagnosis, each patient was signed up for a followup program that was simply one phone call a day. One hospital did the followup with an robo-call system, and the patient would be reminded to call back with their weight and a couple of other vital signs that they could easily take at home on their own. The second hospital did the same thing, but with a real person making the call. Both hospitals had clinical documentation showing patients had a lower rate of readmission and were more aware of their daily stats importance. In fact, one of the hospitals even reported that when the robo-caller locked up the patients actually called in on their own!

HIMSS11 was a marathon of sessions, and these were only two of many. I’m looking forward to next year!


About johnmcgeeblog

Husband, father, IT manager, traveler, guitarist, hackintosher, writer...? Blogging can be a coping mechanism, a mentoring tool... what is it to you?
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