We hear plenty of talk about robots, telemedicine, EHRs and stem cell-spurred regenerative medicine. However, there are still more low-tech solutions out there that can make your life drastically easier.
Oh, what’s that? What are they, you ask? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
We’ve discussed social media before, but YouTube has been left largely out of the conversation, largely because it lacks the direct communicative factor that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr boast.
Vascular surgeon Paolo Zamboni discovered a treatment for relieving MS symptoms, using a balloon to straighten out crooked neck veins. He documented his method extensively and once word caught on, other MS patients around the country began posting before and after videos on YouTube.
Think about how you can use YouTube at your practice. Not only can you document easy remedies for chronic conditions for your own patients, but you can bring comfort to people across the country.
Furthermore, you can brand yourself a little more effectively, providing easy medical advice publicly on YouTube, or making links private to provide treatments your patients can watch repeatedly.
This not only increases your credibility and patient base, but you touch people you never dreamed of influencing.
The first time I remember being ‘nudged’ was in the bathroom at Ikea, where all the urinals had small bees drawn on the porcelain. Found more commonly in Europe, the bee becomes an aiming game for the ‘player’ (for a lack of a better term). When calculated over the course of a year, the savings in janitorial labor and cleaning supplies amounts to thousands of dollars.
These nudges are a behavioral economics tool that push us to behave in a certain way, and often employ game-based mechanics or the kind of notifications our smart phones use. Why not use them more often in the medical world?
Many of these can be more effective than doctors trying to ram treatments down one’s throat. Reminders, peer pressure, rewards and other behavioral tricks can be used for compliance-based care in post-stroke victims, as well as diabetic and obese patients.
However, nudge tactics work with other physicians at your practice, too. A large practice at Boston-based Partners HealthCare showed a group of doctors their variation in administering a certain kind of radiology test. This peer pressure nudged doctors who abused the technology to lay off, reducing use by 15%.
Now, this sounds like common sense, and may make a few jaws drop. Checklists? Really?
Well, checklists tame complexity, providing order and a reminder of things a doctor may need. What if a neurologist misses a step, or a nurse forgets a catheter? Checklists can help prevent this.
Surgeon Atul Gawande extolls the virtues of creating checklists in his book, The Checklist Manifesto. Gawande maintained that using a simple checklist before surgery could help hospitals prevent needless errors, like pilots do.
Johns Hopkins Hospital tested the line of thought, implementing a checklist that required doctors to meet certain standards before enacting medical procedures, i.e., washing hands. Infection rates failed after the checklist was put in place.
Sounds like a panacea for careless mistakes in healthcare. However, Gawande does believe the drawback lies in the fact that you can’t mandate checklists, or these iniatives will likely collapse. Doctors need to be sold on the idea, by their medical practice staff and even observers like Power Your Practice.
Do you think you’ll try some of these techniques out? What kind of low-tech innovations have you implemented at your practice?Tweet