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Show us the right way, and other letters

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: March 16, 2013 - 12:01 am ET

When it comes to infection control, the healthcare industry is paying attention. I am proud to say my staff is as well. The first comment they had when they saw the March 4 cover of Modern Healthcare was, “Look at the dangling masks!” It is often difficult for people to break some of these habits they have had for many years. It might help promote good practice to display the correct use of personal protective equipment on the cover of popular healthcare magazine such as Modern Healthcare. Thank you for an interesting magazine that helps us keep current with the top issues.

Joy Moore
Executive director,
Oak Surgical Institute
Bradley, Ill.

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Use community resources

I am writing about the challenges resulting from the influx of mentally ill patients in local emergency rooms across the nation due to the lack of availability of psychiatric beds. As a registered nurse working with the mentally ill population, I believe that utilization of community resources such as VNA services or other community-based programs can decrease the incidence of these emergency room visits. I have had a firsthand view of the gap between the emergency room and the community regarding mentally ill patients. Unfortunately, most of my home-care patients have had numerous emergency room visits and psychiatric inpatient hospitalizations prior to being referred for psychiatric VNA services or other community-based programs. I believe that referring these psychiatric patients to community-based programs or psychiatric VNA services upon discharge from the emergency room will decrease the frequency and utilization of emergency rooms nationwide. As a nurse in the home-care setting, I am able to assist these mentally ill patients with stabilization by providing medication management, disease-process management, education, crisis intervention and ensuring regular follow-up with a psychiatrist, which can decrease the incidence of emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

Bridgitte Cook
New Bedford, Mass.

Interoperability failure

I share your frustration with lack of easy access to current and historical medical records, although your analogy to financial records missed the mark (editorial, “Heads in the cloud,”). A 401k from a former employer, not a bank account, would be the financial equivalent to a medical record from a former insurance company or a previous practitioner. The only detail available from an old 401k is the balance. The parallel in medicine would be the name of the insurance or physician. No doubt the financial industry should provide details of the trades, gains and withdrawals from a 401k account, just as interoperability should give diagnosis, treatments and prescription information for the history of a patient.

Jon Piebenga
Executive partner
Verge Solutions, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

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