Within the past two months, I've attended three industry conferences—the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives' CIO Fall Forum in San Antonio, the Radiological Society of North America's annual extravaganza in Chicago and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's annual meeting last week in Orlando. All had substantial international reach.
At CHIME, I had the chance to speak with Jason Hess, executive vice president of KLAS Enterprises, an Orem, Utah-based market research firm. Hess had just returned from Europe. In response to provider demand, Hess said, KLAS planning to do abroad what it does here in the U.S.: survey users of health IT systems and issue reports on customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The international KLAS report is due to be published in January.
Radiology, a medical specialty long a leader in health information technology and interoperability, is now infused with digital systems, and the RSNA conference, to those who have never been, is the veritable United Nations of U.S. healthcare trade shows. Last year, it drew visitors from more than 100 countries. This year, 16% of the 59,097 attendees were from abroad, both records.
IHI President and CEO Maureen Bisognano highlighted a global effort to improve healthcare quality, pointing to Sweden, Ghana and New Zealand as home to projects worthy of emulation.
One of them was catalyzed by Christian Farman, a kidney disease patient from Sweden.
For a year before his second kidney transplant, Farman performed dialysis on himself during off-hours, five to six times a week, after persuading his caregivers to teach him how. Farman credits Britt-Marie Banck, the chief nurse at the hospital where he received treatment, with sticking her neck out to launch the innovative program, now housed in its own free-standing clinic serving multiple patients, all with keys to the facility.
"By doing it yourself, you can double up your dialysis quality," Farman said. "You'll have better outcomes, less infections; you don't have fluid restrictions, food restrictions; you're not feeling tired.”
One 75-year-old patient has been given a dialysis machine to take home. Farman said he sees the day when the standard of care will be home-based dialysis with patients linked to their supervising nurses and physicians by Web-based telecommunication systems.
Even at home or at the walk-in clinic, patients are still hooked up to a machine for four to five hours a session, but "that's the only hard fact you have to face," Farman said. "That's the limitation. But, the outcome is so good, and the well-being is so good, by doing it five or six times a week, you're glad to go to the clinic and do it."
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