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OPUS Day: The Saga Continues!… part 2 October 28, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in OPUS Clindoc Doc!.
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Rolls Royce

Since August 15, 2006, we’ve seen how the new clinical documentation system has taken us from supercharged, efficient and productive workers, to not so efficient, lethargic, incremental overtime guzzlers. Thanks to OPUS Clindoc, we have 3 times more to do, and most of the time, it doesn’t make any sense… at least to some of us.

If you’re like me, I’m sure you have a wish list of things that could make your life easier when it comes to working with OPUS Clindoc, or at least with the whole documentation system itself. I’ve heard someone once say, “it’s supposed to be the Rolls Royce of electronic medical records.”. I beg to differ…this thing is like the Honda Civic of EMRs… (or not even… the Honda Civic performs better).

Notwithstanding, this thing is here to stay, so we might as well embrace our new found burden and get on with our lives. Hey, it’s not like we’re the ones paying the big bucks to use this thing… they are paying us to use this thing and we might as well take advantage of the benefits OPUS Clindoc has to offer, such as (and not limited to) incremental overtime, slow response, redundancy, and the other stuff this system was supposed to eliminate.

However, if you’re like me, I’m opposed to that. In fact, I believe that computer systems (or systems for that matter) is there to make our work more efficient, productive, and enjoyable. Fact is, I was excited that we were going to have electronic documentation systems in place… boy was I wrong! I’ve worked with other systems before, and apples to oranges… this is a lemon! If this is your first experience with an EMR I hope you don’t think this is the bomb… trust me, there are better systems out there. I can only hope that the promised “upgrade” will make things better and faster, hopefully soon and not 5 years from now!

In the meantime, what can we do to help? NOTHING!

Well, not really. You can help.

How?

By talking!

Please don’t be one of those people that lost hope and gave up and just kept quiet because you were beat up for too long with “they don’t listen, so I stopped talking”. If everybody stopped talking, there will be not enough noise to make a difference. Heck… we are what makes this company tick… we might as well be proud of who we are and where we work. After all, we represent UHS to their customers… isn’t it about time we take some ownership and be proud of it? So in light of this… lets start the ball rolling!

If you have any suggestion on how OPUS Clindoc could be improved, please do post a comment under this article or visit the OPUS page, “Oh PUS Clean Doc!”. Lets get more voices in and hopefully this time… they’ll REALLY LISTEN!

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Where did Rodney go? October 22, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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Hot Rod

And then, there were two…

Yup, that’s what happened after “Hot Rod” left 5 West about a week ago. 5 West’s night staff foundation, now down to a dynamic duo of “Nikkon Joe” and “Crowning Glory”. Unfortunately, I missed the pancit farewell party. (Did anybody bring balut?)

That’s life… people come and go. And for our beloved Rodney a.k.a “Hot Rod”, we wish you the best wherever you may be. Hopefully you’ll find yourself back here helping out with our staffing (I hear agency nurses get paid a lot 🙂 **hint hint**)

So to Rodney, thank you for being an awesome part of the 5 West team! The knowledge and expertise that you shared will be greatly missed!

Mandatory meeting… you must be there! October 18, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements, On Communication.
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Uncle Sam Pointing Finger at You!I almost missed it! 🙂

For you folks out there with no kids to take to school, lucky you! Unfortunately some of us do have obligations and when conflict happens… family comes first. I just hope that we have a way of catching up to mandatory meetings that we miss (or almost miss)… can we post them here? (hint hint *** password protected of course ***)

Well, some highlights if you may (for those who kinda missed it). We don’t want you to be out of the loop. For starters, you can get a copy of the handouts from the meeting (or borrow one from your co-workers) and browse through it (although you wouldn’t get the whole discussion).

There were indeed some points discussed during the meeting which you’ll find in this blog. For example, observing HIPAA or using the Spectralink phones when you leave the unit.

On HIPAA and Logging Off

One thing we can do (instead of totally logging off the system) is to “lock” the computer we are using. This is especially helpful if we need to be away for only a few minutes. This way, nobody can use the computer and maliciously log you off (to “teach you a hard lesson” on HIPAA). I mean, c’mon folks… how would you like it if you were working on a 15 page admission assessment, and had one more page to go, but got an urgent call, only to come back quickly and find your 15-20 minutes worth of work gone! Then, you’ll have to redo your whole assessment or documentation, and spend another 15-20 minutes re-entering the information… which by the way causes too much incremental overtime (another point discussed in the meeting). Vicious cycle of events, isn’t it? Not anymore, thanks to Microsoft’s invention of the famous Control-Alt-Delete key combo. All you have to do is press (all at the same time) the keys [ctrl]+[alt]+[del]. What this does is brings up a window with the option to “log off” or “lock” the compter (together with other options). Just click on “lock” and the computer gets locked. You can then do your business and come back later, knowing that your work will still be there (unless of course someone turns the computer off). To unlock, simply press the same combo [ctrl]+[alt]+[del], enter your network password, and (tada!) you can get back to your work without a problem.

Specktralinks

Like the Wireless wonders that we are, communication is key. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a system in place to effectively use these wireless communication devices. The problem only seem to come up when we have to locate someone off-unit because they left without telling us they were leaving, otherwise, the phones stay in the drawers… tucked and hidden (a total waste of $$$ if you ask me). As cumbersome as they may be, let’s make a habit of strapping those phone around our waist or slipping it in our pockets… and actually carry them. That way, there will be no excuse for “not finding us” when we do wander off-unit on ocassion, e.g., going to the pharmacy to pick up narcotics, etc. Now, if we couldn’t be reached on the phones because the signal is bad… ain’t our fault! Maybe we need to switch to Verizon… they can hear us now! (just kidding) 🙂

Well, overall I’d say, things are looking great! We have a cohesive team… don’t you feel the love? 🙂 You better get your shades… the future’s bright at MMC… particularly 5 West, because, at 5 West… we are the best!

Farewell for now October 11, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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Glendale.jpg

Originally uploaded by pamin21.

Our last day in California was bitter sweet.

We said our last goodbyes to Grandma who will be flying back to the Philippines for the final trip. She will be laid to rest beside her husband, sleeping, until that great day when the Lord calls us home.

Before we left, we took an opportunity to capture memories of California to take with us on our trip back. I consider Glendale my hometown… this is where it all began. Allow me to share this photo with you. This will lessen the burder of the 30-hour drive back to Texas. Back to real life again…

We’ll see you soon!

Our Sympathy…We feel your loss October 8, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in General Announcements.
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Our Sympathy

Originally uploaded by pamin21.
My recent trip to California was both bitter sweet.

On 10/06/06 at midnight, we got news that my wife’s only living grandparent, her grandmother, has passed away. Grandma has been in and out of the hospital for almost 3 months, and during the summer (while my family was away), we know that this day would come… it was just a matter of time. 30 hours later we find ourselves in California again, this time to pay our last respects. She will be flown back to the Philippines to her final resting ground, beside her husband who passed away years before.

On the unit as nurses, we are not unfamiliar with this final stage of life, where sooner or later, we find ourselves amid the loss and grieve of family members who have just recently lost their loved ones. It is during this time were we look at ourselves and reflect on our own life, then focus on the needs of our patient’s grieving family.

As a nursing unit, how do we show our sympathy and compassion to family who had just lost a loved one? Do we have a system in place, at least to let them know that we do care and grieve with them for their loss?

I remember back in Community Hospital of San Bernanrdino, we had what they refer to as the grieve packet. It was a small folder that had a card and a poem on an 8 x 11 decorated stationary, with words of comfort. Whenever a patient passes away, the charge nurse would take out one of these packets and have the nurses on the unit sign it. This was then handed to the family as a token that we do feel their loss and that we sympathize with them. We also had certain “codes of conduct”, i.e., no boisterous laughter or loud noises at the nurses station, greeting family we come across the hall with words of sympathy, and the like.

I know that people deal with grief and loss differently, but I know this simple gesture made a big difference in the way our patient’s family viewed us as a unit. It may not sound much, but they got the message… we care and we feel your loss.

As health care workers in MMC, we claim to provide the best care for our patients. We adapted the philosophy of SERVICE EXCELLENCE in everything that we do. Shouldn’t it be time for us to get in gear and kick it up a notch by putting a grief and loss system in place?

I’m a Wireless Wonder!… part 3 October 1, 2006

Posted by 5 Wester in On Communication.
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phonenumber.jpg

Have you ever experienced calling a customer service center and instead of having live person answer you, you get a “machine”? I’m sure you have, and if you haven’t… what planet are you from? 🙂

To make matters worse, it gets really frustrating if you have to go through a “menu” of choices until you get to the “right selection”… you know, the message that says “Please listen carefully before making a selection as our menu may have changed… press 1 if you know your party’s extension, otherwise….” blah, blah, blah. Imagine going through the choices, and not finding what you were looking for, you’d have to press 0 (zero) for the operator, by which you are put on hold and some pleasant elevator music keeps you company… forever!

Imagine how that would be for our patients… “Where have you been? I’ve been calling on my call bell for 2 hours now and the lady told me you were coming!”, with that you sheepishly respond… “I didn’t know, NOBODY TOLD ME!” I’m sure this never happens to you… but if it does, doesn’t it make you look bad? After all, you’re not responsible for what you don’t know, right? Unfortunately, your patient don’t know this. So what do you do? Like most people you just ignore it… life will go on (you say), and soon your patient gets discharged with the impression that you don’t answer your call lights!

Thanks to your wireless communication devices, we actually have another good use for them. Not only can we communicate with each other more efficiently, but we can also have our patients communicate with us without having to go through a third party. How? Simple… just write your extension number on the board after your name! That’s it. Well, not quite… of course you’ll have to instruct your patient how to reach you…

Knock, knock… “Hello, my name is [Yourname] I’ll be your nurse today. I just came to see how you were doing and assist you if you have any concerns. I’ll write my name on the board and my phone number so you can reach me direct. I always have my phone with me (showing your wireless communication device). That way, I can respond to you pronto!”*

Result… happy patients. I had 2 of them actually call me direct. It does 2 things for them. 1) they can reach you fast and therefore decrease or allay anxiety, and 2) it shows them you care enough to have them get to you straight… no 3rd party “answering machines”, just a live person at the end of the line.

Just like our customer service experience, when we call a company and get a real live person we tell ourselves, “Wow! This company really care for their customers to have someone man the phones and wait for my call”. I guess it just make for a good customer service experience, and since we’re talking about “Service Excellence”, maybe this little caring gesture (which I learned from Methodist Hospital of Arcadia in California), might give us that “boost” that will help set us apart from the other hospitals, and thus increase our competitive advantage. Just like you already know… it’s the small things that count!

*Side Note: At Methodist Hospital of Arcadia (highly recommended workplace should you find yourself in California), even the CNAs have phones with their number on the board, and thus their patients can call them directly. I’m sure the hospital can afford extra phones for our CNAs. Its a small price to pay with absolutely huge returns on investment. By the way, CNAs, that might as well be your name up there in the photo… Superman and Superwoman of 5 West…keep up the awesome job!