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DiversityNursing Blog

Freakishly High Definition Future of Body Scanning

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 21, 2015 @ 10:44 AM

By Dan Kedmey

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General Electric released images on Wednesday from its first clinical trial of a next generation body scanner that captures bones, blood vessels and organs in high-definition.

The patients ride into the chamber of the scanner, dubbed “Revolution CT,” where a fan-shaped beam of x rays passes down their bodies and a computer reconstructs a digital model of the body, slice-by-slice. The scanner can build an image of a heart in the time it takes for a single heartbeat, according to GE.

The snapshots below, provided by GE, may look like an artist’s rendering from an anatomy textbook. In fact, they were taken from living patients at West Kendall Baptist Hospital in south Florida, the first hospital to test the new scanner in the field.






Topics: digital, tests, anatomy, organs, bones, GE, General Electric, trial, body scanner, blood vessels, high-definition, x rays, health, healthcare, nurse, nurses, doctors, health care, hospital, treatment, physicians, clinical

Three Tips for Better Nurse–Physician Communication In The Digital Age

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Nov 17, 2014 @ 12:58 PM

By Melissa Wirkus

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“HIT has been shown to help some patients, but it has also been shown to perhaps provide some complications in care, or less than adequate care, when messages are not received, when messages are interrupted or when messages are routed to the inappropriate person,” explained Milisa Manojlovich, PhD, RN, CCRN, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing (UMSN) and member of U-M’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Manojlovich will serve as the primary investigator on a new $1.6 million grant from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that will focus on health IT’s effects on nurse–physician communication. Manojlovich and her co-investigators will look at how communication technologies make it easier or harder for doctors and nurses to communicate with each other. They hope their research will identify the optimal way to support effective communication while fostering improved and positive interdisciplinary team-based care.

Until the research is completed, Manojlovich offers some simple procedures clinicians can begin to adopt right now to help alleviate common problems with digital communication:

1.   Use multiple forms of technology  

Just like there is more than one way to treat a cold, there is more than one way to communicate electronically. Utilizing multiple forms of technology to communicate important information, or sometimes even reverting back to the “old-fashioned” ways of making a phone call or talking in person, can help ensure the receipt of a message in an environment that is often inundated.

“One of the things we are going to investigate is this idea of matching the message to the medium,” Manojlovich said. “So depending on the message that you want to send, you will identify what is the best medium to send that message.”

Using the current Ebola situation in Texas as an example, Manojlovich explained that using multiple forms of technology as a back-up to solely documenting the information in the EHR system could have mitigated the breakdown in communication that occurred. “Although the clinician did her job by entering the information into the EHR, she maybe should have texted or emailed the physician with the information or found someone to talk to in person about the situation. What we are trying to do with this study is see if there is another way that messages like this could have been transmitted better.”

2.   Include the whole message 

Reducing fragmented messages and increasing the aggregation of key data and information in communications may be one of the most critical pieces to improving communication between nurses and physicians. Manojlovich has been passionate about nurse–physician communication throughout her career and has conducted several previous studies on communication technologies.

“What we’ve noticed, for example, is that nurses will sometimes use the same form of communication over and over again. In one of the studies we actually watched a nurse page the same physician three times with the same question within an hour period.”

The physician did not answer any of the messages, and Manojlovich concluded it was because the pages were missing critical components of information related to the patient’s care plan. Increasing the frequency of communications can be beneficial, but only if the entire message and all important facets of information are relayed.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get what you’ve always gotten. If you don’t alter or change the communication technology you are using, you are going to get the same results,” she added.

3.   Incorporate a team-based approach 

“At a really high level the problem is that a lot of these computer and electronic health record technologies are built with individuals in mind,” Manojlovich said. “When you talk about care process and team processes, that requires more interaction than the technologies are currently able to give us. The computer technologies are designed for individual use, but health care is based on the interaction of many different disciplines.”

Infusing this collaborative mindset into the “siloed” technology realm will undoubtedly help to improve the communication problems between providers and clinicians at all levels and all practice settings--which is especially important in today’s environment of co-morbidities and coordinating care.

Nurses play a critical role in improving communication as frontline care providers. “Nurses are the 24-hour surveillance system for hospitalized patients. It is our job to do that monitoring and surveillance and to let physicians know when something comes up.”

“I believe that for quality patient care, a patient needs input from all disciplines; from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists--everyone,” Manojlovich said. “We are being trained separately and each discipline has a different knowledge base, and these differences make it difficult for us to understand each other. Developing mutual understanding is really important because when we have that mutual understanding I think outcomes are better and it can be argued that the quality of care is better when you have everyone providing input.”


Topics: physician, digital, technology, health, healthcare, nurses, patients, hospital, communication

Teaching geriatric care to a new generation.

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 16, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

By Stacey Burling


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George Palo is 90. He's repeating himself quite a bit these days and he's just had to downsize to a retirement community. He really misses his late wife.

Soon, he will also miss his beloved dog, Max.

This last bit of news caused a roomful of nurse educators to moan a sad, sympathetic, "Ohhhh" at a meeting last week at the Independence Blue Cross building in Center City.

George is a fictional character, created along with two others to help nurses in training understand dementia and its traveling companions among the elderly: depression and delirium.

The nurses' emotional response to George's impending loss was a sign of the emotional power of narrative, which the National League for Nursing is harnessing to improve education about late-life medical problems. The group also is embracing a multimedia approach that includes the written word, audio recordings of the "patients" voiced by actors, simulations that include mannequins and live actors, and the latest addition: virtual animations of the patients and nurse avatars who make treatment decisions.

"Traditional-based teaching is really over for most of us," Elaine Tagliareni, the league's chief program officer, told the crowd of about 175 who had gathered for her group's Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors conference. The Independence Blue Cross Foundation is a sponsor. Using technology to improve care was a theme this year.

The nursing group wants to reach a new generation of students who are already accustomed to multimedia learning, may be taking classes online, and will work in a world where technology increasingly connects patients, doctors, and nurses who are not in the same room.

Medical and nursing schools have long used standardized patients: actors who portray certain medical conditions. Increasingly sophisticated mannequins have been playing a bigger role in medical education in recent years.

Drexel University's College of Nursing and Health Professions began using a virtual-patient program produced by Shadow Health last year. It is meant to reinforce classroom training. The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing also is using a Shadow Health program to teach nurses how to take a health history and perform a physical exam.

Gregg Lipschik, director of life-support training and undergraduate curriculum at the Penn Medicine Clinical Simulation Center, said Penn sometimes uses a virtual program to review resuscitation techniques. It pairs computer simulation and mannequins to teach procedures such as bronchoscopies.

Lipschik said use of simulation had been growing since 1999, when an Institute of Medicine report recommended it to reduce medical errors and improve teamwork. "It's really boomed in the last few years," he said.

The nursing league began its Advancing Care program in 2009, Tagliareni said, because "care of older adults is not well integrated into nursing programs" even though 75 percent of the care nurses give is to people over 65. It's adding the new dementia cases to expand education on another neglected topic.

The patient profiles are purposely complicated - like real people - and they unfold over time in unpredictable ways. The death of George Palo's golden retriever is a calamity not only because George's grief adds to his thinking problems but because walking Max was a key way the man exercised and interacted with the outside world. The profiles are accompanied by teacher information.

Tagliareni said that the dementia patients may not end up in the virtual world but that other fictitious elderly characters like Millie Larsen and Red Yoder may be available this fall in the gamelike "vSim for Nursing" program developed by Wolters Kluwer Health of Philadelphia and Laerdal Medical.

An audience member said her students easily identified with the league's patients. "That's my Pop-Pop," one of them told her.

The group at the meeting saw a younger virtual patient named Stan and his virtual nurse, Dan. Stan had gone to the emergency room with stomach pain from a bowel obstruction. The student, who had access to test information and doctor's orders, had to use a menu of options to decide what Dan should say and do. The animation was primitive, but the decisions were complex. At the end of their 30-minute encounter, the student received a number score and a report on what had been done and should have been done.

Barbara McLaughlin, head of nursing at Community College of Philadelphia, did a pilot test of vSim, which costs $100 per student for two years of access, with her students last year. "They liked them [the scenarios] a lot because it gave them the opportunity to do the same experience over and over and correct their mistakes," she said.



Topics: digital, technology, health, training, nurse, geriatric

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