Angie’s List commercial for physician reviews, have you seen it on TV?

I’d call this inappropriate use of copyright laws:

Some docs, worried about their reputations, are trying to fight back against negative reviews, requiring patients to sign contracts — critics call them “gag orders” — promising not to post comments to public sites. Others ask patients to sign over copyright to future comments, hoping for leverage to have any nasty tags removed.

Saying sorry makes the recipient feel better

Apologizing is good.  Glad healthcare is doing more of it:

8. Turns out, saying you’re sorry really is important—and not just to discussed at the Child Psychology Research Blog found that receiving an apology makes the recipient feel better by affecting his or her perception of the wrongdoer’s emotions. In other words, people who received an apology felt better afterward because the apology indicated that the other person felt bad about what he or she did.  Sounds simple enough, but the researchers think it goes a bit deeper: knowing that the other person agrees that what he/she did was the wrong thing to do reaffirms our view of the world as just and predictable, since the other’s sadness tells us that people in general don’t do things like this. Whether that explanation is true or not, just suck it up and say you’re sorry.

From Ten Psychology Studies From 2009 Worth Knowing About

Healthcare (knowledge) worker shortage

Wired tells us that Toyota is trying to build nurse robots.  The problem, as we face to a lesser extent in the U.S., is Japan’s aging population and low birth rate resulting in a shortage of nurses.  The company is working on building robots to take care of the elderly inside the hospital and out.

Nursing shortage solved, let’s move onto the next one: knowledge workers.  Nine Shift writes:

By 2015 we will have a shortage of 14 million knowledge workers, and society will be desperate for college educated professionals.

We’ll have nurse robots but no one to watch over them.  Feels very sci-fi.

Joking aside, talent makes the world go round.  And a lack of it will be problematic for healthcare, too.  Especially as we transition from (more) intervention care to relationship care (wellness support, lifestyle changes, etc.).

News emerged over the last few days that the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy could very possibly go to a Republican in today’s election.  That would mean the Democrats, who have needed all 60 of their Senate votes to pass health reform legislation, would be down to 59 seats.

While that doesn’t mean the end of health reform, it certainly would have repercussions. The outcome of the Massachusetts election will make the next 30 days very interesting.

You can tell from the graphs above how Wall Street feels: no health reform = good for insurance companies and bad for hospitals. No opinion from me here, just something interesting to note.

Google Finance Health Insurance Companies Chart

Google Finance Hospital Companies Chart

This is one of the most interesting graphs I’ve ever seen.  Remember the consumptionholic lifestyle Americans were living?  Sure there were overextensions: too much car purchasing, too much pool building, too much Best Buy credit carding, etc.

But look at that graph; it seems a significant portion of that “binge spending” can be attributed to healthcare.  Left Business Observer:

Some numbers to make these points: at the end of 1978, consumption was 61.5% of GDP; in the second quarter of 2008, it had risen to 70.3%, or 8.8 points. Well over half that increase, 5.0 points, came from spending on medical care. The share of GDP devoted to spending on goods actually fell by 4.7 points over that 30-year period.

The pattern is preserved if you start the clock in 1997, just as the stock and housing manias were taking off. Medical spending accounted for almost a third of that rise between 1997 and 2008. Energy accounted for another third. Spending on goods accounted for just 3% of the rise, or 0.1 point. In other words, the familiar story that Americans went hogwild buying all kinds of stuff is wrong.


I think the reason a lot of hospitals struggle with implementing a full-scale quality program is that the individuals in the organization have a real problem with admitting there’s a quality problem.

“We’re pretty good." The enemy of excellence.

The first step in improvement is agreeing upon the problem (defining it).  It’s impossible to even make that first step when an organization is blinded by its perceived goodness.

That’s what makes the new Domino’s Pizza commercial so outstanding (extended version above) and a potentially terrific example of admitting a problem.  From Slate:

Domino’s is a different story. The brand had no pressing need to publicly kick itself in the ass. And yet it chose to…

I’m not talking about politely phrased critiques. Viscerally suggestive words like cardboard andketchup are employed to describe the taste of Domino’s pizza. Again: In a Domino’s ad. It’s startling when you first see the spot on TV.

Sure, it’s an advertising tactic.  But I’d argue that persuasion, and in this form a shockingly honest assessment, is exactly what a hospital with pretty good quality needs.