Category Archives: Gadgets and Gizmos

Aug 26 2013
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Ode to My Favorite Gadget – This One Saves 99,000 Lives Per Year in the U.S. Can Your iPhone Do That?

Timothy Landers, RN, CNP, PhD is a 2012-2015 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar and an assistant professor at The Ohio State University.

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A piece of technology that has transformed modern health care—and our careers—is the underappreciated hand sanitizer dispenser.

Nearly every field of nursing and medicine depends on advances in the prevention and treatment of infection. For example, it is now possible to perform extended surgeries on the brain or heart while controlling the risk of later death from infection. Combined with infection prevention activities, it is now possible to give immune-suppressing drugs to cancer patients who would otherwise certainly die of an infection at some point in their disease process. One hundred years ago, patients with trauma often died of infectious complications several days after the acute injury. 

Advances in every field of medicine depend on good infection control. And good infection control depends on good hand hygiene. And good hand hygiene depends on the hand sanitizer dispenser.

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Aug 7 2013
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Health Care Transformation in the Context of Caring

Ann O’Brien, MSN, RN, is national director of clinical informatics for Kaiser Permanente - National Patient Care Services & KP Information Technology. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow (2011-2014).

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I had the honor of hearing Donald Berwick, MD, present last week at the American Hospital Association Leadership Forum in San Diego. In fact, I registered for the conference to hear his keynote address. He brings the unique perspective of both of his previous roles: president and CEO of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and, most recently, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

But more importantly he knows the secret of how to transform care. In fact, we can go back to the 2001 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century for the six aims of health care improvement:  safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient and equitable. Berwick was on that IOM committee and expressed concern last week with the progress we have made in meeting those goals over 12 years.

Health information technology (IT) has been touted as a way to promote safety, efficiency, quality and patient-centered care. But these benefits have yet to be realized because there has not been large scale adoption of electronic medical records (EMR) and enabling technology to achieve these goals.

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Aug 6 2013
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A Doctor and Mother of a Premature Baby Helps Test a Mobile App for Parents of Special-Needs Infants

Nwando Eze, MD, MPH, is a neonatal fellow and mother of two practicing in Orange, California. When she was a pediatric resident, she helped test Estrellita, a smartphone app designed to support parents of infants with special health needs.  Estrellita is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

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I smile as I note the increase in weight Ozuli has had in the last month.  Having spent two-and-a-half months with Ozuli in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), I learned quickly that weight gain with minimal to no other problems was as close to an ideal situation as any parent could ask for in the NICU.

Ozuli was born two months early at 29 weeks unexpectedly.  I was in my second year of pediatric residency and had a three-year-old already and had no problems with my previous pregnancy. So it was quite a surprise when at 29 weeks I began contracting intermittently and the contractions didn’t stop until Ozuli was born. I was put to sleep for the delivery and so did not get to see her until the next day, which just happened to fall on Mother’s Day. That day was the beginning of our two-month journey in the NICU—a journey I found to be the scariest and yet most blessed time in my life.

A few weeks before we were discharged, I agreed to enroll in a study testing a mobile health application that allowed parents of preterm infants to record ongoing health-related information about their infants. I was given a smartphone with the app in which I was to record events like daily diaper counts, daily weights, how fussy Ozuli was that day, my own daily moods, doctor’s appointment times, and follow-up visits.

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Aug 6 2013
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How the 'Change My Steps Challenge' Changed Me

Aneesah Gilbert participated in the "Change My Steps Challenge,” organized by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar Chileshe Nkonde-Price, MD, to address the fact that heart disease rates are increasing among Black women.

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At age 26, I came to the realization that I wasn’t getting any younger. With this being so obvious, you’re probably sarcastically wondering: How did she figure that out? Well, I will tell you the story. One winter morning I awakened to my left arm so numb I thought it was not my own. My arm was numb because I’d slept on it all night (I had slept this way from birth up until this point).

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I visited my doctor and discussed this tragedy, he laughed as he does normally to all my hypochondriac symptoms. After he had a good chuckle he told me that because of my weight (all 210 lbs. of me), the blood flow was being cut off in my arm and caused it to go numb. He then told me that my weight could cause a number of issues I did not want to experience at 26 years of age. I went home, grabbed my computer, typed in the search bar ‘DIET’ and began my stretch of unsuccessful attempts at losing weight. I came up with this personal fact: There is no diet or exercise that will work for me if I am not willing to work for it.

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Aug 5 2013
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Ode to My Favorite Gadget: A Heart ECG at Your Fingertips!

Kathleen Hickey, EdD, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, FAAN, is a nurse practitioner in cardiac electrophysiology, an assistant professor at the Columbia University School of Nursing, and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars program. Hickey is president of the International Society of Nurses in Genetics.

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As a cardiovascular nurse practitioner, there have been many instances when a patient has reported an intermittent and sporadic racing of the heart, chest pressure or other vague symptom. If I had only an ECG (electrocardiogram) when that was happening, I thought to myself on many occasions.

But as most practitioners know, in the real world such episodes rarely occur while the patient is right in front of them. Rather, symptoms occur when the patient is at home, at work, has just left the provider’s office, or is on vacation!

The widespread use of smart phones has resulted in a plethora of gadgets, gizmos, and associated health care applications—but one I can’t live without is the AliveCor heart recorder and application that is now compatible with the iPhone.

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