Archive for: January 2013

Got the Flu? Antibiotics Won’t Help (So Please Don’t Ask for Them)

Jan 28, 2013, 12:09 PM, Posted by Beth Toner

Beth Toner Beth Toner

One look at the latest flu map from the Centers for Disease Control tells you everything you need to know: We are smack-dab in the middle of flu season. Make no mistake: Influenza, at best, can make you miserable—and, at worst, kill you. If you are one of the many Americans suffering from the flu this season, you will probably try anything to get relief from your sore throat, high fever, body aches, and chills. But do us a favor: Please don’t ask your doctor for an antibiotic. There are medications—called antivirals—that may decrease your symptoms and shorten your illness by a day or two. Antibiotics, however, won’t help you if you have the flu. 

Antibiotics don’t fight infections that are caused by viruses, including influenza. Yet every year flu sufferers are prescribed antibiotics. According to a policy brief from Extending the Cure (ETC), a project funded by the Pioneer team, that researches and examines solutions to address antibiotic resistance, between 500,000 and 1 million antibiotic prescriptions are filled each flu season for patients who have the flu and no bacterial illness.

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Calling for Problems: What Did We Hear? What’s Next?

Jan 24, 2013, 11:30 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

In December, we asked our readers to tell us about the health care problems they felt were most in need of innovation—the tough problems, the crucial ones, maybe even those they’d seen firsthand. The number of comments we received was encouraging. It has also challenged our thinking, and generated a great deal of discussion on our team.

One thing is certain: The conversation that ensued from that post confirmed that our team needs to do more listening—listening to patients, caregivers, health care professionals, innovators, thought leaders—the list goes on and on.

We saw some common themes in the problems you shared. A few of them are reflected in areas in which the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is already working. Clearly there are problems that, despite the intensive efforts of many really smart people, resist conventional solutions. Other themes showed us how important it is to always be examining what we’re doing from perspectives other than our own. 

So where do we go from here?  

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How Nurses Can Empower Patients Through Shared Notes

Jan 4, 2013, 12:36 PM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

By Jan Walker, RN, MBA, and Suzanne Leveille, RN, PhD, of OpenNotes

This is cross-posted from ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

 As nurses, we've always been focused on the patient. Teaching patients about their health and advocating for patients are both incredibly important parts of the job. That's why we got involved with OpenNotes-an initiative that invites patients to review the visit notes written by their doctors, nurses, or other clinicians.

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Pioneering Reflections

Jan 3, 2013, 12:53 PM, Posted by Al Shar

Al Shar Al Shar

Before retiring, Al Shar, vice president and senior program officer, reflected on his time with Pioneer and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Along with a few others here, I’ve been on the Pioneer team since it began in 2003. What makes my case somewhat unique was that I didn’t have to be on the team. I had a “day job,” and no one asked or told me to join; I was there exclusively because I wanted to be. Looking back, what’s interesting about that is how little I, and others, understood about what Pioneer should be.

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