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What's up Doc? Did you remember to wash your hands?

A couple of years ago, Atul Gawande described in the New Yorker a study designed by Dr. Peter Pronovost of Johns Hopkins in which he implimented a short checklist to see if it could decrease a frequent problem in intesive care units -- intravenous catheter infections.  The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, were oustanding; following five simple steps led the rate of catheter related bloodstream infections to drop 66%.The first step was "wash hands with soap."

A recent post on the Nudge blog—hosted by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, authors of the well-known book of the same title—described a different tactic for getting medical personnel to wash their hands: secret agents!

Hospital food—not so yucky any more

Rarely does one hear about tasty—let alone healthy—hospital food.  That's about to change at Stanford Hospital and Clinics, located adjacent to Palo Alto, California.  Yesterday, the Hospital announced the launch of a new inpatient menu that will feature organic, locally grown, sustainable ingredients. The initiative was developed with local chef/restaurateur Jesse Cool, who has been a leader in healthy eating and sustainable food practices for decades. (With apologies to chef Cool for a comparison she probably has heard too many times and may not appreciate, when I first moved to Palo Alto from Berkeley, my impression was that Jesse Cool was the Alice Waters of the area, and that her landmark restaurant, the Flea Street Cafe, was the Chez Panisse of the Peninsula.)

What does state-of-the-art critical care vs. chronic care look like?

Tomorrow (June 25, 2009), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (more commonly known as HIMSS) is hosting a webinar entitled, "Ubiquitous Wireless Enables All-Private Room Critical Care Hospital."  This struck my interest from a technology standpoint, by it also made me pause to consider the question of how and when the hospital infrastructure in this country will start adapting to meet our growing need for chronic care?

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