Bye-Bye Backside

Hospital-Gown-300x300Anyone who’s ever been a hospital patient knows that hospital gowns come in three sizes: short, shorter….and don’t bend over! They probably also know that hospital gowns are like health insurance – you can never have enough coverage!

But now the days of the drafty backside may be coming to a close, and hospital gowns may no longer be the perennial the butt of jokes.

A new patient gown that resembles a wrap-around robe that completely closes in the back and front, is being rolled out on several inpatient floors at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. It is among the first inventions to be made public by the Henry Ford Innovation Institute in collaboration with the College for Creative Studies.

The traditional back slit hospital gown has been completely designed and in its place is a stylish gown that blends style for the patient with clinical function for the health care team.

hospital gown 1Features of the he newly designed gown include:

  • Completely closed in the back, creating more privacy for patients
  • Made of a thicker, cotton/polyester blend material, which keeps patients warmer
  • Double-breasted in the front, using three snaps, instead of ties, to close the gown
  • Intuitive in design, with different colored snaps and stitching along the left and right sides of the gown, making it easy for patients to put on
  • Accessible for IVs and other medical lines.

hospital gown 4Since its introduction, health care teams at Henry Ford say the gown offers them uncompromised clinical access to the patient without the need to undress the patient.

Our No. 1 goal was to close the backside of the gown with our design,” says Michael Forbes, a product designer at the Henry Ford Innovation Institute and graduate of the College for Creative Studies . “A simple change can have a large impact on the patients’ stay at a hospital. By creating a hospital gown that is safe, stylish and comfortable, we’ve made the patient feel more at home, like they’re wearing their own garments.”

The gown, which began with a drawing two years ago has been tested by patients like Ismail Khalil, M.D., a vascular surgeon from Lebanon who traveled to Henry Ford hospital gown 6Hospital for a liver transplant.  Dr. Khalil has the unique perspective as both a physician and now a patient on the design of the new hospital gown versus the traditional hospital gown.

The new gown is the ultimate in simplicity and sophistication,” he says. “The old gown was uncomfortable with the ties in the back; I did not like it. I’d much rather walk down the hall in the new gown; it fits well and you feel decent. It looks good too. What more could you want?

hospital gown empathyThe new gown can also be size adjusted using snaps on either side of the gown, allowing for it to fit more patients with a single design.  Currently it comes in navy and light blue, to coincide with the Henry Ford Hospital colors but could easily be modified for other hospitals.

The cost to manufacture and purchase the new gown is very comparable to existing gowns, and laundering is exactly the same too. The goal, says Forbes, is to license the design to an existing gown manufacturer, which would then produce and sell the gown nationally.

A move which can’t come soon enough for  those looking for a little less Southern exposure!

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e-prescribing: e-fficient, but still e-lusive?

Electronic prescribing or e-prescribing, has multiple potential benefits, including helping to reduce the risk of medication errors caused by illegible or incomplete handwritten prescriptions.  However, according to a study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ),  neither prescribers, pharmacists or indeed patients are getting the full benefit of the technology.

The study, published online in the December issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association focused on a key aspect of e-prescribing: the electronic exchange of prescription data between physician practices and pharmacies. This practice can save time and money by streamlining the way in which new prescriptions and renewals are processed. The study showed that while physician practices and pharmacies were generally positive about electronic transmission of new prescriptions and prescription renewals, connectivity between physician offices and mail-order pharmacies continue to pose problems. Additionally problematic is manual entry of certain prescription information by pharmacists, for example, the drug name, dosage form, quantity, and patient instructions.

Physicians and pharmacies have come a long way in their use of e-prescribing, and that’s a very positive trend for safer patient care and improved efficiency,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “This study identifies issues that need attention to improve e-prescribing for physicians, pharmacies, and patients.”

Researchers at the Center for Studying Health System Change, conducted 114 interviews with representatives of 24 physician practices, 48 community pharmacies and three mail-order pharmacies using e-prescribing. Physician practices and pharmacies used e-prescribing features for electronic renewals much less often than for new prescriptions. More than a quarter of the community pharmacies reported that they did not send electronic renewal requests to physicians. Similarly, one-third of physician practices had e-prescribing systems that were not set up to receive electronic renewals or only received them infrequently.

Physician practices reported that some pharmacies that sent renewal requests electronically also sent requests via fax or phone, even after the physician had responded electronically. At the same time, pharmacies reported that physicians often approved electronic requests by phone or fax or mistakenly denied the request and sent a new prescription.

The study noted that resolving e-prescribing challenges will become more pressing as increasing numbers of physicians adopt the technology in response to federal incentives. Physicians can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record incentive payments by generating and transmitting more than 40% of all prescriptions electronically.

The study concludes that a broad group of public and private stakeholders, including the federal government, e-prescribing standard-setting organizations, vendors and others will need to work together to address these issues.

Do you have any experience, good or bad with e-prescribing?  Let us know.