Category Archives: Surgery

Great Technology Divide Between Hospitals Is A Hair Line Fracture


Our hospital is the newest, fastest, most up to date, most technologically advanced, with the latest and greatest scientific tools in the city-state-region-country today.

How many times have heard a message similar to the one above?

I know in my career, I have heard it thousands of times.

In the late 90’s–early 2000’s, in various hospital service lines, there may have been a difference in the treatments available to the majority of patients based on technology.

Perhaps in radiation oncology it meant the difference between receiving Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) versus conventional 3-dimensional radiation therapy.

Perhaps in a surgical suite, it was the difference between an open and invasive surgery versus a laparoscopic robotic assisted (minimally invasive) surgery.

Maybe it meant the difference between having access to an MRI or a Multi-slice CT Scanner.

However, in the US, those days are gone.

The gap in technology between Hospital A and Hospital B is almost miniscule.

Sure, it is always nice to have the latest and greatest gadget. The shiny new toy. The next widget that added a new feature that I only use 5% of the time.

However, as much as we know, care, and think it is important to have the newest widget, can patients tell?

Do patients care?

How do you draw a solid line from your technology to the patient?

More importantly, can a patient draw a solid line from their problem, to your technology?

If a patient were to do the same exercise between you and your competitors, would it be the same line? Would your line have more twists, turns, loops, and zigzags? Would your line become a dotted line when compared to your competitors?

When I listen to the radio ads, see the TV commercials, or drive past the billboards and I see messages from hospitals being the most “technologically advanced” I simply ask…..

So what?

If you cannot translate that technology, equipment, or feature to benefiting the patient, then does it matter? Is it really the best investment?

When your advanced technology does not empower a patient to understand their care and diagnosis, it doesn’t matter to me.

When your technology doesn’t make it easier for a patient to talk to their care team about their needs, their expectations, and their decisions, it doesn’t matter.

When your technology doesn’t mean a patient experiences a timely response, it doesn’t matter.

When your technology doesn’t mean less interruptions to a patients life, it doesn’t matter.

When your technology makes you run behind, or causes staff to be rude, or makes a patient fill out the same form multiple times, or loses the patient in the referral process between physicians, it doesn’t matter.

Technology is an enabler.

People using technology in ways that draw a direct benefit to patients, that is a way to differentiate between hospitals.

The “great technological divide” between hospitals is no more than a hair line fracture. (thank goodness they have the most advanced x-ray equipment to find it)

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek


Healthcare, Patient Satisfaction Scores, & Glitter

glitter wallpaper pics 1024X768

I was taking a break and reading my feed on twitter when I came across the following tweet from Austin Kleon (@austinkleon), author of “Steal Like An Artist“:

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So I instantly had to check out the site. I have to say, I have not laughed so hard, out loud, in quite some time. (

I immediately began to think what if used this in our daily lives? What if I was able to use this myself?

Imagine, if patient satisfaction scores were as simple as opening an envelope of glitter? Imagine the simplicity. The ease.

Imagine walking into the doctors office for your next annual physical and you notice that there is a glitter at the front desk. Or as you sit and are waiting for the physician to enter that you notice there is glitter on the computer screen. Or maybe as you walk the hallway you notice that some staff members have glitter on their clothing and others do not.

Maybe staff members have glitter too. Perhaps a physician can sprinkle some pixie dust on a specialist that just isn’t playing nicely. Maybe a nurse can share some glitter with the anesthesiologist that is throwing a fit about his cart not being stocked. Maybe as leadership walks around they begin to see the reality of the front line staff.

Maybe we get reimbursed for the lack of glitter? Maybe JCAHO leaves glitter behind to let us know where we need to improve?

Maybe instead of all of the badges, certifications, top 100, top 10, America’s Top, World News and World Report, Center of Excellence, and the other healthcare “flair” we see on billboards, maybe it gets simplified for the patients.

The ease is in the visual. No more wondering if other people have a similar experience. No more searching on a website or facebook page for comments, reviews, and trying to find how other people felt about their own experiences.

Either you see glitter, or you don’t.

Think of the simplicity for staff members to identify areas for process improvement, to better drive patient engagement. It immediately stands out, in bright, shiny, glitter. Here I am. Something is broken. Something isn’t working. Please pay attention. Please make it better.

Again, either you see glitter or you don’t.

Maybe the world of healthcare needs a bit more sparkle? Maybe glitter can change the world? Maybe we can fill it with a few more unicorns and rainbows for those we care for daily?

Maybe glitter is the patient experience?

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek