Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Step Up Your Health

Guest Blogger, Christine Alhambra, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at MedStar Health Research Institute

After attending a Wellness Summit earlier this month at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital's Arlington Office with Joan Bardsley, Assistant VP of Core Scientific Services, I was inspired to share my thoughts on the importance of incorporating movement into your daily routine.
My (New) Husband and I after participating in
the Savage Mud/Obstacle Race

At the summit, wellness chairs from across the syst
em took a field trip to Georgetown Hospital to see their "Flights of Fitness" a Revitalization Project to encourage associates and physicians to use the stairs rather than the elevator. Many hours, days, months were spent revitalizing the stairwell with beautiful artwork and inspirational quotes.

Other wellness chairs shared what their sites were doing to encourage health and wellness and keep people active. As the weather changes, for me personally, I know all I want to do after work is go straight home and sit on the couch. But I think it's important to remember that walking or taking the stairs, even if it's for 15 minutes can be a way to not only get some exercise but also spend some time with your fellow associates. Hey, just think of it as the new watercooler!

One of the quotes in the Georgetown Hospital
"Flights of Fitness" Stairwell
In health terms, they say sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for long periods without breaks can lead to slower productivity and brain function, increase in disability, greater risk of cardiovascular disease, could cause the pancreas to produce too much insulin, and a long laundry list of other health risks. People spend an estimated two-thirds of their lives at their place of employment. In order to stay healthy, we need to find ways to incorporate physical activity into our workday

I challenge fellow associates to try a walking meeting, or to take the stairs to your desk instead of the elevator a few times a week. To practice what I preach I just signed up for my first 5k of the year that will take place on Thanksgiving.

As part of a health system, we owe it to ourselves to take care of our own health as well as contribute to the health of others. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Healthy Choices

This weekend I received my MedStar Total Rewards material and had a chance to look through it. While this is a routine annual occurrence for those of us who have been at MedStar for a while, I was pleased to see how the MedStar Select option has grown to now have out-of-network coverage.  There were several other things, besides the usual medical and dental coverage - lots of choices which is good because that way each person just selects what makes sense for them and their family.  Take time and check it out - it really is a great benefit to being part of a large organization that is putting more emphasis on healthy living.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New MedStar SiTEL Training

As a follow-up to my email message yesterday afternoon regarding
Ebola Preparations at MedStar Health, I wanted to remind associates that a MedStar SiTEL module was created to ensure the safety of our associates and to be certain we are all equipped with updated information.

The  module is titled, “MedStar Hospital Ebola Update October 2014,” and is now available. This is a mandatory education requirement for all associates, clinical and non-clinical.

All managers and associates are expected to complete this module no later than Friday, Oct. 24. To access the course, sign in to http://www.sitelms.org/. On the left side of the page, click on My Curriculum. Under the Current tab, you will find all of the information pertaining to this course.

1. Login to the MedStar SiTEL Learning Management System (https://www.sitelms.org/)
If you have forgotten your login click “Forgot Email or Password” or call the help center (see below)
2. On the left side of the page click “My Curriculum”
3. Click “Get Started” to the right of the proper course title: "MedStar Ebola Update October 2014"

If you have any questions or difficulty, please call the MedStar SiTEL Help Center (8am-6pm M-F) at 1-877-748-3567 or use the Live Chat feature available on the system.

Again, thank you for your attention to this important topic. Please do not hesitate to contact your manager or any other member of MHRI leadership with questions or concerns.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What I am buliding

Guest Blogger, Maria DiSebastiano, Provider Relations, MedStar Family Choice

After reading Dr. Weissman's President message in the October issue of FOCUS, I thought you may be interested in hearing what I am “building”.

Along with others, I am building a community  extension of the MedStar Health “Garden”  through MedStar Family Choice. Allow me to explain. Yesterday while listening to a preacher I learned that the Garden of Eden was named such because it was “guarded” by God’s Angels and therefore the “Gardener” was the one who tended the “Guarded” place in the earthly realm. This is why Jesus was mistaken as the Gardener by the ladies who came to the tomb….because the tomb was suppose to be “Guarded” and the Roman Guards were sleeping.

How does this apply to me and my co workers building the community extension of the MedStar Health “Garden?”   

I see MedStar Health Research as being the “Gardener” in that it guards what is being built and along with all the support and guidance that you are providing us (the hoe and the rake and the shovel and the seeds and the water) we are building an extension of the  MedStar Health Garden in MedStar Family Choice, which reaches out to the community and assists in providing valuable preventative support to the its members. We make sure to choose only the best community providers (seeds) and keep them informed on how to care for our members (hoe and rake and shovel). We call (water) members  to make sure they schedule and complete their annual exams for themselves and their children and we provide great education (more water) in health fairs to teach them about making good nutritional choices, among other things.  All this “cultivation”  results in greatly reducing the ER visits and Urgent care visits of our community members and thus produces a healthier “Garden!”

And the best part is we don’t need to wait for Spring time to plant and cultivate our “Garden”…we do it all year round!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Time Flies By

I thought I would share with you some reflections.

I had the chance to spend Friday and Saturday at Cornell Medical School where I graduated in 1988. They hold a reunion every two years so this was my '25th anniversary' along with the class of 1989.

I took the opportunity to visit with my first medical mentor, some colleagues I continue to collaborate and with some that I met for the first time.  Among the highlights was to meet with the lead of their new joint clinical research office, a partnership between Cornell University and New York Presbyterian Hospital. There was a lot to be learned from their early experience and successes.    

Another highlight was being selected to take part in a panel discussion in which a patient was presented and a representative from the graduating medical student class from 50 years ago, from 25 years ago (yours truly) and a current medical student all shared how they would have taken care of the cardiac patient in their era as a medical student.
Here was the case:  

A 50 year old gray haired advertising executive is admitted with chest pain after a night of carousing with twins – His name is Roger Sterling, and it is Episode 10 of Season 1 of Mad Men (see picture to the right).  It was remarkable how much medicine changed over our lifetimes; I now realize I was a student during the period that there was effective treatment for acute myocardial infarction for the first time. The current student took it all for granted.

And of course, it is always good to see people you worked so closely with for several years and got to know very well, but have lost contact with over time.  Of the 100 people in my medical school class, about 40 made it back for this event - quite a remarkable group of people who span medical leadership roles throughout the country.... and an enjoyable group to see again, as you can see from this picture below taken at a class dinner. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CVS and MedStar Health

Have you seen these announcements and wondered what they mean?

Recently, MedStar Health and CVS Health (formerly CVS Caremark) announced a new clinical affiliation that gives MedStar patients access to clinical support, medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring, and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic.

CVS has 23 MinuteClinic and 319 retail pharmacy locations in MedStar’s service area.

What does this mean? Well, work teams are already beginning to work on:

·         Electronic medical record (EMR) integration to streamline communication around all aspects of patient care between MedStar and CVS
·         Electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to MedStar Health physicians regarding potential medication non-adherence issues
·         Electronic sharing of medical histories and visit summaries with the patient’s primary care provider at MedStar Health 

This is all part of MedStar's development of an integrated health care delivery network to connect the different aspects of care for our patients.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Understanding the Facts about Influenza Vaccination

As part of our commitment to patient safety, every MedStar associate across the system will receive a flu vaccination this fall. The principles of a high reliability organization that we strive to achieve further accentuate the importance of prevention, which is the sole purpose of vaccination.  Vaccination is proven to be the best way to prevent the spread of influenza to patients.

We all know that there are a lot of myths about the vaccine so below is a list of common excuses people state for not getting the flu vaccine. Next to the excuse, you will find facts associated with the myths and misconceptions.

“I don’t get sick.”
The flu vaccine doesn’t just protect you. It protects your family, patients and co-workers. You could have no flu symptoms and still be a carrier. Get the vaccine to keep from giving the flu to others.
“I got the flu shot once and it gave me the flu.”
It is impossible for the flu vaccine to give you the flu. The vaccine contains a killed virus, which cannot cause disease.
“I am afraid of needles.”
An intranasal vaccine is available, so a needle is not required.
“I can’t. I am pregnant.”
Expectant mothers are at a higher risk of complication if they get the flu. The CDC recommends flu vaccines for expectant mothers, regardless of trimester. According to a recent study, an inactivated vaccine given to pregnant women resulted in reduced flu illness by 63 percent in infants up to six months of age. The vaccine averted approximately one-third of all febrile respiratory illnesses in mothers and infants.
“I am allergic to Thimerosal.”
MedStar has inactivated flu vaccine in syringes that do not contain Thimerosal.

We recognize that a small percentage of associates may not be able to receive the flu vaccination due to medical contra-indications and/or religious exemptions. The Influenza Vaccine Exemption Form will need to be obtained from and completed/returned to Occupational Health by October 31, 2014. Please contact your HR department to obtain a copy of the Influenza Vaccine Exemption Form. 

The flu vaccine is now available to all MedStar Health associates at all Occupational Health offices and flu shot clinics will be scheduled at a variety of locations across the system. 

Thank you for your commitment to providing the best patient care through flu vaccination.