Sunday, June 19, 2011

Did Hospice Have the Biggest Impact on American Health Care?

First of all let me say, vote now if you want 'Hospice Care' to win.*

Many of you have probably heard in the past 2 months about the Modern Healthcare 35th Anniversary "Big Impact" Tournament from other hospice advocates imploring you to vote.  I have advocated for it on Facebook and Twitter, but until now I had not really thought it important enough to dedicate a blog post on the subject.  Frankly what does winning this online tournament mean?  Clearly there is no prize money and if there was you would get your cut after me.

So is this about bragging rights?  Who would we regale with our great stories about besting Patient Safety Advocacy in the second round?  I think these are important questions that go beyond winning a popularity contest.  If hospice champions and the everyday hospice professionals feel we are the most important innovation in the past 35 years, why in the world doesn't it feel that way when daily, we still have to overcome stigmas and mis-information about hospice care?

I realize I am asking more questions than answering but this supposedly playful tournament now has me thinking about the bigger stakes now that we have gotten this far for whatever that is worth.  I'm not sure I will impress or convince anyone about the value of hospice when I tell them 'hospice care' won an online tournament of 64 different influential forces in American Health Care over the past 35 years.  Heck we were even seeded 12th in the Innovations bracket!

Let's look at our track record thus far (seeds):

Round 1: Defeated (#5)New Models of Managed Care 56-44

Round 2: Defeated (#4) Patient-Safety Advocacy 57-43

Round 3: Defeated (#1) Electronic Health Records 61-39

Round 4: Defeated (#3) Clinical and Financial Performance Transparency 70-30 (Blowout!!)

Round 5: Defeated (#2 seed in the Events) Institute of Medicine's "To Err is Human" report 52-48 (Nail biter!)

Final Round: Voting open until June 24, 2011 against the #8 seed in Organizations - the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Looking over this list, the tournament and open voting idea makes less sense.  Hospice clearly has many more supporters or people who even get what hospice care is vs. 'New Models of Managed Care' so why didn't we stop them.  Honestly hospice care is probably the concept most easily understood and the least reviled (Electronic Health Records! Everybody gets frustrated by their chippy, inconsistent play. Maybe they will gro w into a powerhouse in a few years when they actually get more efficient and the coaches understand how the game is played.)

So hopefully someone will tell me to relax it really means nothing, so I can stop asking questions that are really hard to answer.  But truthfully, I want this to mean something.  But it needs to mean more than a silly online tournament of health care wonks and Facebook fans voting for the sentimental favorite.  If people really believe hospice care is the part of our health care system that has the biggest impact, then let's have something bigger to show for it.

Hospice care and more importantly the broader role for palliative care regardless of near death prognosis is something I believe in.  So go vote* so we can win and then we can discuss what to do with it later...

Let's go purple and green!
We got the winning team!
H-O-S-P-I-C-E - What does that spell?  
CARING!!!!
* Yes they will ask for your email. What they do with it I can't say since it is not clear from the site.  You can vote once per day. Feel free to send to your staff and post on your hospice and personal Facebook pages as well as Twitter. Voting closes June 24th.  Winner announced July 25th.

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