Pre-Telluride Thoughts

Here is one example of a patient story that got me interested in quality improvement and patient safety. My patient, Mrs. J, was finally going home after being admitted to my hospital for pneumonia. A stroke had rendered her unable to swallow, so we were administering liquid food through her feeding tube to effect weight gain. The good news was short-lived as we realized after several phone calls that her insurance would not cover it without submission of paperwork that could take up to 14 days to process. Expedited processing would still take 3+ business days, which paired with the Christmas holiday meant that Mrs. J would have to stay in the hospital six extra days because her insurance needed time to decide if feeding her was appropriate. Mrs. J’s situation is a prime example of the terrible inefficiencies of our current healthcare system. Not only is this roadblock detrimental to her recovery, it also costs the hospital approximately $7,000 every additional night she stays. We as a healthcare system need to brainstorm ways to keep patients out of the hospital and feeling well and I think the Telluride Experience will be an amazing way to bring together our collective wisdom and work on the challenges at play that prevent us from having optimal patient safety.