Thursday, June 27, 2013

Scramble for Miracles to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth will hold the 12th Annual Scramble for Miracles Golf Tournament Monday, July 22, at the Fremont Hills Golf Course, 1953 Fremont Hills Dr., Nixa. The tournament title sponsor is Heavy Duty Rebuilders Supply, Inc. 

The Scramble for Miracles Golf Tournament features a 4-person scramble format, and is limited to 32 teams. The individual entry fee is $125 and team entries are $500. The fee includes greens fees, golf cart, lunch, dinner and a gift. Tournament sponsorship opportunities are also available. The tournament begins with a 1 p.m. shotgun start and ends with a BBQ dinner and an awards ceremony. 

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth. These funds are used to purchase lifesaving equipment, provide education and wellness programs and deliver “health care on wheels” with the C.A.R.E. Mobile, a mobile health clinic that provides free health screenings and immunizations to children who have no access to or cannot afford health care. 
Please call 417-269-3162 to sign up today.

Meet Dr. Abe Abdalla

Q: In your new role as medical director of the cancer service line, what will you be focusing on in the near future? 
A: “Our ultimate goal is to provide state of the art, comprehensive and compassionate care for our cancer patients. I use that as my motto in my everyday work. 
The landscape of health care is changing and we are well positioned to continue to provide excellent care. Several new and exciting milestones have occurred that make us confident of a bright future, including the BJC collaborative, Cox Branson and the establishment of a new Medical Research department. 
While we are recognized as the place to go for cancer care in Springfield, our goal is to be the primary program for a much larger area and to ensure the highest quality of care and access to clinical trials for a larger population.” 
Q: How did you come to practice here at CoxHealth? 
A: “I was born and raised in Syria, where my parents had migrated from Turkey. My family is Christian, a minority in Turkey, and because of various religious upheavals my grandparents had to literally migrate every 30-50 years. When I decided to pursue my education, I wanted to do that in the United States. 
I did my medical training at the University of Chicago and then joined the faculty of the university. I never thought I’d leave the university until I met and married a Missourian! It was one of the best things to ever happen to me. She’s from Columbia, and we wanted to come to Missouri. We came here in July of 2000 and it has been a perfect fit professionally and for my family (my wife, Kristen, and our three children Adam, 3, Emily, 10, and Amy, 14). 
Q: What originally drew you into oncology as a specialty? 
A: “For most of us, cancer has affected someone we love and that triggers an interest. The challenge of conquering cancer has been a driving force for me from my medical school days. 
My friends in medical school would say, ‘Why would you want to do that? It’s so depressing.’ But it’s really the opposite. We have a true sense of triumph against cancer and have the actual data and results to prove it. I enjoy what I do and come to work every day looking forward to taking care of my patients.”
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your time off from work? 
A: “I love running marathons and half-marathons, and I like fitness and sports in general. I’ve played sports like basketball and soccer all my life. But contact sports have become an issue (laughs). In 2002, I broke my arm playing soccer and I was in a cast for two months. Since then, I’ve really focused on running and now I enjoy it. When I don’t do it, I feel odd, as if I haven’t brushed my teeth!” 
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you? 
A: “I’m a very predictable guy to be honest with you. Huh. (pauses) Should I call my wife?”  He dials his iPhone and soon Kristen is on the line. Her answer is quick: “The biggest thing is how he plays with our son. He’s so great with Adam – people would be amazed at what he does.” 
The Abdallas explain that 3-year-old Adam arrived after they had thought they were finished having children.  
“He’s so academic and so professional, but yet he can go outside, get on the ground and dig in the dirt with Adam. He’s so nurturing, it’s amazing.” 
Dr. Abdalla says, “He was a surprise kid for us a pleasant surprise!  I can be with him all day and all night and absolutely enjoy every second of it.” 
Bonus round: More on what Dr. Abdalla says people might be surprised to know about him: 
“I like rock music. I picked that up with running. When I drive, I listen to NPR. My girls hate that! But when I run I listen to AC/DC. My favorite band of all time is Dire Straits. I’ve followed Mark Knopfler since the late 80s. I’ve seen him a few times. He’s really awesome.” 
His love of sports has also led to a tradition with friends he’s had since  his residency training: 
“Every year, I go to first and second round March Madness games with three friends. For more than 15 years, we’ve done that every year. Since our days in Chicago, we choose a city and we go. This year, we went to Kansas City. We don’t follow a particular team, we just choose a city and see all the games.”

CQI Daily Management: Boards track positive changes

Leaders on a gemba walk at Cox Monett examine the CQI daily management board mounted in the Radiology department. In pilots at Monett and at Cox South, staff members and leaders have gotten into the habit of reviewing key measures daily and tracking the trends as departments work toward their goals. More boards roll out this month as Scott Rogers, administrative director, Organizational Development; John Chastain, financial analyst; and Stephen Njenga, performance improvement accreditation manager, Cox Monett, lead the effort throughout the system. 

If you’re going to solve a problem, a good way to start is by having it spelled out in front of you, every day. In select departments at Cox Monett and Cox South, staff and leaders have been taking that approach to issues in their areas with a new process known as CQI daily management.

Each day, leaders and staff gather around a tracking board while a staff member explains the top two or three metrics the team is tracking to monitor daily performance and improvements. Maybe they’re looking at staff response times or patient wait times; or the availability of medications or wheelchairs. The entire group hears about whether the department met their goals on the previous day. They see how often the department is hitting its targets and, if they’re falling short, there’s an opportunity to ask why.

The daily check-in is known as a gemba walk – a Japanese term from the Lean process improvement approach developed at Toyota. “Gemba” roughly translates to “where the work is” and the gemba walk takes hospital leaders into departments, where they can see first-hand the issues caregivers are dealing with. The CQI daily management boards offer a granular, front-line look at the incremental changes that form the grassroots of overall process improvement. The tracking boards and the gemba walks are key parts of Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) – the eight-step model CoxHealth uses to solve problems and drive positive change.

CQI daily management creates that change by giving staff members the chance to identify what they want to improve and then providing a tool to measure small changes. The daily reports allow staff and leaders to identify opportunities, spot trends and work across departments and silos to find solutions. Leaders say the approach is a win-win: improvements drive better care and they make the workday easier for staff members.

“The boards can track anything from small satisfaction things to key strategic things. We want to fix the issues that cause people to vent about work every day,” says Scott Rogers, administrative director, Organizational Development, who is heading up the rollout of CQI daily management. “No one in health care ever says they’re tired of caring for patients. They’re tired of the little things that get in the way of doing their work. If we can improve those things, we’ll know we’ve made an impact and made their days better.”

The first tracking boards at CoxHealth were installed in a few key departments – the ED, Lab, Radiology and Med-Surg – at Cox Monett in April. After a pilot there, the first boards were added in six departments at Cox South. Later this month, a second round of boards will be put in place at South.

A typical walk along the four-board route at Cox Monett takes less than 20 minutes. On one day during the pilot, leaders saw how a low stock of medication affected work in the ED and how waiting on test results slowed patient care in Radiology. On each board, the top row shows the previous day’s performance, with the target met, or not. The second row details the trend – how often has the target been missed recently? And beneath that, the third row details the issues – what is preventing the team from hitting the target? Pretty soon, the recurring problems become clear. For the complex issues, staff and leaders form an interdepartmental team to attack the problem.

At Monett, the tracking has made each department more aware of how their work is affecting other areas. For example, one area didn’t know that wheelchair availability was an issue for another department until it popped up on one of the boards. Staff members say the focus on the boards has improved communication and brought departments together.

On the board in the hallway in Radiology, Heidi Elbert and Frankie Smith point out the service metrics the department is tracking. They’ve been working toward exams with no delays for patients. The board shows recent “fallouts” where the goal wasn’t met: a wrong order, a conflict with another exam, a test delayed by waiting on creatinine results. They say the creatinine delay is the one they’re most concerned with. They’ve formed a team with members from Lab, Radiology and leadership to look at the issue and seek out the root cause.

“This breaks down barriers between staff and administration,” Elbert says. “Having the gemba walkers there in front of you is a level playing field.”

“It opens avenues for communication and it gives the staff a chance to feel heard,” Smith says. “It’s healthy for the facility and the organization.”

Those who have the most experience with the CQI process say daily interaction with data both drives improvement and allows staff members to have daily input into how their department is run. The CQI training at CoxHealth has been led by Aaron Ritter and Diane Fritz from the Lean Transformation Team at BJC Healthcare, where a similar tracking process has driven change for years.

“The data tells you what the problem is, rather than going with your gut feeling,” Ritter says. “Instead of placing blame, it moves the action and discussion into the hands of front-line staff members. It creates a village of problem solvers, as opposed to chiefs.”

At Cox South, the pilot of two “routes” of boards is now complete. Leaders and staff members have gotten into the habit of daily gemba walks and Rogers is eager to expand the project to other departments.

“These are living, breathing charts that people are filling out every day,” Rogers says. “That means we have the ability to impact our daily work. Interaction with something detailed and visual like these boards means staff members and leadership are working on fixing problems today, not three weeks from now.”

Monday, June 24, 2013

CARDIAC Kids – healthy fun for your family

This Friday, join us for an evening of fun for kids to learn how to keep their hearts healthy! Get a free pedometer, jump rope and even a basketball or soccer ball. Children ages 6-18 and their parent or guardian are encouraged to come. Stop by between 6 and 7:30 p.m. at the Northview Center at Doling Park, 301 E. Talmage St.

Friday, June 28 
6-7:30 p.m. 
Northview Center at Doling Park 
301 E. Talmage St. 

Parents – you’re encouraged to attend, too! For more information, call 269-KIDS.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The keys to living longer, and living well

Author Dan Buettner speaks to Springfield business leaders during a breakfast meeting held at the Bass Pro White River Conference Center. 

What causes some populations of people to live longer, healthier lives than others? Author Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow, has traveled the planet to uncover the secrets of longevity and happiness, distilling what he learned down to the Power 9 – the nine principles that have helped people in certain areas of the planet, known as Blue Zones, achieve this lifestyle. 

In mid-June, Buettner visited Springfield, speaking at a public event at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on the Drury University Campus. Buettner also shared the results of his research in presentations to Springfield business leaders and leaders at CoxHealth. 

National and local studies consistently show that obesity, heart disease and diabetes are at epidemic levels in the Ozarks and across the United States. Buettner’s message of nine simple steps that can improve your quality of life is designed to encourage us all to put health first. 

Here’s a brief look at the nine principles:

1. Move naturally: The world’s longest-lived people aren’t big on working out, but they do move each day: walking, gardening and working outdoors.

2. Have a purpose: Knowing “why I wake up in the morning” is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy

3. Down shift: Whether it’s prayer, napping or happy hour, those who live longest have routines to help them shed stress.

4. 80 percent rule: Stop eating when you’re 80 percent full – it can be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. 

5. Plant slant: Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets.

6. Wine at 5: Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day with friends and/or with food. 

7. Belong: Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.

8. Loved ones first: Successful centenarians usually commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love.

9. Right tribe: The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors. Research shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.

Buettner told audiences that longevity is about 20 percent genetic and about 80 percent lifestyle and environment. In his work with Blue Zones, he and a team of researchers have found that communities can make environmental changes that can support healthy lifestyles.

“In the areas we’ve studied, longevity happened because people live in environments that nudge them toward moving a little bit more, eating a little bit less, staying engaged, and having a sense of purpose,” Buettner says. 

In communities that have achieved health improvements, leaders have focused on changes such as: creating walkable spaces; keeping parks clean and vibrant; and making fruit and vegetables available and affordable. 

“You optimize the environment by making the active and healthy options the easiest options,” he says.

That message of change was a major driver behind bringing Buettner to Springfield. Brian Williams, vice president, chief business development at CoxHealth, says, “We believe Dan’s visit will help Springfield begin this conversation and set us on the road to the Blue Zones way of life."