Monday, February 29, 2016

CoxHealth Innovation Accelerator launches game-changing ways of working

New ways to provide care, do business and better serve our community were all on the table for discussion at CoxHealth’s inaugural Innovation Accelerator on Monday and Tuesday.

Fifty employees, from entry level to leadership, pitched their ideas for improvement. After two days and a final “shark tank”-style presentation, three ideas were selected for further discussion.

The event, held at Missouri State University's eFactory in downtown Springfield, offered participants a chance to brainstorm ideas and have a voice in big-picture changes coming in CoxHealth’s future.

While the details are still in the works and under wraps, the winning teams and their ideas include:

1st place: Expanded Convenient Care Pharmacy services

Mary Ann Bennett
Justin Hance
Lisa Alexander
Carla DeSilva-Carver
Christine Tibbs
Jeff Hawkins

2nd place: New idea for expanding
laboratory services

Josh Ang
Ben Morris
Vicki Barone
Amanda Ritter

3rd place: New approaches for Chronic Care

Nikki Washeck
Tyson Reed
Eric Cantrell
Jim Waring
Tracy Mitchell
Robb Woodruff

The winning teams will be recognized at CoxHealth’s Employee Recognition Banquet in April. Be watching for a special look inside the Innovation Accelerator experience in the April issue of CoxHealth Connection.

The two-day event was the first of its kind at The eFactory: It was designed to encourage the health care system’s employees to innovate ways to work more efficiently and effectively.

“At CoxHealth, we’re intentionally looking at how we can do things differently. But not just to be different – to be better,” says Scott Rogers, CoxHealth’s system director for Performance Integration and Innovation. “This event gives us the chance to think outside the box and really develop ideas that bring our organization to the next level.”

Employees applied for the event, after which 50 were selected to participate. Those people were given one minute to present their best idea for innovative improvement.

After that, the participants selected 5-7 of the top ideas to workshop with the help of local business coaches, all of whom are members of the CoxHealth Board of Directors:

Rob Fulp, President and CEO of Springfield First Community Bank
Dennis Heim, Partner with Heim Young & Associates
Jeff Tynes, J.D., President and CEO of SGC Foodservice
Kurt Hellweg, CEO of International Dehydrated Foods and American Dehydrated Foods
Jim Hutcheson, President of Jim Hutcheson Realtors, Inc.
Bob McDowell, Owner of McDowell Consulting LLC
Chuck Chalender, Agent with American Family Insurance

On Tuesday, each group presented their idea to CoxHealth leadership including Steve Edwards (President and CEO), Jake McWay (Senior Vice President and CFO), Charity Elmer, J.D., (Senior Vice President and General Counsel) and Ron Prenger (Senior Vice President and CHO).

They were joined by Joe Turner, J.D., president and CEO of Great Southern Bank and chairman of the CoxHealth Board of Directors, and Jack Prim, CEO of Jack Henry & Associates, who is also a member of the CoxHealth Board of Directors.

“We hope that this event launches a new, out-of-the-box way of thinking at CoxHealth,” says Rogers. “One of our goals is to always improve, and the results of this event will offer a new way to do that.”

Friday, February 26, 2016

Women’s Center at Cox Branson expands, adds pelvic wellness program

The Women's Center at Cox Branson will host an Open House from 4-6:30 p.m. Friday, March 4. The Women's Center is located in Suite 408, CoxHealth Outpatient Center Branson, 525 Branson Landing Blvd.

One in three women suffer from a pelvic floor disorder such as postpartum muscle weakness, urinary incontinence, painful intercourse and pelvic pressure. These conditions can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. There is good news though – help is available and it’s close to home. 

The Women’s Center at Cox Medical Center Branson has expanded to add additional services, including a new pelvic wellness program.

“Pelvic health disorders affect millions of women, yet there is a huge gap in care,” said Kelli Gosch, MSN, women’s health care nurse practitioner. “Having a pelvic wellness program right here in Branson will make it easier for women to get the help they deserve.”

The newly expanded Women’s Center has also added well-woman preventative and gynecologic care as well as lactation support and education. These new services are in addition to the services they’ve provided for years: mammography, ultrasound and bone density.

“We now have complete women’s health in one beautiful location designed for the care and comfort of women,” said Women’s Center Director Tracey Williams, MSN, certified family nurse practitioner. “With just one call, multiple services can be coordinated during one appointment time in one convenient location. We’ve also added some great special touches, including luxurious waffle robes and decadent chocolate treats for our patients.”

The expansion and additional services were made possible through a generous gift from Skaggs Foundation.

The community is invited to tour the newly expanded Women’s Center, learn about the exciting new services available, meet the center’s team of experts, and enjoy light refreshments during an open house Friday, March 4. The open house will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Women’s Center, suite 408, CoxHealth Outpatient Center, 525 Branson Landing Blvd.

For more information about the Women’s Center or to schedule an appointment, call 348-8313.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New apartment at Cox North trains students in at-home environment

A 900-square foot apartment has been built inside Cox North – but it’s not for living. Instead, it’s for learning: Christened Cox Cottage, the apartment will allow Cox College’s Occupational Therapy students to learn how to help patients with everyday skills such as cooking, vacuuming, eating, bathing and even sleeping. 

“While about 25 percent of occupational therapists treat people in hospitals, all treatment is directed towards a return to home,” says Dr. Elizabeth Torcivia, chair of Cox College’s Occupational Therapy master’s program. “Cox Cottage is meant to extend our opportunities for simulation beyond medical settings into the places that people actually live.” 

The apartment, which looks and feels like a home, consists of a living room, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and utility room. It’s a unique accessory to the new Occupational Therapy master’s program, which began at Cox College in 2015.

Occupational therapists provide skilled treatment to individuals of all ages facing physical, cognitive or psychosocial challenges. “Occupations” of self-care, work, and leisure activities are used by therapists to increase independence, enhance development, and/or prevent disability. Clients are empowered and enabled through innovative intervention activities, task adaptation strategies, environmental modifications, assistive devices, and technologies.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cox Branson offering new heart failure monitoring solution

A new wireless heart failure monitoring system, available at Cox Branson, sends pressure readings directly to a patient's doctor and can help providers intervene quickly before a patient's heart problem worsens.

There’s a new way to manage heart failure, and CoxHealth is the only hospital system in southwest Missouri where it can be found.

The procedure consists of a sensor being implanted in a patient’s pulmonary artery. Once implanted, the wireless sensor sends pressure readings directly to the patient’s doctor – which means that when there’s a heart-related issue, the doctor knows right away and can help intervene before the problem gets worse. The procedure, which debuted at Cox South last fall, is expected to be performed for the first time at Cox Branson this spring.

“This new technology gives us the opportunity to give patients a better quality of life,” says Narin Arunakul, MD, a cardiologist with Cox Branson. “The sooner we address issues, the greater ability we have to intervene and manage a patient’s condition before it deteriorates. This extra time can truly be life-changing for our patients.”

“What makes this device so incredible is the fact that it will allow us to catch a problem before symptoms occur and ultimately, we will be able to prevent further heart damage,” said Ryan Sigle, RN, assistant nurse manager, Cox Branson Cardiac Cath Lab. 

The system’s sensor, part of the CardioMEMS Heart Failure System, is implanted during a non-surgical procedure and directly measures pressure on the artery. It’s the only FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been proven to significantly reduce hospital admissions when used by physicians to manage heart failure.

The sensor is designed to last the patient’s lifetime and doesn’t require batteries. There is no pain or sensation for the patient during the readings. And its results are in the data: A clinical trial showed that the CardioMEMS technology reduces heart failure hospital admissions by up to 37 percent.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals selected as Charity of Choice by Hamra Enterprises, a franchisee of Wendy’s International in southwest Missouri

Representatives from Wendy's, including Wendy herself, visited the Pediatrics unit at Cox South to celebrate their partnership with CMN Hospitals.

Hamra Enterprises’ Wendy’s division has once again selected Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as its charity of choice for 2016. The partnership, now in its third year, raised more than $101,000 for CMN Hospitals in 2015 – an increase that more than doubled 2014’s numbers.

“We had a very successful campaign and partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in 2015,” says Chuck Ocarz, president of Hamra Enterprises’ Wendy’s Division. “We are looking forward to what is in store for 2016 with goals to meet and hopefully exceed what we raised in 2015 for CMN Hospitals.”

CoxHealth staffers enjoyed Frostys as part of Wednesday's celebration.

As a corporation that cares deeply for the welfare of children, Hamra Enterprises will raise funds throughout the year at each of its 35 Wendy’s locations to assist local children suffering from injuries and illnesses. Funds are raised through the sale of $1 paper miracle balloons during certain months, as well as canisters near cash registers where customers can donate their change.

“We are humbled and grateful that we were selected as Hamra Enterprises’ charity of choice for the third year in a row,” says Tim Siebert, executive director of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at CoxHealth. “We depend on the generosity of businesses, individuals, foundations and organizations to bring hope and healing to children who might otherwise go without the medical attention they desperately need. We thank Hamra Enterprises for the care and compassion they are sharing with the children and families we serve.”

Friday, February 12, 2016

New support group help parents of kids with brain tumors and injuries

Parents of kids with brain tumors and injuries have a new resource: CoxHealth’s Pediatric Brain Tumor and Injury Connection, a monthly gathering that offers a safe environment to share emotional support.

"Raising a child with brain tumors and trauma is a difficult road, but it’s even more difficult when it’s done alone," says Lana Martin, Pediatric Trauma Coordinator at CoxHealth. "This monthly group is a new resource for those who wish to connect and learn with one another."

The group is open to caregivers and survivors up to 15 years of age, as well as survivors’ siblings. It will be guided by leaders who are dedicated to the care and assistance of children and their family members, such as Child Life team members and pediatric registered nurses. The agenda and occasional guest speakers will be determined by the group’s participants.

Besides emotional support, the group offers interpersonal contact, an opportunity to share similar experiences (helping members feel less isolated), a chance to learn about the achievements of others who overcame similar difficulties, confidence building, safety discussions and play-therapy for the children.

The group meets on the second Saturday of each month from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Cox South. An RSVP is required to attend. For more information or to RSVP, call 417-269-0923.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cox College sees record Spring enrollment for 2016

Cox College’s steady growth is proven by the numbers: 877 students are currently enrolled, making this semester the largest Spring semester in the college’s history.   

“We are thrilled that more and more students are choosing Cox College to advance their careers,” says Dr. Jim Moore, vice president of College Services Institutional Research for Cox College. “Students know that when they come to Cox College, they are supported by a faculty and staff focused on their success, and that they’ll graduate with a quality education.” 

Cox College expects to see continued, sustained growth in the upcoming years, especially in light of the current shortage of healthcare professionals. It’s growth that benefits the local community: Most of the college’s graduates stay within southwest Missouri after completing their studies.

Cox College was established in 1907 as Burge School of Nursing. Today, the private college offers a variety of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing, Nutrition Diagnostics, Occupational Therapy, Diagnostic Imaging, Radiography and Medical Assisting, as well as certificates in Medical Billing and Coding.


What to eat, what to avoid: CoxHealth endocrinologist discusses new dietary guidelines

In early January, new dietary guidelines were released. The guidelines are aimed at helping Americans improve their eating habits, reduce obesity and prevent chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

CoxHealth Endocrinologist Dr. James Bonucchi explained that in the past, the dietary guidelines emphasized a low-fat diet.

“What we’ve learn through more recent research is perhaps the low fat diet is not the ideal diet,” Dr. Bonucchi explains. “When you start to eliminate fats in your diet, the fats are often replaced with carbohydrates, whether it is simple sugars, such as candy, sodas and sweet teas, or even more complex sugars, such as a potato. The extra sugar in the diet, complex carbs included, have a big detriment on the body overall. Those carbohydrates end up leading to more obesity based on what we believe with current research, which ultimately relates to more diabetes.”

Dr. Bonucchi said 20 years ago, the obesity rate in the U.S. was only 10 to 15 percent. Today,  in Missouri, the obesity rate is now one in three adults, according to 2014 numbers and no state has an obesity rate less than 20 percent.

What’s to blame?

Dr. Bonucchi explained there are a couple of things believed to be contributing to the growing obesity problem – less active lifestyles and the foods being consumed today.

“It is not just about the calories consumed, but what makes up those calories, is what really plays into it,” he says.  “A lot of it also likely has to do with convenience foods. The average kitchen has shrunk in size in new houses. People are eating out, ordering in and getting take out. They are not spending time in their kitchen cooking from scratch the way our grandmothers did. When our grandmother made something, she knew every ingredient she put in there. With processed foods, we don’t know what foods we are putting in our bodies.”

When purchasing food, Dr. Bonucchi suggests purchasing items with no more than five ingredients listed on the label, if possible.

“Also, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you probably shouldn’t be buying it,” he said. 

Stick to a healthy eating pattern, not a diet
“You should really stick to a healthy eating pattern and not to a diet,” Dr. Bonucchi said. “Diets don’t work because diet implies it is short term. We are talking about healthy eating, something you are doing consistently, every single day. That healthy eating pattern should include a healthy, rich mixture of different vegetables including leafy, dark greens, as well as greens, reds and oranges.  All of those different fruits and vegetables are different colors for a reason because there are different nutrients in each one. Also, don’t forget about beans. Beans are very healthy and a great source of both protein and fiber.”

Selective with starches

“Some starchy vegetables are OK, if you are eating them whole,” Dr. Bonucchi says. “We are often told to avoid corn, but corn still has good nutrition in it, as long as it is not ground up into a corn tortilla. It is also OK to have a potato occasionally, as long as it is not the giant baked potato. If you have a baked potato, have a small baked potato that will fit in your hand and make sure you are eating the skin because that is where you find the good nutrients.”

Go for whole grains

“It is OK to have some carbohydrates, especially if they are in the form of whole grains because the body can handle whole grains over a longer period of time,” he says. “Whole grains are less refined and so the body is able to handle it more slowly and it allows your body to absorb the food in your body over a longer period of time, which is especially important for those who have diabetes. The key to whole grains is avoiding white. If it looks like it has little nuts and seeds in it, that is perfect.”

Add fish to your diet

“Don’t forget about seafood,” Dr. Bonucchi said. “We probably don’t eat enough seafood in this country. You should be having a serving of ocean fish at least once a week, not deep fried and battered, but baked or grilled. Also, go for lean meats, poultry, chicken, eggs, beans and soy.”

What to limit

“We should consume no more than 10 percent of our daily calories from added sugars,” explains Dr. Bonucchi. “We are not talking about sugars that naturally occur in fruit. Those don’t count because they are buried in that whole piece of fruit or corn. It is the sugars that are added to our diet that we really must limit to 10 percent of our calories. If the average person is on a 2,000 calorie diet, they should limit their intake to 50 grams of sugar. That is equivalent to about one can of regular soda or one glass of sweet tea. Also, be aware of hidden sugars, such as sugars added to salad dressings and sauces.”

The new guidelines also recommend limiting  sodium to 2,300 mg per day.

“The average American is consuming 4,000 mg each day,” Dr. Bonucchi said. “If you are going out to eat, you can easily get 2,000 mg of sodium in one appetizer, let alone the entire meal. Most processed food items are filled with sodium, including your frozen TV dinners. Sodium is an excellent preservative but the tradeoff is we are getting a lot of sodium in our diet from processed foods.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Germ-zapping robot newest addition to CoxHealth’s defense against infections

Hard-to-kill germs, lurking in hard-to-clean places, have a new enemy at CoxHealth: A robot that uses use Full-Spectrum™ pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and bacterial spores.

“We want to do everything within our means to provide a clean environment at our facilities to reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections,” says Cindy Robertson, Infection Prevention Director at CoxHealth.
“This investment in a Xenex system underscores our commitment to patient care and the communities we serve.” 

The portable disinfection system is effective against even the most dangerous pathogens, including Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, influenza, Ebola and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

The portable Xenex system can disinfect a typical patient or procedure room in five minute cycles without warm-up or cool-down times. It can be used in any department and in any unit within a healthcare facility, including isolation rooms, operating rooms, general patient care rooms, contact precaution areas, emergency rooms, bathrooms and public spaces.