Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Keep trick-or-treating safe this Halloween

Halloween will soon be here, which offers a great opportunity to have fun – as long as everyone stays safe. One option is to attend CoxHealth’s free Trunk or Treat on Oct. 31, which will be held at the West Pavilion at Cox South. Departments will distribute candy from kid-friendly booths from 5 – 8 p.m.

However, for those trick-or-treating door-to-door this year, check out a few tips from CoxHealth’s Public Safety department: 

  • Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
  • If your child will be trick-or-treating without you, establish a route with your child and don’t allow your child to go door-to-door in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
  • Be sure to walk on the sidewalks and driveways. When crossing a street, make sure you are crossing at the corner, or in a crosswalk. Remind your child to look carefully for traffic before crossing.
  • If possible, carry a cellphone. Teach them how to call home or dial 911 if they need to.
  • Make sure your child carries a flashlight. Attach a glow stick, small battery operated light or reflective tape on their costume. This will help keep them visible.
  • Remind your child of the dangers of getting into a stranger’s car. If someone stops them and asks them for help or offers them candy to get in their car, tell them to scream as loud as they can and run.
  • To help keep kids from being tempted to dig into their candy before they get home, feed them a meal or snack beforehand.
  • If your child has a food allergy, be sure to carry their emergency medicines with you, or display an allergy medical bracelet.
  • Examine all treats before they eat them. Only allow them to eat factory-wrapped treats, avoiding homemade treats from strangers.
  • Children should wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls. Better yet: Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cox South room refresh builds in-house pride

Our ‘refresh construction’ team brings innovative problem-solving to the task of making original Cox South rooms new again.

Take a look inside one of the renovated rooms on 500 West or 200 West at Cox South and you might easily mistake it for one of the rooms in the newly built West Tower.

Engineering’s “refresh construction” teams are currently working their way through the original hospital, giving the rooms a new look and new functionality that puts the original tower on the same level as the new construction. But the teams working on the refresh are building more than new rooms: They’re building pride and dedication that shows through in every step of the work.

Rather than completing the renovation through contractors, CoxHealth leaders decided early on to bring the work in-house. Supervisor Tony Hein says that decision has been a major win for Engineering, as teams put their expertise to work making an investment in CoxHealth’s future.

“This is not just a job, people take pride and ownership of what they’re doing for the hospital,” Hein says. “Everyone took this job because they wanted to make a difference and everyone works good together.”

The 10 members of the refresh construction team have all had input into the design of the rooms. They’ve brought their individual skill sets to the task of finding innovative solutions that bring the latest features to the renovated space.

For an obvious example of the team’s problem-solving prowess, look no further than the wood headwalls behind the bed in each patient room. Since the original tower’s rooms are a different size than those in the West Tower, the headwalls were going to have to be custom made.

Designing them to work around the placement of medical gasses in the original tower’s walls presented another challenge, as well as a variety of additional costs.

The team devised a solution: Purchase the raw materials and build the walls themselves. They gave it a try with formaldehyde-free medium-density fibreboard (MDF) that they’re cutting in the refresh construction shop and layering with Inpro, a high quality laminate that matches the walls in the West Tower. The entire process is a fraction of the cost of using custom-ordered walls.

Hein says the headwalls are just one of the ways a little ingenuity can produce a better result, all while building pride among the team.

“Contractors are fine, but I’m old school, from Cox North, where we used to do all this ourselves. It was your job and you felt good,” Hein says. “A person doing a job in-house, they take pride in what they’re doing. We’re getting a lot of that in-house pride back and people would be surprised how much we’re saving.”

Examples of the team’s innovations are everywhere in the new construction. In the restrooms, for example, the new design features a smooth floor that eliminates the “curb” that used to serve as the edge of the shower. Now, the floors simply slope into a drain. Even as they were installing the first of the shower floors, the team saw ways of perfecting the process.

“One guy said, ‘I can make just as good a floor with a different material,’” Hein says. “I said, ‘Let’s prove it and see.’”

Rather than their first approach, they tried a different concrete subfloor product, which was about one-tenth the cost of the initial material. It worked.

The team also looked at replacing the doors, before finding a way to simply re-skin them with the same Inpro laminate used for the headwalls. When all new windows and updated window shades are in place, the original tower’s rooms will be virtually indistinguishable from those in the West Tower.

“Customers, families and friends will be impressed,” Hein says. “This is about good customer service – when we get a happy customer, word of mouth goes a long way.”

Hein says the team loves the challenge and they like being able to make a lasting difference, for the hospital and the community.

“When employees take ownership, things will go better, our customers are more satisfied and you’ll see employees with smiles on their faces,” he says. “It keeps it positive and builds on the ‘Cox family’ feel. I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead the team in this direction.”

DirectConnect now available statewide

Years ago, seeing a doctor from the comfort of one’s own home was the norm – just as it soon will be again. DirectConnect, CoxHealth’s telemedicine program, will allow most people in the state of Missouri to receive health care for common ailments remotely in the very near future.

Yes, that’s right: Instead of making an appointment, patients can be seen from their couch for things like coughs, colds, upper respiratory infections, allergies, bug bites and sore throats.

“We’re so excited about this initiative because it means that not only is health care easier to access, but it’s available to almost everyone,” says Heather Swearengin, CoxHealth’s system director of Business Development. “This opportunity is being offered directly in response to the need we saw for more accessibility in our region.”

Here’s how it works: Anyone wishing to be seen by a health care professional will simply go to our website at coxhealth.com/directconnect. After filling out some initial information, a CoxHealth patient navigator will be sent the request for care. The navigator will determine the type of care required and will then contact the provider. A few minutes later, a provider will log on and see a patient via webcam before making a diagnosis. If a prescription is needed, it is sent to the pharmacy and the patient is able to use his or her health insurance just like they would when they obtain a prescription in the traditional office setting.

This service is available at the low cost of $49 for everyone, even those without insurance. Some are even able to pay a lower copay if the service is covered by their insurance plan. However, due to licensing requirements, all patients must currently be located within the state of Missouri to receive treatment. All info will be contained in a HIPAA-compliant connection, ensuring that health care information stays private.

This new technology doesn’t completely replace traditional doctor visits, because some things can only be diagnosed in person. However, with a thorough medical history review, a visual exam and interview of the patient, it is often possible to triage and treat patients without physically being in the same room with them.

This isn’t the first time that CoxHealth has ventured into telemedicine. We launched DirectConnect in 2015 by partnering with local businesses to bring virtual health care to employees. Its popularity grew quickly: Within just six months of DirectConnect’s launch, more than 50,000 lives were connected with the program.

CoxHealth invites local kids to Trunk or Treat on October 31

It’s not a trick, but it is a treat: The community’s kids (and their parents) are invited to CoxHealth’s Trunk or Treat on October 31.

“We’re hosting this Trunk or Treat because we really wanted to help families in our community,” says Lana Martin, pediatric trauma coordinator at CoxHealth. “This event will be a truly safe place for kids to have a fun Halloween.”

Instead of visiting unknown neighborhoods and high-traffic areas, this event offers a safe alternative to trick-or-treating. The event will be held at Cox South’s West Pavilion (3801 S. National Ave., Springfield), where employees will set up Halloween-themed, kid-friendly booths and distribute treats from 5 to 8 p.m.

For more information about the event, call (417) 269-0920. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Springfield Center for Dyslexia & Learning to celebrate first birthday

The Springfield Center for Dyslexia & Learning (SCDL) celebrates its first birthday in October, and the public is invited to help celebrate. From 5 – 7 p.m. on October 13, the center will be open for tours, visits, and refreshments. SCDL, which is housed in The Turner Center on CoxHealth’s campus, is a resource for local students with dyslexia. The organization works with students to provide specialized help in reading through small groups and one-on-one instruction.

“It’s been a great year, but we’re always looking for ways to help even more local kids succeed,” says Noel Leif, executive director of the center. “One in five kids has dyslexia, so we feel that this cause is one that must be addressed. It’s something that affects a large percentage of our population, and we want to help those individuals live up to their full potential.”

SCDL’s classes are open to all students, and are held at a variety of times. Through sponsorship from CoxHealth, the program’s teachers have been trained in the “Take Flight” program, a method of instruction developed at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.  

For more information about the center or its programs, call 417-269-0259.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Orthopedic surgeon to discuss osteoarthritis during free lunch and learn

Community invited to tour mobile learning center as part of event

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chad Efird will be discussing osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, during an Orthopedic Lunch and Learn on Thursday, Oct. 20, at Cox Medical Center Branson. As part of the event, the public is invited to tour the Zimmer Mobile Learning Center and learn about treatment options for joint pain and joint replacement surgery.

“This event will be a great opportunity for people to see how using technology, we can help restore mobility, alleviate pain and improve the quality of life for people suffering from joint pain,” says Dr. Efird.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day, the Zimmer Mobile Learning Center will open for tours outside the main hospital entrance at Cox Medical Center Branson. The free lunch and learn will begin at noon in the Magnolia and Dogwood conference rooms. Following Dr. Efird’s presentation, there will be an opportunity for questions and answers.

The Zimmer Mobile Learning Center is a traveling educational vehicle that provides training to orthopedic surgeons, nurses and other health care professionals as well as community members on a wide range of orthopedic topics and treatment options.

Space is limited for the Orthopedic Lunch and Learn. Registration is required. Please RSVP by Oct. 17. To reserve your seat, call 335-7350 or email Joann.Adrian@CoxHealth.com.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Population health transforms ED mission

CoxHealth EDs help patients access the right level of care to reduce overcrowding and improve health.

The model of care at CoxHealth’s emergency departments is evolving, with the goal of helping patients get the best care in the most appropriate setting.

Nationally, emergency departments are plagued with overcrowding. Several factors are driving the increase, but a trend has emerged in the past decade that presents a new challenge for ERs: More patients are turning to emergency rooms for treatment of chronic health conditions.

Reducing inappropriate ED utilization is the million dollar question facing Emergency De

partments. Recently, we realized we needed to change our model to one that will lead to better overall health of our communities.

In the emergency department, we are episodic care experts. If you have an acute exacerbation of an illness or an acute emergency, that’s what we do best. Likewise, the care of chronic conditions is best delivered in a primary care setting, or perhaps, even in the patient’s home.

The American College of Emergency Physicians and Emergency Nurses Association have partnered with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to get involved in population health – managing the health of every individual in the population. That can be as simple as updating immunizations to more complex issues of trying to get patients into the right and most efficient level of care.

Patients come to the ED for treatment of their chronic conditions such as diabetes, congestive heart failure or COPD, for any number of reasons, including not being able to get into primary care or not having access to the resources available.

Patients try to deal with their illness at home – they might get progressively sicker until their illness becomes an emergency and we address that need in the ER. But what happens when they leave the ER? How do we ensure that patients in high-risk populations transition to the right level of care for the ongoing treatment of their chronic disease?

Generally, if patients are not seen within 3-5 days after discharge from the ER or hospital, they are at risk for readmission. Hospitals are evaluated by CMS on 30-day readmission rates and ERs are measured on 72-hour patient returns. Any effort we can make for better care management after discharge will be better for our patients – and for our bottom lines.

CoxHealth has been a leader in getting patients into the best level of care. In Springfield, moving our urgent cares to the Cox South campus allows for lower acuity patients to have access to quicker, less expensive care. Also, the development of specialized trauma and disease-specific clinics allows for trauma patients and those with high-risk chronic illnesses to be seen within 3-5 days after discharge from the ED or the hospital if they aren’t able to get in to see their primary care provider.

Now, new processes and new external partnerships are helping us expand our population health efforts even further.

First, we identified gaps in service to our patient populations, such as dental care for those who come to the ED with tooth pain and have no insurance; outpatient management of mental health conditions for people who are stabilized in the ED but don’t have a mental health provider for follow up; and social health support for patients who are well physically but lack social support.

We developed a multidisciplinary team across the region involving internal and external partners. We identified and worked to close the gaps either within CoxHealth or by partnering with other agencies in the community such as Jordan Valley and Burrell Behavioral Health.

Jointly, we have worked to obtain grant funding that ultimately will reduce overall cost and reduce state and federal Medicaid spending while improving the health of our region.

You will be hearing more about some of those partnerships here in Connection in the coming months. Population Health coverage will also include efforts in Branson and Monett and through the work of the new Population Health team.

Thinking about serving our patients in different ways is exciting. Making a difference in the community – that’s what I love doing and I’m glad we work in an organization that allows us to reach out of our areas of expertise to find new ways to be the best for those who need us

Monday, October 3, 2016

Nurses honored for extraordinary clinical skill and compassion with DAISY Awards

Each quarter, CoxHealth recognizes nominated nurses with DAISY Awards. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is presented in medical facilities throughout the United States to recognize the education, training, skill and compassionate care nurses provide. Patients, their friends and families, co-workers, physicians and volunteers may nominate a nurse for the award.

Jamie Dudley, 700 East – Jamie was recognized for the compassion she showed a patient who spent her final days on the unit. The patient had been diagnosed with brain tumors and she was without family or friends. Jamie treated the patient like family, caring for her daily.

Jamie spent the patient’s final day with her, documenting in her room and only leaving to check on other patients and pass medication. She prayed with the patient and was by her side as she took her last breath.

Lana Garcia, Cox North ED – Lana was called in to work with a patient who had been the victim of domestic violence. Lana is a trained sexual assault nurse examiner and even though sexual assault wasn’t part of this case, her forensic expertise and ability to provide compassionate care was key for the patient. Lana provided emotional support throughout the patient’s ED visit and hospitalization.

“Some superheroes don’t wear capes. Lana was a superhero for that patient that night,” her colleagues wrote in the DAISY nomination.

Emily Stark, 400 MICU/CCU – Emily cared for a 97-year-old patient who, despite his declining health condition, wanted nothing more than to go outside. As his condition worsened, Emily thought he would benefit from being outdoors one last time. She worked with unit leadership to see if that was possible. With leadership approval, she stayed after her shift and took the patient outdoors for fresh air.

“This type of above and beyond care can do as much for our patients as any care we offer,” her colleagues wrote in the DAISY nomination.

Psychiatrist joins Cox Medical Center Branson

Dr. Lisa Lemons
Cox Medical Center Branson is pleased to announce that Lisa Lemons, DO, is now seeing patients at the CoxHealth Family Medicine and Obstetrics clinic in Branson. Dr. Lemons specializes in psychiatry.

Dr. Lemons grew up in California and received her medical education at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in Vallejo, Calif. She completed her psychiatry residency at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis, Ore.

“To say we are thrilled to welcome Dr. Lisa Lemons to our team would be an understatement,” says Cox Medical Center Branson President William Mahoney. “For years, our community has had a lack of mental health providers and so we are thrilled to have someone as outstanding as Dr. Lisa Lemons join our Branson team. Dr. Lemons has a passion for providing quality, compassionate mental health care. She is a great asset to not only our team, but to our entire community.”

Dr. Lemons said she’s always known she wanted to work in the medical field, however, it wasn’t until her fourth year of medical school she decided to specialize in psychiatry.

“I really enjoyed that it wasn’t all just black and white. There is a lot of gray areas in psychiatry,” she explains. “Each diagnosis is so specific to that person and you really have to think of a treatment plan for each individual that focuses on their symptoms rather than looking for a general treatment plan. Depression, anxiety, bipolar - it looks completely different on each individual. It’s challenging yet incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to help people in this way.”

Dr. Lisa Lemons’ husband, Dr. David Lemons, an interventional cardiologist, joined Cox Heart Center Branson in August.

“He was blown away when he came here for his interview and I trusted his decision that this was the right place for us,” she said. 

When not working, Dr. Lisa Lemons enjoys running and hiking with her husband and spending time with their 6-month-old son Charlie.

She is currently accepting patients on a referral basis. For more information about Dr. Lisa Lemons or to speak to a representative in her clinic, call 417-348-8012.