Category: Nevada

New Charter Aims To Increase Professionalism Among U.S. Healthcare Organizations

A new set of professionalism-based metrics called the “Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations” was recently published in an online issue of Academic Medicine. This charter was written by a team of healthcare professionals, community advocates and partners in order to provide more healing environments in hospitals, provide ethical guidelines for hospitals and reduce workforce burnout.

This new charter extends the principles of professionalism presented in an earlier charter published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2002: “Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter”. While that charter focused on the ideals for individual physicians, many physicians responded by saying that they could not fully embody the principles due to the stifling policies of their places of employment. This new charter speaks to this, offering ideals for the greater structure of healthcare.

The new charter separates aspirational behaviors into four categories:

Patient Partnership
Healthcare organizations can achieve a more patient-centered approach by allowing patients to be more involved in their care and in hospital strategies. This clearly benefits patients, but it can benefit organizations too. Healthcare organizations can increase public trust and improve their performance thanks to this approach.

Organizational Culture
More than half of physicians experience burnout. To solve this, we need to focus on the environment of the healthcare workforce. When organizations are caring for the wellbeing of healthcare workers, these workers can provide better care for patients as a result.

Community Partnership
In order to successfully bring about population health, it is necessary for hospitals, the government and community organizations to work together. These entities all affect the social determinants of health.

Operations and Business Practices
When a healthcare organization maintains ethical business practices, the quality of patient care improves, as does the hospital financial performance.

According to Lewis L. Low, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon, healthcare organizations have been struggling with provider burnout for a while. Dr. Low states that it is becoming more and more clear that organizational commitment is necessary to create real change that will bring about wellness. Her believes that the Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations will help foster an environment that allows the consumers to partner with the provider to make improvements.

The “Charter on Professionalism for Healthcare Organizations was funded by the ABIM Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, the Federation of American Hospitals, The American Hospital Association and Northwell Health. Historical assumptions and roles of both staff and leadership will be challenged by transitions to the model health care organizations described in this charter. The authors of the charter realize this, but they believe that these ideals of professionalism can offer assistance in making decisions in a quickly changing, fiscally challenging and ethically difficult environment. They also believe that the healthcare providers and the patients alike will benefit from the resulting changes.

This new charter, just like the Physician Charter before it, seeks the endorsement of hospital systems, representatives of the health professions and specialty societies. The “home” of the charter project is the Foundation for Medical Excellence, a nonprofit organization that promotes sound health policy and quality healthcare. This foundation encourages healthcare professionals throughout the U.S. to make efforts to embody Charter principles.

USDA Gives Renown Health Funds for Telemedicine

The USDA recently announced that it would grant more than 1.3 million to fund three telecommunications projects across the state of Nevada. I’m pleased to announce that Renown Health received nearly $440,000 to assist with our TeleHealth program. Alongside Renown Health, both the Nevada System of Higher Education and the Elko County School District received funds from the USDA.

Nevada is a big state and people live all over it. Some these people live nearby major medical centers, but those who live in more remote areas may find that getting to a major medical center costs them time and resources that they simply do not have. Renown’s TeleHealth program provides acute and ambulatory healthcare services to a number of rural healthcare communities in both Nevada and California. With these additional funds, we will be able to assist over 21 rural communities. Additionally, we will be able to connect patients, families, and caregivers with area emergency and elective healthcare services in eight counties throughout Nevada and three counties throughout California.

via Renown Health

TeleHealth has a number of different facets to it. Virtual Visits allow patients to see a provider using a mobile device or computer. Hospital Telemedicine allows doctors to hold immediate, virtual consultations with other medical professionals to help diagnose conditions and come up with the most effective treatment plan. Speciality Care allows you and your healthcare provider to hold interactive discussions with specialist for a collaborative diagnosis and treatment plan. Telestroke puts remote doctors in contact with Renown neurologists for quick evaluations. Additionally there are Wellness Classes and Support Groups to help patients stay health and Patient Health Monitoring, which helps physicians keep tabs on a patient’s health information to reduce readmission.

In many ways, Telehealth is an extension of our work with community partners. Just as we have partnered with 23andMe and the Desert Research Institute to initiate a landmark population health initiative, so are we reaching out to a number of healthcare providers across Reno to see how we can bring our technology and expertise to them. More and more people have quality healthcare within reaching distance. But there are still many who do not. TeleHealth and other telemedicine programs help to bring care to the patient. The future of healthcare is the future of patient experience.

Mark Behl

Giving Options Beyond ER

I’m very pleased to announce that Renown Health has recently teamed up with the Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority (REMSA) to help cut back on unnecessary visits to the emergency room. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of people come into ER that could have been treated in urgent care or with a visit to a primary care physician. The general result of this has been to bog down ER services. The solution? To bring medicine to the people. The method? Community Paramedicine.

You can learn more about this recent initiative by listening to an interview on KUNR.

Mark Behl

QLess Webinar and Improving Patient Experience

Renown Health partners with several companies to help us provide the best heatlthcare possible. One of those companies, QLess, offers a novel way of leveraging technology to reduce the amount of time that patients have to spend waiting around. QLess utilizes an online check-in feature that allows patients to check-in at a hospital before they even arrive. After using their services for a few months, I have to say that I’m completely blown away with the results. When QLess asked me if I wanted to share my experience with their service on a webinar, it was a no-brainer.

Feel free to give this QLess Healthcare Webinar a listen to. It’s 100% free.

qless logo

The Future of Patient Experience

Today’s healthcare systems is a value-based one. That is to say it is consumer-based. What we’re seeing is a fundamental shift from simply access to medical services toward an increased focus on the convenience of medical services. Years ago, people outnumbered medical providers. There simply wasn’t enough healthcare to go around. Today, there is no shortage of providers out there, making it less a matter of if people have access to healthcare, and more a matter of which provider is going to give them the best experience for their buck.

Below are some trends that we are seeing with this shift to a more consumer-, patient-centered experience.

Increase in Partnerships

Medical groups will need to look out side of their own resources if they’re going to help the most amount of people in the best way. For non-profit medical organizations, like Renown Health, this is especially true. That’s why the Renown Health Foundation has made such effort of working with philanthropic partners throughout the community.


From donors to universities, Renown Health works with a number of organizations in the community to increase the efficacy of its work and its reach.

The Renown Health Foundation has secured funding for a number of niche medical practices that would otherwise be difficult to obtain, for instance low-dose CT scanners made specifically for children. But amid growing competition between medical providers, even for-profit institutions will need to make the most of their community if they hope to keep prices affordable and equipment up-to-date. The future of healthcare is going is going to be more interconnected.

Increased Coordination Among Providers

Instead of having patients fill out the same forms every time they visit a physician, we’re starting to see a shift to a system wherein providers are able to communicate with one another via intelligent cloud computing networks. The benefits of this trend or more than just doing less paper work.

Mentrics logo in orange font

The Mentrics platform uses IBM Watson to allow cross-network providers the ability to easily share patient data.

After all, it seems like a no-brainer that your dermatologist should have a stable medium of communication, right? Why should the patient be the one who has to do all the grunt work, when they are coming to a medical provider to get someone to take care of them. Of course there’s a reason this sort of network between providers didn’t exist before. It’s really hard for providers to communicate with one another across town (let alone across the country!), but the advent of smart networks and cloud-based features (like IBM Watson) is making this patient-centric paradigm a possibility.

Increased Use of Social Media

Social media is growing to be an important avenue by which individuals submit and organizations receive feedback. As Jason A. Wolf of the Beryl Institute recently put it:

“What once was a world of physical proximity bridged across geographies through connective technology such as phones or other forms of communication has emerged to what I see as a world of social proximity.”

Just as providers are growing closer with the help of advanced data infrastructures, the gap between patients and providers is being narrowed by the “social proximity” of social media. The customer is always right, but there’s never before been such an opportunity for providers to hear from patients on such a wide scale. To quote Wolf once again:

Your Twitter feed is data; your Facebook chatter is valuable intelligence.

Increased Involvement of Providers

As all of the above illustrate, providers need to become more involved in the wellbeing of their patients. It’s no longer enough to give a prescription to a patient, send them on their way, and tell them to come back if they are still experiencing symptoms. Providers need to show an active and consistent engagement in the livelihood of their patients.

That doesn’t mean that physician themselves have to thoroughly engage patients (maybe in a perfect world where patients don’t so greatly outnumber providers…), but the hospital, the pharmacy, the clinic as a whole needs to have a system in place for checking on patients and establishing a connection. It’s now common knowledge that individuals/consumers/patients are no longer looking for just the service. They’re looking for an emotional experience. In the case of healthcare, a more supportive and present experience is a no-brainer. Especially, with the advancements in technology that we have recently seen.

Increased Use of Apps and Wearables

I’ve written about this in my Population Health blog, but apps and wearables are changing the ways that patient manage their own health and also interact with providers. For instance, Apple’s Healthkit and Samsung’s HealthKit both give patients an unprecedented level of self-monitoring. Northwestern University in conjunction with Intellicare has created a suite of apps geared toward helping individuals manage their mental health.

Several Icons depicting apps in the Intellicare App Suite - The Futer of Patient Experience

A glance at the Intellicare app suite, which empowers patients to monitor their mental health outside of the clinic.

Wearables like FitBit allow people to track their physical activity on their own. When paired to advanced platforms like Welltok’s IBM Watson Heart App, wearables and other IoT devices allow individuals to track their weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol, while making health recommendations for a better patient outcome.


In the future, healthcare organizations will be more connected, more integrated, and will put patient’s first. They will need to. For the unfamiliar, it might seem odd that healthcare sector is becoming increasingly more and more consumer-centric, but this trend toward a patient-centric paradigm propitious in more than one way. On the one hand, consumers have more choice; on the other, healthcare organizations have to work even better to provide the best experience possible.

For more healthcare updates, follow me on Twitter @MarkBehl.

Thanks for reading.

Mark Behl

Nevada Doctors Looking Elsewhere?

The University of Nevada School of Medicine has close to 70 people graduating on May 15, 2015, however, only seven of those graduates are expected to stay behind and practice their profession in Nevada. Past statistics have shown that 90% of graduates seek opportunities elsewhere and do not plan to ever return to the Silver State.

Mark Behl - stethoscopeThe state is currently grappling with a pressing need for additional medical doctors- it’s the largest area in the country without teaching residency institutions and only one public medical school that caters to its students that area spread across an area of 400 miles. Many studies show that doctors and hospital administrators usually practice in the same state they graduated from, which helps increate the quality care and the numbers of practitioners for that specific state. However, this trend is not as easily transferable to Nevada and its public medical school. This indicates the importance and urgency of developing independent medical teaching schools around the state of Nevada as well as continuously increasing the overall quality of education.

Mark Doubrava, an official with the Nevada System of Higher Education, believes that residency programs have to be linked to strong medical schools. This is the only way to create a system that fully supports students in all stages of their education and beyond. State officials are also working along side lawmakers to develop excellent medical campuses across the state that are meant to attract new students and tenured faculty who are willing to establish a prominent medical culture.

The State Medical Association of Nevada has expressed that they will need thousands of doctors and nurses in the upcoming decades, and this is the time to start thinking of new strategies to build the infrastructure to house these new additions. With already aging practicing physicians, these needs are even more relevant.

Nevada Fires David Carter

After enduring a season that saw the Nevada Wolf Pack go 9-22, 5-13 in the Mountain West Conference, Nevada has decided to part ways with head coach David Carter. Carter was previously a long time assistant to previous head coach Mark Fox but when Fox left to take the Georgia job, Carter was promoted to head coach in April of 2009 signing a 5 year contract. Nevada as a basketball program had been gaining a lot of momentum having posted six consecutive seasons of 20 or more wins. Carter was quoted as saying, “This program is not going backward, I promise that.” In the last 3 seasons, Carter’s Wolf Pack have gone a combine 36-58, which looks to be backwards.

Mark Behl - David CarterThe rumor mill has begun to turn for possible replacements for David Carter. Tony Barbee is one name that has circulated at Nevada. Barbee is currently an assistant under John Calipari at Kentucky, who is currently going through one of the schools best seasons in history. Barbee does have head coach experience from his time at UTEP and Auburn.

Another possibility could be Joe Pasternack. Pasternack currently serves as the associate head coach at Arizona who is currently on a run in the NCAA Tournament. Pasternack has also served as a head coach previously at the University of New Orleans.

The final candidate that has surfaced is Eric Musselman. Musselman, the son of former NBA coach Bill Musselman is considered to be the top candidate. Eric Musselman currently serves as the associate head coach of the LSU Tigers. Musselman spent one year as head coach of the Wolf Pack in 2010 when he lead the team to a 34-16 record. He has spent time with many west coast NBA teams, specifically in California, which is a great area for Nevada to recruit in.