Do YOU Matter?

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Nothing about me without me.
— Valerie Billingham

Ever since John Locke our country has been based on incorporating the concepts of Life Liberty and Property as the bedrock of our government and society. Regarding the person, Locke explained that private property is absolutely essential for liberty: “every Man has a Property in his own Person. This no Body has any Right to but himself.”

Somehow the current health care system seemed to have missed the memo. Sure we talk about informed consent before any medical procedure. Failure to get YOUR permission to put something in YOUR body or to even touch or do anything to YOUR body is a grave violation and may even be criminal assault or battery.

So how is it that surgery centers can have supply problems and substitute the medicine used for anesthesia? Do you know what is being put in your body? Does any one asked you before hand or tell you afterward? No! The New York Times headlines screams that it is “often hidden from the public.”

When things that do happen to you are recorded, should you not know about it? Or at least have a right to know about it? Yet David deBronkhardt is soon to make a follow up speech to his earlier speeches in which he has had to loudly and forcefully demand that providers “Give me my Dam Data.”

After getting the Data run around and suffering a calamitous personal tragedy, Regina Holliday, an artist, made it her mission to promote the cause that PATIENTS should be the center of their care. She creates Walking Billboards for Patient-Centered Care and has been lauded in recent Wall Street Journal reporting.

Although acknowledging that Shared Decision Making (should be) the pinnacle of patient-centered care

What is Shared Decision Making?

The Picker Institute identified eight characteristics of care as the most important indicators of quality and safety, from the perspective of patients:
• respect for the patient’s values, preferences, and expressed needs;
• coordinated and integrated care;
• clear, high-quality information and education for the patient and family;
• physical comfort, including pain management; emotional support and alleviation of fear and anxiety;
• involvement of family members and friends, as appropriate;
• continuity, including through care-site transitions;
• and access to care.

Nevertheless, The New England Journal of Medicine admits, “Although talk about patient-centered care is ubiquitous in modern health care…” rhetoric is not reality.

A Private Health Advocate working on your side, can help push the boundary closer from rhetoric to reality. By hiring a private health advocate, you make it clear that YOU MATTER!  You choose to  Hedge Lucky.

For more information on how Private Health Advocates may help you, contact us The Lucky Hedgehog Company, Inc. at 212-600-0234 or Info@luckyHedgehog.com.

MISTAKES HAPPEN

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Mistakes happen in every aspect of life.  Medical care and treatment are not immune.

In 2015 US News and World Report identified 5 common preventable medical mistakes which are causing up to 200,000 deaths each year.  These include: Medication Errors, Too Many Blood Infusions, and Health Care related infections.

Indeed medical mistakes are on the rise.  The Affordable Care Act gave significant incentives to have providers move to Electronic Health Records.  Ironically, this has led to an increase in mistakes.  A wrong box is checked, the spelling is off, and a whole slew of consequences ensue for the patient – with no wrongdoing intended.  Mistakes happen.

Sometimes mistakes are the result of systemic realities and may not be even called “mistakes; ”  but rather “falling through the cracks.”  One such example was written up in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The Doctor faced a dilemma:  the  patient’s chief complaint (constipation) was treatable with medicine.  However, several minutes into the 15 minutes allotted by the management for the appointment, a deeper problem came to light.  After a bit of communication with the patient, the doctor realized that the issue was not solely medical but had roots in a Behavioral or Psychological problem.  Having come to that realization the doctor also was cognizant that to discuss the issue and a referral to a specialist would have taken more than the time allotted.  The dilemma therefore was to treat the chief complaint, or treat the patient and what caused the chief complaint.  Which do you think the doctor chose?

Had the patient had a private health advocate the doctor may have been able to do both.  The medication could have been prescribed, the issue raised with the advocate able to spend the time helping the patient process it and explore the possibility of seeing a specialist.

In many of the cases of medication errors, an emotionally detached non-judgmental private advocate might be an asset to the patient, doctor and hospital who might see and perhaps catch mistakes before damage is done.  They might review a chart or Electronic Health Record and notice mistakes or “typos” that can significantly impact treatment choices and can be pointed out and corrected.

No doubt you or a loved one will be a patient at some point.  In a world where mistakes happen, you can have a Private Health Advocate on your side, or you can go it alone.  By hiring a private health advocate, you Hedge Lucky.

For more information on how Professional Health Advocates may help you, contact us The Lucky Hedgehog Company, Inc. at 212-600-0234 or Info@luckyHedgehog.com.

CAREGIVING – DONT GO IT ALONE

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Professional Health Advocacy is a growing field that is widely misunderstood. It is growing for a reason;: getting what you need from the fractured health care system takes a huge toll.

The high costs that come with being a caregiver for the elderly was the subject of a recent article in JAMA.  The report concluded that 14.7 million caregivers are assisting 7.7 million older adults, 6.5 million (44.1%) provide substantial help, and 4.4 million (29.8%) provide some help. Caregivers providing substantial help with health care were significantly more likely to experience emotional difficulty, restrictions in preferred activities, and work productivity loss. Still, only one-quarter use supportive services.

In that study, almost half (45.5%) of the caregivers providing substantial help with health care assisted an older adult with dementia. The National Association on Caregiving released a study on the particularly more difficult challenges for those On pins and Needles: Caregiving of Adults with Mental Illness.

Per the report these caregivers are especially vulnerable.  They face complex, high burden care situations, resulting in higher caregiver stress and strain.  On average they are 54 years old providing 32 hours of care each week and have been providing care for a long time: about 9 years.  Not surprisingly the report identifies “startling inadequacies in the U.S. health care system.”

The recommendations suggest “Include(ing) caregivers as part of the health care team, in ways that allow them to understand their loved one’s diagnosis without limiting the patient’s independence. Policies and practice should fully include individuals, families, providers, and supports.”

These supports include Professional Health Advocates. When family members are overwhelmed, Professionals can help identify resources to reduce the burdens and can help navigate the Health Care system to get more of the attention and care needed and overall reduce the strains. Those that use Professional Health Advocate services –  Hedge Lucky – and the more advanced the planning, the lower the burden and the luckier they are.

For more information on how Professional Health Advocates may help you, contact us The Lucky Hedgehog Company, Inc. at 212-600-0234 or Info@luckyHedgehog.com.

DATA HEDGE

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Darrel Huff, the author of the classic How to Lie with Statistics would likely have had a field day with the confluence of events that we are facing.  Despite the rise of BIG DATA where we generate in excess of 2.5 exabytes of information daily, the “forces that be” continue to manipulate information to yield results that tend to persuade towards their predetermined preferred outcome.  Thus, by changing the questionnaire the CDC was able to double the numbers of the Autistic population from one year to the next.  By “inversion” Pfizer, at a time that pharmaceutical companies are taking a beating in the US Presidential election cycle, is able to keep enormous sums form tax authorities.  By whimsical selection, the numbers of victims of the ever increasing outrageous violence around the world vacillates wildly.

While some look at the 3Vs of Big Data as Volume, Velocity, and Variety, it would seem more than prudent to consider Verification.  Data manipulated can be used for you or used against you.  To Hedge Data, we look to find the thread that run through it and will bring clients together in a strategic method that advocates for their preferred outcomes.