Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chasing Zero

Last night in my Health Care Systems class we watched part of a nearly-hour-long video that I’d like to share with you. I watched most of the rest of it when I got home last night; got sleepy with about 10 minutes to go so haven’t seen the very end yet. But it fits beautifully with Mayo's whole Culture of Safety initiative and puts human faces on the critical nature of the culture of safety. It’s called Chasing Zero. It’s really worth your while.


I won the KDEC trivia contest this morning again on the way to work. The question was, “Rocker Lou Reed has joined Neil Young and the late Frank Zappa in having a _________ named after him.” I called in and guessed a high school, because I know there’s a Frank Zappa High School somewhere. Nope. So I hung up. The morning DJs weren’t getting any more calls so they threw out a hint: David Bowie has never had one of these, even though he’d be a natural for it. I thought, Ziggy Stardust – maybe it’s a star. So I called back. Nope. Not a star. I could tell they were getting tired of the game because they gave me a REALLY BIG HINT while I was on the phone – they said to think about Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars for a minute. I guessed “Spider?” Bingbingbingbing, that was the answer. Lou Reed has one now named after him, a velvet trapdoor spider (that lives under ground). Get it? The Velvet Underground? Yeah, I thought it was kind of a stretch. FYI, Zappa has one named after him because if you care to get close enough to look at its face, it has sort of a Zappa-esque moustache. (I’ll take their word for it.) And Neil Young’s spider just got his name because the scientist who named him is a Neil Young fan. Whatever. I think maybe there are just too many spiders in the world and they are running out of things to call them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Camping, and diagnosis momentum

I hope you had a lovely weekend.

We camped with our daughters in the Yellow River State Forest to our south. We hit the Harper’s Ferry Volunteer Fire Department’s pancake breakfast on Sunday. The campground was overrun with hungry tent caterpillars. My girls invented a new game called Hunger Games for Tent Caterpillars, which involved tossing the “tributes” into the campfire. The survival rate was nil.

Here’s an article that talks about how errors in one part of the medical record can be copied and passed on if they are not verified, until they are all over the patient’s chart and then nobody believes it’s a mistake. The article calls this “diagnosis momentum, a phenomenon whereby ‘once diagnostic labels are attached to patients they tend to become stickier and stickier.’” This was not a transcriptionist’s mistake in this case, but I have seen it happen that way too: The first error is a transcription error, the dictator signs off on it without noticing the error, and it runs from there, gaining momentum with each new provider who reads it and then dictates into the record once more. (I think you will probably have to register for the site to read the article but it's free, and they have great stuff.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Grad school update

I have one semester of an expected total of six complete, seven credits so far, and so far have a 4.0 grade point average. Honestly in many ways it's easier than my undergrad work. The work itself is much more challenging, but I get to take just one course at a time and give it my undivided attention (undivided, that is, other than for work, commuting, the family, the house, the wedding, Barry getting ready to leave for a summer internship at Mayo, and getting Kieffer squared away for college in the fall).

My first course was called Authentic Leadership, in which we explored leadership theory and worked at formulating our own individual leadership philosophies. It was a great way to start things off and get to know the members of my cohort (and they are wonderful people!). Next was Legal and Ethical Decision Making, in which we talked about business law and how ethics fits in (or at least how it should). I just started my third course, Health Care Systems, which is required for health care emphasis students in the MBA program. Seven weeks. Eight papers of varying lengths. I wrote two of them this past weekend. Lots of reading, lots of writing, and the writing is all in APA style, which I loathed at first but which has grown on me (obviously a sign that I am losing it).

Since my undergrad degree has nothing to do with business, I have to show competencies in five areas including business law, finance, economics, and two more I can't remember at the moment, so I am taking a couple of pass/fail "boot camp" courses to cover these. Still about $500 a credit and don't count toward my MBA credit total so I am anxious not to have to take all of them. I can submit portfolios of work experience for consideration in lieu of the courses and am planning on doing that for three of the five.

I do love being back in school. It's just a demanding schedule all around.

P.S. I just learned something new: When you try to write a Blogger post on an iPad, it ignores your paragraph breaks.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I am so far behind on sharing things with you that I don't even know where to start.

So I'll start with this:

My firstborn, Britta, is engaged to be married to Amadeus Gandy, a young man she met in college. They plan to marry on August 11th here in our back yard, a small family wedding. Amadeus' career plans are to be a chaplain in the US Army, so after they both finish their bachelor's degrees at Viterbo, they will be heading out to Fort Wayne, Indiana, so he can go to Concordia Theological Seminary to study for his MDiv. Britta will have student teaching to do, which she hopes to do in Fort Wayne, and then she plans on continuing school while teaching, studying American Sign Language. They are energetic people and I am confident they will accomplish all this.

We are very happy with them and their love for one another and pray for many decades of fruitful married life for them.