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Healthcare PlexusCall: Information Flow and Learning in Healthcare
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When: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
1-2pm ET

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Healthcare PlexusCall
Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT
Topic: Information Flow and Learning in Healthcare: Social Quality Improvement
Guest: Brian McGowan and Jeff Cohn

MP3 File

#SocialQI (pdf)

Learning is a very complex and very critical element of health, and one that gets little attention. For nearly a decade, great efforts have been made to support the idea of a ‘rapid-learning healthcare system.’ A rapid-learning healthcare system is comprised of growing and increasingly real-time data sets that may be mined for trends, for anomalies, and for best practice in healthcare, in hopes of ensuring that every patient encounter is able to inform every other patient encounter – and that lessons learned once, are learned and applied in as broadly appropriate ways as possible.

Realistically, not every element of the healthcare system can be fixed overnight, but by opening up to one another, by building a collective story and history about what works and why, and by becoming engaged in a community of like-minded patients, physicians, or even scientists, we can all move the healthcare system forward ― and perhaps together we can get it to the place it needs to be by the time we next need it.

Social media can support the rapid-learning healthcare system by serving as an unprecedented information-sharing ecosystem. Patients can find, crowdsource, validate, and learn from information that was never previously available to them. Healthcare professionals can share their experiences, insights, wisdom, and questions with a global community of professionals and patients. And, biomedical research scientists can rapidly disseminate their successes and failure, their trials and errors, and their unique vision of what could be.

Brian and Jeff will join the call to talk about what they are learning about learning, ways to improve information flow, and the role social media can play in helping both healthcare providers and patients keep up with emerging ideas in the complex realm of health and healthcare.

Please bring your own experience and plan to add your own voice to this important conversation.

Brian McGowan, PhD, is a recovering research scientist, driven to innovate. He recounts, "A week after I graduated from college my new doctoral advisor looked toward my belt and said, "good, you already have a pager.”

Over the next 4.5 years I was on call 24/7 and I spent more than 473 separate evenings and nights in the Cardiac OR at Temple University Hospital. As a doctoral student and lead on the cardiovasular research team I reviewed the medical charts for patients undergoing LVAD placement or heart transplants. And on 473 separate occasions I walked across North Broad street with human heart tissue under my arm – this tissue was used for a myriad of studies: tissue-level, cellular, subcellular, and genetic.

On about 15 occasions I was able to join the organ harvest teams in the collection of a ‘normal’ heart. These organs failed to meet the minimal criteria for transplantation – this ‘normal’ tissue served as control in the myriad of studies described above. The days we received a call for a ‘normal harvest’ were some of the most exciting and most stressful of my training.

By day I studied the remodeling of the heart, spending 1000′s of hours developing and perfecting surgical models of cardiac overload. These models and techniques were shared with colleagues at Stanford, Wyoming, MUSC, and Thomas Jefferson University. In the second year of my doctoral training I was invited to join the faculty at Arcadia University as Course Director for a graduate course in Medical Physiology. For eight years the course evolved and nearly 200 students entered the classroom with a vague interest in both science and patient care and left the classroom with a hunger to integrate their knowledge of medical physiology into the care they provided to each and every patient they encountered during their clinical rotations.

This combination of experience as a medical scientist and educator lead me to a career and a passion for medical education and healthcare improvement. And this passion continues to this day.

Over the past 5 months I have written the book on social learning in healthcare: "#SocialQI: Simple Solution for Improving Your Healthcare.” It is my goal that this book will empower patients, support physicians, and drive innovative discoveries in medicine.

If you are interested in my ideas, or want to discuss ideas that you feel could drive change in healthcare, please connect with me:

Jeff Cohn, MD, MHCM, is the President of The Plexus Institute, a non-profit organization whose mission is to "foster the health of individuals, families, communities, and our natural environment by helping people use concepts emerging from the new science of complexity.” The Institute conducts research and training workshops, provides consultative services, and sponsors professional learning networks to radically alter institutions’ conventional approaches of engaging stakeholders and resolving intractable management and policy challenges.

Prior to assuming the Plexus Presidency, Dr. Cohn was the Chief Quality Officer and Patient Safety Officer for Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While at Einstein, Dr. Cohn led an initiative to reduce patient infection rates and worked closely with Plexus to use liberating structures and positive deviance to transform the Network’s approach to addressing patient safety. These techniques were instrumental in the success of the project, which resulted in sustainable 75% decrease in Network infection rates and vastly improved expenses. This experience led to Dr. Cohn’s involvement on the Plexus Board of Directors, in 2011 becoming the Institute’s Chairman, and in June 2012 becoming the Institute’s President.

Dr. Cohn graduated from Jefferson Medical College and received a Masters in Healthcare Management from the Harvard School of Public Health. He currently teaches in Jefferson’s School of Population Health. He speaks frequently on how to create the conditions for the social/cultural improvement work necessary for our most complex and intractable healthcare challenges.

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