I don’t particularly like Halloween. I never really have. The candy makes everyone feel sick; the pumpkin carving is difficult even when you have the special little tools; and the costumes- it’s just too hard to decide what to be. Three of my children- the teenagers- luckily have sort of outgrown it, except now instead of having to worry about costumes I have to worry about what they are doing as they run around the neighborhoods with a bunch of other teenagers at night. Eight-year-old Sam is still into the trick-or-treat thing. Every year I have grand plans of the two of us making his costume together, and every year we end up going to the “costume express” website where he picks out a costume (which usually comes with a plastic weapon of sorts and probably has a “Made in China” label somewhere on it). We type in a credit card number and pay for express shipping because we put it off until the last minute.
Last week I spent the morning in Chicago at the Blue National Summit of the national Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. This conference was unlike any previous conference that Blue Cross Blue Shield had put together. In the past, each separate entity of the Blues- the account people, the marketing people, the information technology people- would have their own separate conference. This year, however, the Blues decided to mix it up. They decided to bring everyone together- 1,100 executives from varying backgrounds all under one roof for a three day conference.
I am so happy to make this wonderful announcement- The Josie King Foundation presents the Patient Journal App, a tool for your iPhone that you can use to record important information related to a hospital stay. Please take your iPhone out of your pocket and go to the Apple iTunes Store. Search for “Patient Journal” or “Josie King” and there it is. (You can also go directly to the app via this link: http://itunes.com/apps/PatientJournal.) You will recognize the pretty Josie King Foundation logo. Go ahead and download it. It’s completely free.
Let me tell you a few things about this most wonderful Patient Journal app, which is based on our successful Care Journal. So, there you are in the hospital. You, your child or a loved one is sick. You are scared and confused. You may feel a bit powerless until you whip out your beloved iPhone and click on that pretty little leaf and up pops your Patient Journal.
Each day your Patient Journal prompts you to type in important information like:
- Parking Place: If you are a hospital visitor like me, you are always forgetting where you parked your car in that huge parking lot. Noting it in your Patient Journal app means you have one less thing to remember.
- Medical Team on Duty: Doctors, nurses, aides, therapists- they are all vital members of the medical team. It is nice to remember their names.
- Daily Goals: The medical team has daily goals for their patients (like keeping blood potassium at a certain level or walking ten laps around the ward, for example) and we should be aware of them and do what we can to help.
- Medications: It is important to know what those meds do and what the potential side effects may be.
- Procedures: What is the procedure for? Why did the doctor recommend it? Don’t forget to ask for the results.
- Diet: It is a good idea to record what liquids and foods the patient is taking. Some patients need to drink a certain amount of water daily, or slowly work up to eating solids after surgery.
- Questions to Ask: I really like this one. This is where you note the questions that you have for your medical team. It is easy to refer back to this list when the doctors and nurses make their rounds. No worries about forgetting the important questions.
Each day you will keep all of this very important information tucked away safe and sound in your pocket. What could be easier?
Now here is what I REALLY like about the fabulous Patient Journal app. Your husband is out of town and asks you how things are going and instead of having to remember each procedure, each medication, each doctor and nurse (because you are so tired) all you do is whip out your iPhone, open your Patient Journal, enter his email address, and push “send”.
Maybe your family physician wants to know how the patient is doing, so you enter her address and push “send”. Maybe you want to talk to a specialist on the other side of the country; enter the email address and push “send”. Basically, you hae created your own set of informal medical records.
So to all of the Josie King Foundation friends, to all of Josie’s Story friends, to all of my friends and family…well, really to EVERYONE who will every be in the hospital please, please, PLEASE use the Patient Journal app. It is a gift from us to you. We hope you like it as much as we do. Please send us your thoughts and comments. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your friend (who is VERY excited about this project),
P.S.- Many thanks to the super smart team at Spinapse, the terrific software development company that worked with us to make the Patient Journal such a smart, easy-to-use, helpful app.Read More
[Sorry for the delay in getting this up. We ran into some problems with Blogger, our blog host. Thanks for understanding!]
Over the years throughout my journey into the health care industry I have been lucky enough to meet hundreds of nurses, maybe even thousands. Sometimes they pick me up at airports and drive me back to their hospitals. They give me hospital tours, taking me from floor to floor, introducing me to their nurse friends along the way. I have lunch with them. We sit in meetings together. Most of the time I meet them at patient safety conferences where I am a speaker. The nurses are the ones sitting in the front rows, who come up to me after I speak, shake my hand, give me a hug and tell me their own stories of medical errors. They tell me about their patient safety work- the things they are doing to make care safer on the unit.
A few weeks ago a friend told me about a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It was a clever little book with lots of tidbits on things that make us happy- one of which was doing something that you have been putting off for a long time, like putting together scrapbooks. Each of my children has a baby book except for Sam, who is now eight years old. His book was my first priority. So, feeling inspired by The Happiness Project and knowing how great I would feel if I completed this nagging task that I had been putting off for years, I gathered the boxes of pictures that had been sitting on a bookshelf. Then I went into every room in the house and gathered the stragglers- the pictures the children had snagged from the boxes over the years. I put them all in the dining room and started sorting and filing just as The Happiness Project suggested. After a little while Sam and Eva came to hep. Jack moved his homework into the dining room and we all started going through the pictures.
A few days ago I went to Pennsylvania to speak at a patient safety event sponsored by Excela Health. It was a pretty drive- through Maryland, across the Appalachian Mountains, and then into the Allegheny Mountains heading through Southern Pennsylvania. As Tom the driver and I drove deeper into central Pennsylvania, we passed through little towns- Breezewood, Somerset, Ligonier. I imagined these were old mining towns that were once bustling with life and growth. I was sad to see so many empty storefronts with “For Rent” signs in the windows.
I’ve never really liked flying. As I’ve gotten older, my fear and dread of flying the friendly skies has only gotten worse. I’m not sure why that is- maybe it’s because my children have already suffered the loss of a sibling and I just don’t want them to have to suffer another loss. Since my book Josie’s Story was released a few months ago, my time spent on airplanes has increased dramatically. I’ve been to twenty-five cities in the past seven months. Any chance I can hop on a train (which is not too often) I take it.
Last week I had a book signing at the local Ivy Bookshop in my hometown of Baltimore. The Ivy- wedged between a Blockbuster and a men’s clothing store just a mile from my house- has been a part of my book journey from the very beginning.
My book Josie’s Story has been in stores for a number of weeks, however today- September 8th- is the official publication date. It is now in stores nationwide- 20,000 hardback copies in Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Amazon.com and book stores in little towns and big cities all across America and Canada.