The Salad Bar That Turned Around a Fortune 500 Company – The Health Care Blog

A “Freakonomics” style look at how economic incentives can drive healthy behavior. Next step is to conduct some outcomes analyses. That should get the attention of top management!

The Salad Bar That Turned Around a Fortune 500 Company

By VIK KHANNA

“The Effect of Price Reduction on Salad Bar Purchases at a Corporate Cafeteria.” An excellent peek at the kind of steps that employers ought to take to improve eating habits in their work forces: subsidize the purchase of healthy foods. In this CDC study, reducing the price of salads drove up consumption by 300%.  If this was a stock, we would all rush out to buy it.

Influencing behavior through both choice architecture and pricing differentials challenges many employers, however. There is a fear factor in play (“some of my people will be unhappy”), as well as financial issues, because the corporate managers responsible for food services often have their compensation linked to the division’s profitability.  You make a lot more money selling soda than you do selling romaine.  The same perverse financial conundrum appears when corporate food service companies run cafeterias.  The on-site chef and managers typically operate on a tightly managed budget that leaves them little flexibility to seek out and provide healthier options.

A chef employed by one of the largest corporate food service providers in the country told me last year that he could not substitute higher protein Greek yogurt for the sugar-soaked, low-protein yogurt in his breakfast bar. When I asked why, he told me that Greek yogurt was not on his ordering guide, and he was not allowed to buy it from a local club warehouse and bring it in.  In this same company, beverage coolers were stuffed to overflowing with sugar-sweetened drinks, all of which were front and center (and cheap), while waters and low-fat milk were shunted to the side coolers.  In another scenario, health system leaders I met with last year all raised their hands when I asked if they had wellness programs and kept them up when I asked if they also sold sugar-sweetened beverages in their cafeterias at highly profitable prices.  The irony was completely lost on them.  They had to be walked through the inconsistency of telling their employees to take (worthless) HRAs and biometrics, but then facilitating access to $0.69 22 oz fountain sodas.

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Decontaminating patients cuts hospital infections – Yahoo! News

This is a Big Deal. HAI (hospital-acquired infections) cost the healthcare system billions of dollars and kill thousands.

Decontaminating patients cuts hospital infections – Yahoo! News.

About a decade ago, hospital-linked invasive MRSA infections sickened more than 90,000 people nationwide each year, leading to roughly 20,000 deaths.

One concern is whether the antibiotic ointment administered nasally breeds even nastier antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The Extinction of the Primary Care Clinic Nurse – The Health Care Blog

An interesting glimpse into the front lines of healthcare at the primary care clinic. I know that primary care physicians are the lowest paid and most overworked of all doctors. Looks like they are squeezing further down the line just to stay financially viable in these times of meager reimbursements and high operating costs. Will Obamacare make a difference? Check back in a few years…

The Extinction of the Primary Care Clinic Nurse

By JAAN SIDOROV, MD

The Passenger Pigeon. The Dodo bird.  The primary care clinic nurse.  All are extinct, driven out existence by a changing habitat, competition and over-hunting. Ask the average person when they’ve last seen these species and you’re likely to get the same baffled look that your columnist’s spouse gives when she’s asked about her compliant husband who does what he’s told.

Yet, this columnist wasn’t aware of the primary care nurses’ total absence until a recent conversation with a nurse-colleague who has been helping smaller physician-owned outpatient offices develop local care management programs.  “There are no ‘nurses’” she said. “They’ve all been replaced by office assistants and the docs are trying to get them to do the patient education.”

Which makes sense. While articles like this have been lauding health care “teams” made up of physicians and non-physician professionals for years, the fact is that poor reimbursement, the allure of other specialties and lifestyle has long-hollowed out these clinics, often leaving a skeleton crew of part-time medical assistants shuttling patients in and out of the patient rooms.  True, some of the larger health systems with a stake in primary care have kept nurses in the mix, your columnist thinks that’s merely part of a market-preserving loss-leader strategy.

This columnist looked for medical literature on the topic.  He can’t find any surveys or other descriptions on how nurses have largely disappeared from the primary care landscape.  If he’s wrong, he wants to hear from his readers.

If true, what are the implications?

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Now Even Sutures Are Becoming Electronic

I worked for a company that manufactured and marketed sutures in the ’90s. Most of the technology action then was in developing different chemicals and coatings to provide a variety of physical options to the surgeon: permanent, slow absorption, quick absorption, easy to tie, etc.

Not in our wildest dreams did we think of a product like this!

Now Even Sutures Are Becoming Electronic

by EDITORS on Aug 24, 2012 • 11:31 am

John Rogers, professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and cofounder of MC10, the company commercializing his flexible electronic technology (see flashbacks below), is truly helping to take surgery into the future.   The latest out of his lab are electronic sutures with built-in temperature sensors and an integrated heating mechanism.

In a recent study published in journal Small, Rogers and team successfully used the novel sutures on laboratory animals, demonstrating that the electronic components functioned well after all the stress and strain that common sutures are put through.

Technology Review‘s summary of the technology in the new sutures:

The researchers first use chemicals to slice off an ultrathin film of silicon from a silicon wafer. With a rubber stamp, they lift off and transfer the nanomembranes to polymer or silk strips. Then they deposit metal electrodes and wires on top and encapsulate the entire device in an epoxy coating.

They have built two types of temperature sensors on the sutures. One is a silicon diode that shifts its current output with temperature; the other, a platinum nanomembrane resistor, changes its resistance with temperature. The micro-heaters, meanwhile, are simply gold filaments that heat up when current passes through them.

via Now Even Sutures Are Becoming Electronic.

What’s with the double::colon?

I was looking for a new name for my consulting practice. All of the branding gurus say (and I agree) that if you are a sole proprietor you should use your name as part of your company brand so people recognize you.

I also want to use the word “strategic” because I add strategic value when I provide consulting services. Linking the two words together made sense.

I did some searching and discovered that the double colon is a mathematical/logical/programming symbol sort of meaning, “is a part of”, or “relates to.” So “sanko” relates to and is a part of “strategic.”

Anyway, it’s different and a conversation-starter. And I like it.