Why Hospitals Should Integrate a Medical Information Approach

Today’s topics:

– Why hospitals should adopt a Medical Information approach
– Why biotech start-ups fail
– Making clinical trials more accessible for people with disabilities
– Age is just a number

Why Hospitals Should Adopt a Medical Information Approach

In the past weeks I have been a frequent visitor to the local hospital’s ICU. The level of medical care is incredible, as is the access to interventions, day or night, and the skill level of the teams I have encountered. Witnessing what skilled HCPs practicing modern medical science can achieve is: “it’s all for the patient” in action.

However, due to staff rotations the medical team changes frequently. Consequently, we have rotating physicians to interact with. This means conversations are often repetitive and, as resilience is waning 12 days into an ICU stay, the entire family is noticing the strain. This is not to complain as the nurses and doctors are fantastic. However, the hospital has a lack of qualified staff due to a combination of summer holidays and illness and translating intensive care medicine into lay language takes time and energy, which the doctors on duty don’t always have. Hence, after meetings with the medical team, my family often turns to me with any unanswered questions.

When I was a clinician working on a ward, I had more time than the ICU doctors. I would draw diagrams to explain interventions and disease. I would draw hearts and lungs, kidneys and livers, explain how blood circulates, and what happens when “things go wrong.” I used plumbing analogies frequently, I still do, they are extremely helpful. I have used medical analogies with plumbers too. The analogies work well both ways I have discovered.

Medical Information teams communicate complex information in stakeholder adapted terms. After my experience of the past weeks, I think an analogous role in an ICU could be beneficial. An experienced medical doctor, or nurse who takes on the role as point person for families to engage with and who is able to communicate complex content simply. Having a dedicated liaison could provide continuity of communication, while engaging families and also freeing up highly skilled ICU personnel.

The need for accessible scientific communication with which to engage laypersons is common across disciplines. A recent article in Nature (published 19th July 2022) highlights this for the climate science field. Farmers told climate research expert Jessica Eise that what they need is straightforward tips on how to adapt to a shifting climate. Eise reviewed the literature and found little information to address real-world needs. Addressing the gaps, however, is critical in order to work across disciplines and stakeholder groups. You can read the article here.

Why Biotech Start-Ups Fail

On the 26th of July, I will be speaking and chairing an online seminar hosted by Nanobotmedical on top reasons biotech start-ups fail.

I’ll share insights from CEOs of successful start-ups and include learnings on what investors look for when identifying promising new companies. Topics will include: getting from an idea to a product, financing, clinical trial set-up, regulators, building a team, communicating with stakeholders and timelines.

The challenges are complex, and in today’s economic climate, financing is not as easy to get as it was in the past. Join me, together with Jason Marks, Alexander Lagerman and Andrii Koniukh from Nanobotmedical. You can register here.

Making Clinical Trials more Accessible for People with Disabilities

According to the CDC, around 25% of US adults live with some form of disability. BMS is partnering with the non-profit organisation Disability Solutions, to create a new initiative titled: Disability Diversity in Clinical Trials DDiCT). The program’s initial focus is to identify a set of recommendations to improve access, enrolment speed and trial participation for people with disabilities in clinical trials. The article was published in Endpoints News and you can find the entire article here. I recently posted an article on how Eli Lilly Canada is making web content more accessible for people with disabilities, you can read more on my blog here.

Age is Just a Number

I sometimes encounter the conviction that older individuals are not as flexible, enthusiastic, open to change or willing to learn, as younger individuals. I have never believed this to be true, as I’ve met narrow-minded younger people and creative, open-minded people in their eighties and nineties, for whom age is just a number.

Often in interviews with older employees, who question a project approach, it transpires that their questions are based on experience in a discipline and an organisation and not due to change resistance. More often than not, their questions are critical and relevant.

A young entrepreneur I spoke to recently champions diversity in his team because he believes that a diverse team will give his company the best outcomes. He has employed a 60-year-old as his sparring partner at the top of the organisation. The entrepreneur told me “My sparring partner challenges me every day, it is hard to deal with. However, his challenges really focus my thinking.”

Motivation and interest are more important predictors of behaviour than age, I have found. Case in point, my 81-year-old mother streams films on her IPAD, texts family and friends all over the world, and recently set up an online account to sell items online. Something I have never done. After receiving the item, the buyer wrote my mother an enthusiastic review and commended her on her beautiful wrapping.

In a short story, Camus wrote something along the lines of; “just because someone is wearing clean socks does not mean he has dirty feet.” To paraphrase, “just because the individual questioning your project approach is in his fifties doesn’t mean he is wrong.”

Key take-away: Curiosity is not age dependent!

I hope my blog provides you with some useful insights and, as ever, I look forward to hearing your thoughts. And if you have a challenging project or would like to discuss coaching to help you achieve that next level, please reach out for an informal chat.

Very best wishes

Isabelle C. Widmer

Photo Credit Isabelle C. Widmer elytraconsulting