When Hashim Zaidi, MD renewed his driver’s license, one question in the mundane, routine process prompted him to engage in an important internal dialogue about death, as it does to millions of other Americans each year. When the time comes, should I be an organ donor or not?
This is a good start, but why not extend that conversation to advanced directives, Zaidi thought, and embed the data in a barcode on the license easily accessible to healthcare providers?
Zaidi is one of threeGeneia Joy of Medicine Challenge finalists participating in a live pitch-off event June 8 at MATTER, Chicago’s newly launched healthcare technology incubator for next-generation health IT, medical device, diagnostics, and biopharma companies. Spurred by the alarming results of the Physician Misery Index, Medstro, a social network for physicians, and Geneia, a company of experienced healthcare change agents creating analytic and technology solutions to improve healthcare, created the online competition to encourage U.S.-licensed physicians and medical students to brainstorm ideas for relieving the regulatory and business-related burdens negatively impacting meaningful interaction between physicians and their patients.
“I believe that end of life care is one particular area with the highest potential for even small interventions to make a big difference in patient satisfaction, quality of care and, ultimately, physician satisfaction,” Zaidi says.
His proposal, “Dealing with Death: A Mechanism to Reduce Costs and Improve Care,” outlines the possibility of driver’s license renewals to initiate this important, often overlooked discussion. Ultimately, by prompting it with a routine, ubiquitous process, instilling such a practice would normalize what is for many an uncomfortable subject, Zaidi claims, and do so not only within families but also between patients and their primary care physicians.
“I have seen providers that shy away from the issue, choose to delay the discussion, or avoid it entirely,” Zaidi says. “Several times I saw that those discussions needed to happen earlier for the benefit of the patient and their loved ones.”
Additionally, making end of life care decisions preemptively has the potential to not only reduce unnecessary costs and improve the quality of care, but also to ensure the fulfillment of a patient’s final wishes, something Zaidi, who has worked for the last 8 years with several 911 EMS providers in the Houston area, knows well.
“I have seen the benefits of having such discussions with providers early as well as the pitfalls of having your wishes not known either to loved ones, in written form, or communicated to healthcare providers,” he says. “Respecting these wishes is a major factor in not only physician satisfaction towards patients but also as our own personal wishes on how we want those we care about treated.”
The Geneia Joy of Medicine live pitch-off event takes place June 8th at MATTER, Chicago’s newly launched healthcare technology incubator for next-generation health IT, medical device, diagnostics, and biopharma companies. Tickets to the event are free but almost gone. You can reserve your tickets online at Eventbrite. Click here to find out more about the finalists.
Paula is a freelance science writer and strategic communications associate at Health Leads. Formerly a managing editor at MedTech Boston, she has a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University and has worked with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, Boston Globe, Social Documentary Network, BU Today and several nonprofit organizations. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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