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Being an Innovator Can Make You a Valuable Asset to a Healthcare Organization

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We began talking about innovation in our last blog post and how being an innovator can make you a more attractive job candidate, especially if your innovations add value to an organization’s service lines and improve customer service.

Brian Bizub, chief executive officer of Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute (PBOI) in Palm Beach Garden, Fla., noticed the lack of consistency throughout PBOI in administering braces to patients following surgery when he arrived over seven years ago at the organization. He and one of his colleagues began to develop standardized protocols for integrating bracing into the surgical process, first by consulting each of PBOI’s 16 physicians, logging their ICD-9 codes for surgical procedures, and finding out which ones used braces and which ones didn’t, given the different schools of thought on DMEs. Bizub then created standardized order sets from their research.

To carry out these protocols, Bizub told me that he incorporated a DME coordinator into the surgical process. Each coordinator looks at the surgery schedule and selects the appropriate brace based on the surgeon’s protocols for individual patients.

Rather than meeting with the patient days before the surgery to explain the brace, the DME coordinator now meets with the patient and the caregiver on the day of surgery as part of the pre-operative process. The coordinator educates the caregiver on how to use the brace and explains to the patient why it is critical to their recovery.

“Usually the patient post-surgery isn’t going to be the person who is going to be dealing with the DME device,” Bizub said. “It’s going to be the caregiver. And you don’t necessarily get that person pre-operatively in the office.”

The brace is then handed over to the recovery unit, where the surgeon can then position it on the patient immediately following surgery. Bizub said it adds value if the patient wakes up with the bracing already on and mobilized. It also increases compliance, a fact that caused hospitals, initially puzzled by the presence of DMEs in the recovery unit, to embrace the protocols.

Since the physicians have implemented these protocols, PBOI has gone from having high DME return rates to virtually no returns at all. Patients have a better understanding of why the brace is important to their treatment and outcome, Bizub said.

“It was difficult to engage the physicians, but they quickly figured out that most patients want to stay in bed, but when you provide them with the security of the brace, they’re more likely to get up. Our goal is decrease pain meds, increase motion, and improve outcomes. And the way that you can do that is by giving the patient a sense of security, because if not, they’re going to sit and watch TV and out of boredom eat, which will have the reverse effect.”

Bizub is an example of the kind of innovative spirit that makes you, the physician who is always looking for a better, more efficient way to deliver care, a valuable asset to a future employer.

As physicians who are looking for jobs, have you helped your current or past organization improve protocols and processes by presenting innovative ideas to the leadership? What were the outcomes? How would you bring up these accomplishments in a job interview?

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