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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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A look into Boston hospital’s social-media rules

John D. Halamka, M.D.,  dean of technology at Harvard Medical School and associated with Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discussed the hospital’s social-media policies in MedCity News.


To read the the article, please hit this link.

When the urge to merge fails


This look at why three merger attempts by Burlington, Mass.-based Lahey Health and Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess have failed has useful lessons about most big proposed health-system mergers —  not just regarding Massachusetts healthcare and the power of market share there.

Perhaps Paul Levy, former president and chief executive of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,  perhaps best summed up the problem in such attempted deals.

“Although I have no specific knowledge in this case, merger negotiations generally fall through because of a disagreement over power — between the two CEOs, the two boards or the senior clinical and administrative leaders.”



2 big Mass. systems again stop merger talks


–Photo by TIM PIERCE

For the third time in the past four years,  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health have stopped merger talks, The Boston Globe reported. Their merger would create a formidable competitor  to PartnersHealthcare in eastern Massachusetts.

The differences between negotiators for Lahey and Beth Israel Deaconess apparently revolved around how to share the leadership of a combined system and how to put physician groups from the two systems into the same system. (This suggests that turf and ego issues were large.)

We at Cambridge Management Group wouldn’t be at all surprised if they resumed merger talks soon under the relentless pressure to compete with Partners.



Beth Israel Deaconess and Lahey mull merger



Lahey Health’s main building.

The Boston Globe reports that Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (a Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital) and Burlington,Mass.-based Lahey Health are negotiating a possible merger to create a large health system to compete with behemoth Partners HealthCare (which includes Harvard teaching hospitals).

As The Globe notes “if the merger can be completed, it would reshape the state’s health care industry, creating a system of eight hospitals across Eastern Massachusetts that would rival the {not-for-profit} Partners network of 10 and {for-profit} Steward Health Care System’s nine.”


Partners invading urgent-care-clinic business



Prestigious Partners HealthCare,  whose flagship is the Massachusetts General Hospital, will  open as many as a dozen urgent-care clinics over the next three years, in Massachusetts, in a move that helps highlight the more general moves in U.S, healthcare from inpatient to outpatient services and from the use of very expensive physicians to cheaper nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

It also poses a threat to nearby, Rhode Island-based CVS, whose drugstores are rapidly adding urgent-care centers. The prestige of Partners’  famous hospitals may take some business away from CVS’s urgent-care centers, which it calls MinuteClinics. It may also lighten the load a bit in some area hospitals’ emergency rooms.

Partners is late to urgent care in Massachusetts. Steward Health Care System, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and others are already in the business, either directly or with partners, The Boston Globe reports.

But, The Globe reports, “Partners has advantages in its size and reputation. It is the parent of 10 hospitals, including Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s, and has 6,000 doctors, the largest network in the state. It also is planning more urgent care locations than most of its competitors.”

“This is more than a pilot for us,” said Dr. Gregg S. Meyer, chief clinical officer of Partners, told The Globe.  “These are meant to be extensions of availability and convenience for patients. We know we are not always as available as possible for our patients.”







Redefining hospital care to block emotional harm


Read about how a former patient at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, has worked with hospital staff to redefine care to try to prevent the sort of harm she suffered.

The Boston Globe article said the reforms are “based on one simple premise — that emotional harm is just as serious as the physical harm sometimes born in hospitals, and that hospitals have a duty to safeguard against both.

“It really gets to the core of, who do we want to be? What kind of care do we want to provide?” said Dr. Lauge Sokol-Hessner, the hospital’s associate director of inpatient quality, told The Globe “The words dignity and respect cut very deeply.”



Why I gave the public my health records

John Halamka, M.D., chief information officer of Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,  voluntarily gave up his privacy by having his entire medical record and genome made publicly available as part of the Personal Genome Project. Some close relatives joined him in making all their health records available.

Here’s why he did it.


Pilot program to let patients add to doctors’ notes




Medical Economics reports that five primary-care facilities will try a program that lets patients view and add to their physicians’ visit notes in electronic health records.

A $450,000 grant from the Commonwealth Fund is helping to develop  the OurNotes platform — which extends the OpenNotes program giving patients greater access to their EHR’s.

The places involved in the new program are Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), in Boston, Geisinger Health System, in Danville, Pa., Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Group Health Cooperative, in Seattle, and Mosaic Life Care, in St. Joseph, Mo.

“This is really building for the future. We envision the potential capability of OurNotes to range from allowing patients to, for example, add a list of topics or questions they’d like to cover during an upcoming visit, creating efficiency in that visit, to inviting patient to review and sign off on notes after a visit as way to ensure that patients and clinicians are on the same page,” the  principal investigator, Jan Walker, RN, MBA, of the division of general medicine and primary care at BIDMC and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told Medical Economics.

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