David Herren

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David's Blog:

Tuesday 10/16/07

Today was project selection day and I was very happy to be on the Infection Control Team. I very much look forward to doing more in-depth research on why caregivers do not wash their hands. It is very relevant to me because, the odds are that I will not wash my hands when I am in practice even though I know how important it is. It is a very disturbing to know that the people who are responsible for our care are the very ones who transmit infections. I hope we can contribute to solving this problem in a real-world way.

Thursday 10/11/07

Project Summary presentations were tonight. It was very interesting to see how each team pointed out problems and attempted to solve them. The biggest issue with listening to the presentations was wondering how the technological solutions will be created. It does make me very excited to know that we will have somewhat of a budget to spend on our projects. This is a completely foreign concept to me. Never have I had the opportunity to go into a real problem and spend money (other than my own) to solve it.

Tuesday 10/9/07

No Class. Fall Break.

Thursday 10/5/07

I had a huge test today during the period right before class so my brain was a little fried. The exam also made me late to class. I found out that I got into the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia this week so everything has a little more meaning. I love knowing that I am learning about problems that I will be right in the middle of one day. A lot of good can be done by a physician on the inside of these problems and that is exactly what I aim to do.

Tuesday 10/2/07

I found out that I got into medical school yesterday which was very exciting. It is a goal that I have had for a very long time and to see my work pay off was very rewarding. Knowing this puts class topics into a new perspective. Things like patient satisfaction, nosocomial infections, and evidence based medicine all have a little bit of a new meaning because I will be working with patients one day.

Thursday 9/20/07

Tonight was the presentations of our project ideas for the semester. It was very cool to see what some groups came up with. I was very excited about my own solution of the "Color Me Blue" hand sanitizer that changes colors when used. This would only stay for about 30 seconds and then fade clear. The idea came from a line of children's sunblock that changes colors when they put it on. It not only allows the kids to see where they missed spots but it makes them excited about doing something to take care of themselves. I hope that doctors and patients alike will be excited about my idea.

Tuesday 9/11/07

Professor Do's presentation was yet another eye opener. I have never considered allowing kids to do "unhospital" type things as a means of helping them get better. The technology about playing games with people via telecommunications was really cool. Most of my group met after class and we've arranged to meet Thursday before class. One thing that I've really noticed in our discussions is that most people in the class blame the physicians for the "poor" level of care in the U.S. healthsystem. I respect, but do not agree with this viewpoint because I believe that the doctors are not the problems. There is a severe shortage of physicians in the U.S. and we rarely touch on this. Imagine if we all had jobs and that all of the sudden our workload doubled or tripled. No matter how hard we work, we can't keep up with the demands of our job and others begin to complain. Is it our fault that we aren't perfect at dealing with the high levels of demand? Could there possibly be some reason that we can't handle such volume? I'm not saying doctors are utopian citizens but they commit their lives to helping others and all I hear is complaining about it. So the next time we're talking about how the doctors are the problem, lets think about what all doctors are expected to do in a day's work and consider whether there might be other factors that need to be changed.

Thursday 9/6/07 - Class

Another good day in class. Learning the way that architects approach hospitals is a great way to take a step back and look at how a hospital "moves." Recent innovations in floor layouts have made providing care to patients a much easier and more efficient process. It was great to hear from the professionals.

Tuesday 9/4/07 - Class

Class was very enjoyable today. I really like getting to see all of the different ideas that are being worked on in the Healthcare industry. The fact that we're going out and working on ways other than medicine to help people get better is the definition of thinking outside of the box. Its awesome that we have nurses to serve as advisors to our groups. I am looking forward to getting the project going.

Thursday 8/30/07 - Site Visit

The visit to Hughes Spalding was an awesome way to see exactly what challenges face pediatric hospitals. The old building (build in 1952) had obviously been “updated” with colorful additions but they didn’t really do the trick. The cold, hard tile floors and marble walls gave the facility a dark unwelcoming feel. The efforts to add color to the ceiling by drawing pictures on the ceiling tiles was a good idea and did help out the look of the hallways. All in all, the building did not look as old as I had anticipated but it also didn’t feel at all like a children’s hospital.

There were several other characteristics that I noticed about Hughes Spalding that were positives. I especially liked how there were hand sanitizer dispensers located at eye levels near each elevator. This may not be the most aesthetically pleasing way to make the place more sanitary but it can’t hurt. Also, the Pyxis Supply Station is a great way to monitor drug administrations and keep an accurate tab on patient billing.

From a systems standpoint, the fact the corridors are used by the entire hospital is a big disadvantage. The increased traffic is only made worse by the hallways being narrow. Similarly, there are several nurse stations that had computer monitors facing the hallway (probably due to space constraints) which is not exactly HIPAA compliant. This is supposed to be taken care of in the new facility. Other things that would help out the new facility would be to keep from putting televisions in waiting rooms. Hospitals are already noisy places and adding more sources only hurts a patient’s ability to get well. Also, being that this is a children’s hospital, there were several counter tops with square, pointy edges. These are often at head height for children and need to be smooth and round in the new facility.

Several interesting things that I discovered through conversations were that, first, Les informed us that the facility will remain 100% operational during the entire construction phase. This is amazing and is coming, in large part, at the cost of the already limited parking spaces. Another problem that Bill Auten discussed was that there are no MRI, CT scan machines in the hospital and patients who need these tests have to go through a very long tunnel to Grady. Another change that will be present in the new facility is that they will not be able to put the hand sanitizer dispensers on the elevator walls and will have to find a new location for these.

As a whole, the visit was awesome and did a great job at pointing out problems facing children’s hospitals.

Class 8/28/07 - I was very interested by the information presented by Prof. Zimring tonight. In particular, the bit about the ceiling tile experiments with sound reflecting and sound absorbing tiles was very interesting. I wonder if any similar studies have been done with different types of light (i.e. softer lights vs fluorescent lighting). Another particularly good piece was when we went over how being able to see outside/nature type settings while in the hospital lead to a decrease in time of stay, fewer pain medications used and an overall better perception of the medical staff. This class is hitting on something that is very important to me, patient centered care. I am very displeased with the current state of medicine and only hope to be part of the change toward the things we talk about in class.

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My name is David Herren. I am originally from Rome, Georgia and earned a BS from Georgia Tech in Biology. I have four sisters (two older, two younger) and all of us are no longer at home with my two younger sisters (twins) starting to college this year. I enjoy running, reading, fishing, and other quiet, boring activities.  :) I am engaged to Jessie Fox and can't wait for the next phase of life to start. I am a student in the Health Systems program and am very thankful for David Cowan and his help with my academic career.

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