Even a small delay in getting medical information to where it needs to be can cost the life of a patient or lead to high medical costs and even medical debt. Myra Davis, the Vice President of Information Services at Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) found it was very difficult to create a highly effective communications system. Since TCH understood the importance of effective communications, it turned to the popular Apple iPhone.
One at every shift change
There is a station with a fully charged Apple iPhone at every nurse’s station. Nurses pick one up at every shift change. They’re required to update their work status as to whether they are busy or available. If they need to see a doctor regarding a patient’s condition, all they have to do is send a text. The Apple iPhones even have built-in alarm management systems that instantly prioritize and provide critical care alerts.
Not flooded with alerts
Davis has developed rules so that nurses are not flooded with alerts as this can desensitize them and result in reduced effectiveness. The orders have to be aligned with the seriousness of the situation and the type of healthcare required. In other words, nurses only receive alerts that apply to them and that are in line with the severity of the patient’s condition. Davis hopes that this new program will lead to faster and more effective communication to help patients get better healthcare.
Why debt is like healthcare
In healthcare, poor communications can cause a patient to become worse or even die. Healthcare insurance is like that in that if you don’t recognize the limits of Texas medical health insurance, you could end up in major medical debt.
In the state of Texas, medical insurance plans include an elaborate combination of co-insurance, co-obligations, deductibles and sometimes multiple exclusions and limits. If you do not understand your coverage, your Texas medical health insurance plan could leave you with a big amount of unforeseen debt.
As you probably know, an insurance deductible is the amount of money that you will have to pay before your healthcare insurance policy kicks in. This is generally an annual amount that you need to spend for healthcare in any given year before you start having coverage. This year, if you live in a state that did not get a waiver permitting it to delay having to meet federal health care reform standards, you could purchase preventive healthcare. This means you can get free protection before your deductible kicks in so long as you use a provider within the health plan’s network.
Of course, once you need services beyond basic maintenance you will still have to satisfy your plan’s deductible before you have coverage. This can mean real trouble if you do not understand how the deductible is applied. One family thought its plan had a $5000 deductible. However, it wound up having to have four incidences before they satisfied their plan’s deductible as it was based on per person and not per year.
More standardized coverage
It is expected that in 2014, when the Texas Medical Health Insurance Exchange takes effect, health care insurance plans will become more standardized so it will be easier to evaluate policies. You will still have to pay for exclusions and there will be limits on your benefits. However, before 2014, it would be smart to get a second opinion on any health insurance policy even if it seems good at first glance. Independent medical health insurance brokers can be more helpful in this area than company agents because they can compare guidelines from different Texas health insurance providers. It’s a good idea to search online to find one or more of these independent brokers to help you evaluate your coverage options, their costs, deductibles, co-pays and so on.