The voice of the Acclivity Health.

Less than 40 years ago, when you went to the Emergency Room at your local hospital, you had no idea what kind of doctor you’d see. Staff physicians in the hospital took shifts in the ER, so you might have an obstetrician casting your broken wrist or a psychiatrist treating your heart palpitations. Beginning in 1979, Emergency Medicine was recognized by the American Board of Specialties. Over the next decades, EM specialists became thoroughly integrated into the continuum of care, so that today, patients coming into to the ER can expect treatment and a proper diagnosis from the right physician. 

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Eighty percent. That’s how many Americans would like to die at home. But despite the fact that 70 percent of Americans die from chronic illnesses[1], giving them time to anticipate their deaths, over 50 percent still die in hospitals or nursing homes.[2] Of the Medicare patients who died in 2016, only 48% received hospice services at the time of death[3], even though every patient was eligible for six months of hospice care.

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What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative care is a discipline of skilled medical care designed to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for patients and families living with serious, advanced, or life-defining illnesses.  It can be available to patients of any age with serious illnesses of all types, at any stage of illness, providing care in all locations.  It is typically supported by insurance plans.  We believe that despite having a serious – possibly terminal – diagnosis, there is the potential of experiencing meaningful quality of life.  Though maintaining an understanding of the reality of a serious illness, the focus is on clarifying a patient’s values, wishes, hopes, and dreams, and creating the optimal care environment that allows them to move beyond potential pain and suffering and realize opportunities for joy in life.  It’s about living, not dying.

Read more On the difference between Hospice and palliative care

As I walked on an early summer day in South Florida, I listened to Duncan Sheik’s “She Runs Away.” I caught a phrase about “symptoms” and then “the darkness comes, and the darkness goes,” followed by “happiness ain’t never how you think it should be so.”

Jeremy shares some of his top solutions for better care delivery and explains what’s being done to ensure patients die on their own terms.

While we digest the wonderful, often futuristic products and projects HIMSS presents, let us also remember to look at the healthcare world around us right now, and apply ourselves to solving today’s pressing issues.