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A Call For Action To The Texas Legislature

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” Regarding the reduction of our uninsured and underinsured population, it’s time for Texas to strive for success. The latest Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index showed the uninsured rate in 2017 rose by significant margins in 17 states, with Texas having the highest rate for the 10th straight year at 22.1 percent. The increases signal a frustrating reversal in the trend previously fostered by health insurance markets. Admittedly, the uninsured rate is still below the high-water mark of 27 percent in 2013, but the numbers… Full Story

How Facility Design Is Keeping Pace With DFW’s Shifting Healthcare Landscape

Today’s healthcare providers must contend with the nuances of health reform while managing age-old concerns of patient care. Several DFW healthcare projects demonstrate how facility design can help healthcare organizations strike the balance of delivering care both efficiently and well. New reimbursement and delivery models, such as accountable care organizations, health insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion, the patient-centered medical home, and integrated delivery are all part of the latest healthcare paradigm. Empathetic facility designs address these issues along with patient and staff safety, the cost of care, facility adaptability, and speed to market. The acute care hospital and multispecialty clinic being… Full Story

Don’t Let Fear Of Concussions Keep Kids Out Of Sports

Headline-grabbing media coverage about the serious effects of concussions on professional football players has made some parents hesitant to let their kids play football or other sports. Nationwide, the number of teenagers playing high school football has declined about 5 percent since 2008, according to a study published this year in JAMA Pediatrics. And even in Texas, home to Friday Night Lights, we have seen a falloff in participation. As both a researcher who studies brain injuries and as a parent, I believe these fears have become somewhat overblown. While every head injury must be taken seriously, most concussions result… Full Story

Bracing for Impact: Resilient Hospital Design

During a crisis, hospitals are a place of refuge. When confronted with an extreme event, whether anticipated or unexpected, hospital administrators are challenged to maintain seamless operation of facilities and staff while serving as a “command center” for the community. An increased frequency of extreme events, coupled with rising public awareness, has created a new demand for resilient strategies in the healthcare environment. Before considering resilient design strategies, we must first consider the two types of potential impact: acute shocks and chronic stressors. Acute shocks are quick impacts from extreme social, environmental, and economic events spanning everything from civil unrest… Full Story

A Disturbing Rise Of Uninsured Rates In Texas

Many improvements in the healthcare uninsured rates of U.S. citizens are beginning to erode, according to a Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey released this summer. Recent actions by Congress, the administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have further reduced healthcare coverage. We have stated these unacceptable numbers before, but they should be stated again. Approximately 4.5 million people in Texas have no health insurance, including 700,000 children, with our state continuing to lead the nation in both percentages and numbers. Our state is indeed “No. 1” in many surveys, but this ranking is unfortunate for all… Full Story

Three Ways Design Can Help Healthcare Organizations Embrace Consumerism

As consumerism takes an even stronger hold of the healthcare industry, it’s important to fully understand its causes and effects, and leverage design to forge deep bonds with patient populations. Often, when discussions about healthcare consumerism unfold, they focus on retailers entering the healthcare market: a Walmart and Humana merger will lead to more in-store clinics, a CVS and Aetna deal will strengthen CVS’s MinuteClinic model, and of course there’s Amazon, which recently acquired online pharmacy PillPack and named Dr. Atul Gawande CEO of its newly formed healthcare company. But these deals do not define healthcare consumerism. They’re a result… Full Story

In Texas, Reducing Maternal Mortality Will Take An Aggressive Shift In Approach

In December 2014, the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care announced funding for a program called the “Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM).” Three and a half years later, there are 22 states currently participating, and on May 31, Texas announced enrollment of 166 hospitals in Texas AIM, including many in North Texas that are part of the region’s largest health systems. AIM is a public, private, and professional collaboration focused on reducing obstetric hemorrhage, severe hypertension, venous thromboembolism, primary cesarean births, and the racial disparities present in statistics surrounding maternal morbidity and mortality. The organization’s goal… Full Story

Coming to Grips With the Healthcare Cost Crisis

By Christopher Crow and Tom Banning It’s common knowledge that North Texas has a healthcare cost problem. We’ve become one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country. In the last decade, health insurance premiums in our community have more than doubled, putting a tremendous financial strain on families, employers, and government alike. There is a lot of blame to go around as to who is responsible for our healthcare cost crisis, but one enterprise ripe for scrutiny is the rampant growth of Wall Street-backed, investor-owned, out-of-network, freestanding emergency rooms. Nearly half of all freestanding ERs in the U.S.… Full Story

How Data Impacts Healthcare Architecture and Beyond

Check the wrists of those around you, and you’ll find biosensor tracking devices gathering data on sleep patterns and step counts. Patient-generated health data (PGHD) via wearables is off the charts. Additionally, tech accessories continue to be designed to integrate with iOS and other major operating systems to expand the biotracking capabilities of our wearables, including glucose meters, hearing aids, blood pressure monitors, heart rate monitors, EKGs and health thermometers. Another area that data is quickly infiltrating, one that many don’t take into account: Healthcare architecture. It’s Not the Data, It’s What You Do with It Healthcare, indeed, has the… Full Story

Establishing New Mental Health Guidelines for Dallas Employers

Mental illness is a growing crisis in America, affecting one in five adults in a given year, 60 percent of whom don’t seek help. Unfortunately, an unwillingness to seek help is due in part to the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and the limited availability of mental health caregivers and treatment centers. May is “Mental Health Awareness Month,” designated to call attention to the nation’s mental health crisis. For employers it makes good business sense to pay attention, given the high direct and indirect costs of unrecognized, untreated, and inappropriately treated mental and behavioral health conditions. Beyond the… Full Story