April 11, 2016

 In The Messenger

The Right Care Alliance is growing fast!

April 11, 2016

For those of you just joining us, here’s a bit of background on this intrepid and dedicated group working together to fix our broken health care system. The Right Care Alliance currently operates within two tracks: (1) Local organizing, which includes Right Care Boston, and soon will include Right Care Chicago and we hope Right Care Maine, and (2) national Councils, which include the following 14 groups: Advanced Illness, Behavioral Health, Cardiology, Community Engagement, Emergency Medicine, Health Care Education, Nursing, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Primary Care, Surgery and Perioperative Care, Radiology, and Women’s Health.

The Boston group, numbering just 40 in November, has now more than doubled to 107 members! The Councils are also growing quickly; more than 50 Council members have joined since the first of the year, increasing the number of Council members to nearly 200! And those are just the formal members of the Right Care Alliance—our network as a whole has grown to over 4,000 people.

As we’ve written about before, Right Care Boston is hosting clinician house parties and community sessions called “listening tours” to uncover the issues that are most relevant to local communities and determine an agenda for our movement to improve health care locally.

Listen and learn

With the reduction in work hours mandated by accreditation bodies more than a decade ago, residents are no longer working 120-hour weeks, but for at least some, working only 80 hours a week has not brought much relief from feeling overwhelmed. At a gathering organized late last month by Dr. Anu Kaul, who is in his last year of residency in internal medicine at Lahey Medical Center, in Burlington, MA, young residents reported they were already worrying about burn out.

The gathering of 15 residents, along with five senior faculty and administrators, was the first of several “house parties” planned for the next few weeks by the Right Care Boston group. Also last month, Kate Cedarbaum, a nurse practitioner at McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, convened a group of nurses, each of whom had a different story to tell about the many ways they and their patients are not served well by the health care system. All those who attended Kate’s event are interested in joining the Right Care Boston work. Dr. David Bor, chief academic officer of the Cambridge Health Alliance, will be holding a house party at his home in the next few weeks.

Coming up, Drs. Aaron Stupple, Pedja Stojicic, and Francisco Irby and Marlene Beggelman have organized three listening tours, events where the public is invited to attend and share their experiences in health care. Aaron is partnering with a public housing senior center in Jamaica Plain and will run a couple of tours with residents during a regular coffee hour at the center. Pedja’s event will be held in a coffee shop in Dorchester, and Francisco and Marlene are holding theirs at a location TBD.

House party tips

The Lown Institute’s organizer, Stephanie Aines, has a few tips for house parties. The organizer should tell a short (less than 3-minute) story about his or her background and how that led him or her to the conviction that fixing healthcare will require a movement. “Start with your story,” says Stephanie. “Not what your credentials are, but who you are and why you care enough to invite people to come together. Ask everyone to do the same.” Stephanie suggests that house parties be at a house, if possible. If not, she says, “Find a separate, relaxed gathering place like a coffee shop, rather than holding it at work.”

The work of the Councils

The Councils are working to define right care, and delineate a Right Care Top 10 List within each of their specialties. These lists are an update and expansion on “Choosing Wisely” (which has garnered criticism for targeting only thelow-hanging fruit). Each Council’s Right Care Top Ten List will feature the top 5 dos and don’ts of practicing right care—care that is safe, effective, affordable, personal, and just.

The Councils have also begun working on plans for Right Care Action Week, which this year will focus on the theme of listening. More on Right Care Action Week in next month’s issue of The Messenger.

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