This. Beautiful. Insightful. And as with all good science reporting, leads to more questions.
Perhaps one of the founders of iconography, simple graphic images to rapidly and clearly communicate ideas. Let us pause, reflect, and uphold his example.
Kevin Kelly: co-author of the defunct but world-changing Whole World Catalog, publisher of Cool Tools, author of What Technology Wants, and generally smart guy, is 68 (or was when he posted this). Brilliant observations. This is me Plus-one-ing his post. Some teasers:
- Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.
- Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.
- Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.
CMIO’s take? Happy new year. Go read it, link above.
In what is an insider’s view of what our cyber warfare unit, and the cyber-criminals out there are working on, a view of the inner workings. I believe this may have been part of that the STUXNET attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities (and centrifuges) reported in 2010 (WIRED.com article).
CMIO’s take? The real world and the cyber-world are colliding in more intricate ways.
A nicely written discussion by Elizabeth Kolbert at the New Yorker. In it she discusses the details of recent findings of the Oumuamua object that blasted through our solar system at 4x the speed of usual asteroids, did not move as expected, and must have been “an interstellar object”. Some are calling it an alien artifact, others are pooh-pooh’ing such a description as “unscientific.”
Farhad Manjoo at the NYTimes also comments. Fermi’s paradox talks about how to calculate the very large number of planets out there and the unknown fraction of those that might support life.
In 1992, NASA spent $12 million on a project to listen for radio signals from other planets; the next year, Congress cut the funding, with one senator joking that “we have yet to bag a single little green fellow.”
In years since, scientific funding in this area has been paltry.
Here is the Fermi Paradox equation about the likelihood of extraterrestrials: https://www.space.com/25325-fermi-paradox.html
Why not consider alien life? Is it so ridiculous? As a scientific community, we pride ourselves on being open-minded, but our history sometimes indicates otherwise.
Is this is the edge of reason? Does our group-think ridicule those on the edge?
CMIO’s take? Perpend.
What is the Covid Bump in our Patient Portal data, and what does it mean?
Patient Portals and Covid
Okay, everybody knows we are all pushing patients to go online (in our case to UCHealth’s My Health Connection -MHC – patient portal) in order to be a candidate for our “vaccine scheduling” randomization. Because we are so constrained in our vaccine supply, we can NOT offer vaccine to everyone who wants it, and as a result, we can only send out several thousand invitations or so per day for patients to schedule themselves online.
The reason we had to randomize the invitation for vaccine: Can you image if we did it the other way, opened up Vaccine scheduling to EVERYONE over age 70 in Colorado (we think there are 400,000 in the state) and then RAN OUT with people still in line? We do NOT want to replicate other state’s experiences of patients standing in line overnight hoping for a vaccine. Yikes.
Keep in mind, we have now set up “popup” clinics for patients in disadvantaged neighborhoods, churches, etc, as well as a phone number: UCHealth COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline: 720.462.2255; and website for additional folks to sign up: http://www.uchealth.org/covidvaccine .
Having said this, we have seen a TREMENDOUS growth in our patient portal numbers, from 800,000 several months ago, to 1,200,000 now, about a 30% growth in that amount of time. Yes, we realize some of these are patients who never felt the need to sign up for a portal account, and some are community members who are NOT UCHealth patients, signing up JUST FOR access to vaccine.
Anomalous age peak > 65?
Having said all this, look at the chart above. Unlike our previous age distribution of Active MHC accounts that peaked around age 30, we now have this anomalous peak above age 65! Twenty-four percent of our active population.
In hindsight, I am sad that our Slicer tool only sees “Activated patient portal accounts” as of right now, and that I no longer have access to snapshots in time from last year, to show you. To do that would require skills beyond this Data Dilettante, sorry.
So, what if you subdivide >65 into 65-75 and then >75? Lets see!
From my vague recollection, both >65 and >75 age groups with Portal accounts have nearly doubled in percentage.
Can we see the Vaccine Clinics in our Visit data?
Let’s see. Here is a graph (again with CURRENTLY ACTIVE patient portal accounts), by week, from September through end of January, of patients WITH MHC accounts, who are age > 70 (the previous criteria for phase 1b vaccination, and yes I know Colorado has lowered Covid vaccine candidacy to age 65+ this week).
Aha! Since we started vaccinating in December, we focused, as per state and federal guidelines, on healthcare workers and first responders. Thus, we should NOT see any bump in the patient visits for those with a portal account AND age over 70.
However, I can convince myself I see a bump at the end of December where we were telling patients to sign up for MHC to enter the lottery for next phase of vaccination, and then BOOM, a significant growth in visits with patients with MHC and over age 70 in January, scaling up and up. I think this is our in-hospital vaccine clinics, vaccinating about 5000 per day and our 2 weekend Coors Field Mass Vaccine events, the most recent vaccinating 10,000 over the weekend. Do you see me waving from those last 2 data points? Hi!
CMIO’s take? This is more than just an aging boomer population; this is Covid at work in interesting ways. I will be fascinated to see where Colorado, our online populations, and our healthcare will go in the coming months and years. What are you guys learning out there?
Billie, Alex, and some crazy doctor, newly recruited Pit Crew. Biggest innovation? Billie’s smiling face on her button! Why haven’t we all done this!?
Our team is at it again!
The Rockies and Coors Field welcomed the UCHealth crew, this time for a 2-day, 10,000 vaccine event Jan 30 and 31. It was a smashing success, and tremendous fun, to boot.
Our fearless leader, Ali Hererra, giving last-minute tips to an eager 630am crew.
The new kid on the block
The new kid on the block: a neck-lanyard, battery-pack augmented iPhone with the EHR mobile app installed for on-the-fly vaccine documentation from QR bar-codes.
Our vaccine clients show tremendous gratitude; we love the spontaneous cheering and applause that break out at times while the cars are moving through. One even handed us an unexpected gratitude card today!
What’s the count?
Here’s my tally for one day of vaccination: 150 for each day, 300 for the weekend. Unanticipated outcome? Donning and doffing gloves 150 times in quick succession causes some hand irritation and a need for heavy doses of vaseline petroleum jelly at the end of the day.
I proudly showed my clinical informatics colleague my collection of vaccine caps in my pocket (see how clever I was to keep track of my productivity?), and she promptly told me: Well, it is easier just to run a report (Thanks, Kristin). Um-hm. And I call myself a CMIO.
Efficiency tip? Here’s the latest: Non-dominant hand: bandaid on the thumb, half peeled. Vaccine, ready to go. Pre-peeled alcohol swab. Dominant hand: Mobile device on a lanyard or in a coat-pocket, QR code scanner ready, some quick screening questions and screen-taps, vaccine documented in EHR, give vaccine, walk back to tent and re-supply while our student hands out the vaccine card and follow-up instructions. Rock-and-Roll.
First of all, our team CRUSHED the scheduled volume today. At our peak, we vaccinated more than 1000 people per hour, with average throughput times of 22.5 minutes (that’s INCLUDING the 15 minute observation).
To say that another way: we timed cars arriving at Check-in Registration at time ZERO, got screened, registered, consented, and vaccinated in about EIGHT MINUTES. And 15 minutes after that, they were rolling out of the observation area. WAT?!
We had numerous people exclaiming: “This is unreal, how smooth it is.” With masks on, we’re getting good at reading the smiling eyes. Wave after wave of grateful vaccine recipients.
Current Vaccine Tent workflow
The Tent 8 “A-team.” Billie Martinez, medical assistant, Brittney Poggiogalle, PA student, Alexander Jimenez, medical assistant (working hard). Thanks for making us all look good!
Turns out it is easy to “infect” colleagues with the enthusiasm I have for optimizing our workflow, which is now:
- Vaccinator sets up the non-dominant hand with vaccine, bandaid and swab (see above)
- Patient arrives with QR bar code ready on their phone (from My Health Connection or a printout). No Bar code? No problem, a last name search is only a few seconds more. Beep! 3 screening questions, done!
- Vaccinate! (previously described)
- Pivot our positions, and our student volunteer steps up and hands the vaccine card with followup instructions to proceed to observation area and to NOT MISS their next appointment (already booked for 3 weeks from now).
- DONE! our best cycle time: ABOUT 70 SECONDS INCLUDING DOCUMENTATION.
- Perhaps even more exciting, talking to each other about Lean process, discussing throughout the morning, how to stay safer: remember to tell drivers to put it in Park! Remind each other as we walk up and down, to stay out of the driving lane! When standing at your work table, prep your supplies with your body turned facing the line to be aware of your environment. Tell each other if you see something to improve.
- All 3 vaccinators have their own neck-lanyard mobile documentation tool, and we can give about a vaccine every 1.5 to 2 minutes including drive-up time, and one student keeps us supplied with peeled bandaids, filled-out vaccine cards, and explains next steps to the drivers, allowing the vaccinators time to re-set for the next care. It is a beautiful dance.
A Lean Lecture?
Talking with a colleague later, I reflected that I got so excited about our efficiency, that I gave a mini-lecture during the morning to our team and student volunteer on Lean process. My colleague then replied: “Oh no, Student! Wrong Tent! Wrong Tent!” implying that no student needs a lecture from an over-enthusiastic CMIO on a weekend. (Thanks for the commentary, Dr. Bajaj).
Our previous worries about backlog of paper charting needing later data entry?Gone!
The cool thing about this setup is: we did not pre-identify which cars had slow-down factors like: more than one scheduled vaccine recipient per car, no bar-code, occasional technical glitch, or lots of clinical questions. Occasionally, if one car took a little longer, the other 2 vaccinators would walk up the line and greet the next car. Once the line opened up, everyone slid forward easily. A handheld mobile and a one-hand vaccine supply made us nimble. None of us was waiting around, unless our line of cars emptied out entirely.
I enjoyed hearing the pharmacists on-site, who were mixing up batches in real-time (the Pfizer: needing to defrost and reconstitute from -70!), on the walkie-talkies discussing which tents needed more vaccine: “We’re almost out again at Tent 8.” “Okay, on the way with another batch of 25.” With our throughput (3 vaccinators, cycle time about 2 minutes simultaneously), that batch would only last us about 18 minutes. Loved every minute of it.
The CMIO in me wanted up-to-the-minute vaccine stats from the other tents. Not that I was feeling competitive. No. Not me.
The Pit Crew
Not being satisfied with even this, mid-morning we were asked to transition to a Pit-Crew method being piloted by our Clinical Informatics nurses. In our standard lanes, cars would pause at one of 6 Registration lines, drive down a lane and then be split into 16 vaccine tents. The Pit Crew were doing both Registration AND Vaccination in the Registration (big white) tent. Then, no second stop, straight to Observation. It was going so well, we recruited additional people to run a second line.
INSIDE the big tent. Four cars in a row. One stop to do it all. We don’t have all the timing numbers yet, but we believe this may take additional seconds or minutes out of our cycle time. There are some potential downsides to this configuration VERSUS our vaccine tent configuration; the registration workstations on wheels (WOWs) aren’t as nimble in traffic compared to our handhelds, so walking upstream when there is a delay is not practical, and if one car takes longer inside the tent, there is more potential delay. The upside: one stop could make the transit time much shorter per vehicle.
At the end of the weekend, ZERO DOSES WASTED. 10,000 given. ZERO significant complications in the observation area. Dr. Richard Zane calculates that the 10,000 vaccinated patients means that 157 fewer people will die of Covid as a result of our actions this weekend. Wow.
Stay tuned! We’re already performing at a high level, but we think there are yet improvements to make, while keeping patient and team safety our top priority. The work of our Incident Command structure has been a joy to watch, with team leads in constant communication with the Rockies, the Denver Police, the State, County and City.
Here’s a CBS Denver news article about us, with more photos from a drone.
CMIO’s take. Who knew that Toyota Lean Process could help vaccine administration? Furthermore, I’ll say it again: Get us more vaccine! We can handle it.