Grandma and the Giant Peach: A Tale of Healthcare Technology
Grandma and the Giant Peach is the story of a grandma who discovers the advantage of today’s technology-based solutions through her love of peaches. Along the way, she makes new friends, and discovers the joys of information exchange, which had previously been paper based and snail-mail driven.
Grandma isn’t getting any younger, well, her bones aren’t, but mentally she’s the age of a young spring chicken. She is out in her garden tending to her fruit trees, importantly her prized peach tree; the ones she makes her famous, award winning peach cobbler with. [ Click here for recipe ]
It was Sunday morning, Grandma was out there pruning her peach tree and picking her peaches; to make her granddaughter that delicious peach cobbler of course! She saw the most amazing, and perfectly succulent peach, right up the top there. Using her step-ladder, she tried reaching for it, quickly lost her balance and fell, in the most awkward way. Her granddaughter, seeing this, ran out to see if Grandma was ok. She wasn’t. An ambulance was called and Grandma was taken to the local hospital. The doctors mended her broken leg, discharged her into a skilled nursing facility (SNF) for rehabilitation and care. The SNF received her records, which included getting additional records from her primary care physician. And that completed Grandma’s medical records for the SNF.
As the days went on, Grandma was getting better and better at the SNF. Armed with the latest healthcare technology the SNF staff has access to her medical records including an up-to-date record of prescriptions and dosages, enabling them to focus more of their time on doing what they do best – delivering care in compassionate and considerate ways.
Well, life for Grandma isn’t quite as ‘peachy’ as story goes. Some of the fiction in this tale is
- Grandma's memory isn’t what it used to be, so the Emergency room nor SNF got her medical history from her primary care provider
- When discharged, a fax was sent to the SNF not an electronic medical record.
- The SNF staff took fine care of Grandma, but they spent considerable time manually updating paper records to track and monitor her care.
- The SNF systems are not interoperable, so Grandma’s records never were sent to her primary care provider
The post-acute care is clearly moving to a future of health IT where electronic health information is unlocked and set free. With acute-care leading the way through ONC led CHERT program, HIE/ACOs data sharing, and growing access to healthcare data, technology advancements will continue to play the lead role in helping post-acute providers to improve efficiencies, streamline processes, enhance the quality of care services, and the list goes on.
In the end, Grandma was poked and prodded more than she needed to be, but she is fine and making her peach cobbler for her granddaughter.