Tuesday, November 11, 2008

TouchStones Program Update

For my friend Tess -- here is the video: Dear Future Physician (I think I recorded myself no less than 50 times reading the letter before I got a version I was somewhat happy with).

I've been asked by a couple of people how the TouchStones of Compassionate Care program is going so I thought I'd give an update.

To date, I have three hospitals implementing the program in one form or another. One former PICU Intensivist who cared for Jack is now the Director of Critical Care Medicine at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. He told me he plans to use the video and has been circulating it around CHLA. He didn't sign up for the TouchStones. Jack's neurologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital told me that she shared the information about the program with someone at SLCH (I don't remember who) and that SLCH is now using the video as part of its intern/resident training. SLCH didn't sign up for the TouchStones either.

The Director of Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins (another former PICU doc who took care of Jack) is the one person who has been willing to implement the program using the TouchStones. She gave me an update last week to let me know that they would be rolling out the program this week with the PICU residents. The plan is to meet with the housestaff during this PICU orientation, give a copy of my letter and give each of them a TouchStone. At the end of the month, they will talk with the residents to see if the TouchStones made a difference. They will compare that with the feedback from residents from July-October who never received the TouchStones in-service. I'm not sure if Hopkins will be using the video.

I've sent information about the program to a couple of other physicians I know at different Children's Hospitals around the country, as well as a couple of physicians that other people recommended I share the program with. I've not received any response from any of those individuals.

Fortunately, Jack has/had some really great doctors care for him who have been willing to give the program a try. To be honest, I will be happy if the only thing that is ultimately shared is my letter and the video because I believe those alone are "cause for pause" for our future physicians. That being said, I do think the TouchStones are really cool (see picture at top) and I'd like to believe that they do serve a purpose. But, I'll have to wait to hear the feedback from Hopkins to know for sure. Obviously, an endorsement from Hopkins would open a few doors. Also, both SLCH and CHLA are in the top ten Children's Hospitals in the country, so their endorsement is likewise significant.

Initially, I thought of targeting medical schools with this program, but based on who has been willing to try the program and the fact that my letter and the video target future Pediatric physicians, my plan is to initially just share the program with Childrens Hospitals around the country.

Right now, I'm in a bit of a holding pattern until I get some feedback from those who are using the program. However, I'm always open to receiving the names of physicians or other contact people that anyone thinks might be interested in the Program. Feel free to email me if you have someone in mind.

One thing you should know about me, I'm okay doing things on a small scale, making a difference one "starfish" (if you will) at a time. I'm not saying I wouldn't love for this program to grow into something that is recognized and sought out by Childrens Hospitals. However, I'm not going to give up just because it's not "BIG" from the get go. I'm a firm believer that if it's meant to be, it will happen -especially if you've got the right people on your side. And I've got some really good people supporting me in this program.

That is the latest and greatest update on the TouchStones program. I'm cautiously optimistic that this program will be a success!


julie w said...

Congratulations Ann! I'm so glad that you have someone on board with this. Update how things go when you can, this is a great idea.

Patricia said...

Go Hopkins (and you too Ann)!

Anonymous said...

Ann do you ever sleep? Oh man, you do a lot. You have a beautiful spirit. It sounds like a lovely program. I wish you all the best.
Can I see the video? Did you post it somewhere and I missed it?

julie w said...

Ok, now I saw the video and can't find any tissues!! I cried when I read your letter - its even harder to watch on video. that has gotta work!

Marissa said...

Wow Ann, powerful stuff.

I have read the letter a couple of times and I thought it was very moving. The video just drives the point home even more.

Great job and good luck with the Touchstones Program.


Dana said...

I have a wonderful doctor at Hopkins who may be of some help if you need it at Hopkins. Just to keep in mind. He has his own clinic. Let me know.

It sounds wonderful. Good Job Ann. I think you will make a difference.

Sarah said...

I do love that video, Ann. Just as much as the first time I saw it. It makes me want to kick my Dr's in the pants again since they haven't responded back to me yet. You have helped MANY starfish. Hugs!