Pushing Our Limits

December 28, 2010

I’m now writing a personal blog at 8pmWarrior.com and wanted to share a post that I recently wrote. 

I speak for our entire leadership team at Clear Medical Solutions when I say that we spend every day (and many nights) flying, pushing, climbing towards the upper limits.   We’re not perfect, but we are passionate and driven.


Pushing the Limits

There are two ways a person can go about pushing their limits:

1)      Dive for the bottom by constantly thinking of ways to do the bare minimum to keep their current position, relationship, or income.

This is the easy way to push.

In a busy world, very few leaders will investigate everything their employees say or do (I won’t).  It’s easy to sneak in a couple half true statements, half baked ideas, or half finished projects.  Excuses are cheap and easy to find.  It’s easy to dive for the bottom.

2)      Flying. Pushing. Fighting towards the upper limits of what you can do by giving your absolute best to everything you do while ignoring the siren’s call to dive to the bottom.

A much harder path.

I believe that there is a limit to what a person can do with their life.  However, you’ll never find it if you waste your life diving.  It’s a different way of thinking, and one that explains why there are 8pm Warriors all over the world right now pushing their limits.

The upper ones.


If you’re interested in learning more about our 8pm Warrior mentality, you can also subscribe to the free 8pm Warrior blog, follow 8pm Warrior on Twitter, discuss issues on the 8pm Warrior facebook page, or network with other 8pm Warriors on Linkedin.

Have a great day!

– Aaron


Is it time for Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI)?

October 5, 2010

Is CDI the answer to a reimbursement crisis? With recovery auditors here and ICD-10 on it’s way, it will be good to have clinical documentation in order.

But that’s not the only reason…

Check out this blog posting for some of the things to consider when looking at a CDI program for your medical facility:

Motivation for Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI)? As we continue to build our Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) program in preparation for ICD-10 and a continued increase in audits (RAC, MIC, and Commercial Insurance), we've been doing a lot of discussing and research related to what objectives a CDI program might have. Is is to increase reimbursement through assignment of CC's and MCC's? Is it to improve coding productivity? Is it to reduce the potential risk from recovery audits? Is it … Read More

via Clear HIM Matters

Breaking Nursing News from the Twin Cities: MNA Nurses Resoundingly Authorize Open-Ended Strike (via Clear Nursing Matters)

June 21, 2010

Apparently the websites are going down with traffic from around the world, so we offered to repost the press release in its original form.

Let us know what you think…this could big. This may be the beginning of a major change in the way hospitals think about staffing. With nursing unions flexing their muscles around the country, will this be the beginning of real change?

What do you think?

Breaking Nursing News from the Twin Cities:  MNA Nurses Resoundingly Authorize Open-Ended Strike We just saw this news come out, and since the MNA website crashed due to traffic, we reposted the original press release below: ST. PAUL (June 21, 2010) – In a historic stand for patient safety, 84 percent of Twin Cities nurses voted Monday to authorize an open-ended strike against 14 hospitals if a contract agreement cannot be reached. "This is a vote we never wanted to take," said Linda Hamilton, a Registered Nurse at Children's Hospital and Pr … Read More

via Clear Nursing Matters

Learning on the Fly

April 10, 2010

(This post is part 2 of a short series on 4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders)

Question:  What do 32,000,000 new patients, FourSquare.com, ICD-10, and Audit MICs (Medicare Integrity Contractors) have in common? 

Answer:  They will all be important to our industry.  They are new.  And they’re knocking at your door.

Increasing shortages of doctors and nurses, social media usage, new regulations, EMR’s, reforms, technology upgrades, and on, and on…and on.  It never seems to stop, and it never will. 

Many people now say that we live in a world of continuous change, and when I see what our partners, suppliers, and government contractors are inventing every year, it seems quite obvious.  Change is no longer something to prepare for; it’s a way of life. 

Our new way of life 

Some people might say that I’m being dramatic.  However, if you look back just a couple years, it is interesting to think that there were no RAC’s, no Healthcare Reform, few EMR’s, no HITECH Act, no Twitter, no iPhones.  Change is now constant, and as developing countries only add innovation and  new technology, times and tools will change even more. 

In the world of continuous change, the only way to ride the wave will be to lead by learning, and learning quickly. 

That’s why it made my Top 4. 

See you tomorrow for the topic of Social Media Savvy.  Have a great day! 

(To have the next article sent to your email, subscribe to this blog at the top of the sidebar)



About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders

April 9, 2010

In my opinion, leadership in the healthcare world has seen a drastic shift from just four years ago and it isn’t going back.  The “Good ‘Ol Days” we once knew are now officially gone (I know this may not be breaking news to you if you’re reading this).

For the skeptics out there, I don’t have any scientific research to back this up.  However, when you see the medical world from the eyes of a visiting consultant and interim leader, it is easier to step back and see how fast change is happening. 

For me, it only took a nurse (your nurse maybe?) posting on Facebook about how boring her hospital meeting was…during the meeting.  About 500 of her friends saw it, and they were commenting back.  One of the commentors told her about another job opportunity at a neighboring facility. 


It’s things like this that get me thinking.  What will the future be like, and will we be ready?  I was doing some reading last night about future leaders and the skills they will need, and I created my own list of four skills that I think any of us will need to succeed in the future as leaders in a changing industry that will face severe shortages of nurses, doctors, therapists, and others.

  1. Learning on the Fly
  2. Social Media Savvy
  3. A Caring Attitude
  4. “The Champion” Skill

I’d love to hear your thoughts on each of these, as I’d be shocked if someone didn’t have a great 5th skill to add. 

In the coming days, I am going to write a quick series about these four skills and why I think they’re important.  If you’d like to take part in the discussion (or just get the next post via email instead), you can get these posts sent to you by signing up in the upper right of the main page. 

See you tomorrow!


About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

Introduction to Music and Healthcare

November 16, 2009

William Congreve wrote in 1697, “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast.”  Was he expressing the idea that music can heal?  The use of music in healthcare is nothing new.  The belief that music has restorative powers goes back even further than Congreve.  It goes at least as far back as the Ancient Greeks.

They believed music affected the soul.  Plato said almost 2500 years ago, “Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

Music is universal and despite it being used throughout the ages to soothe the soul, it’s onbedside-harply fairly recently that it became accepted within modern medical circles.  It gained accepted recognition in 1944 when Michigan State University offered the first accredited music therapy program.  Today there are more than 70 colleges and universities offering programs in music therapy and approximately 5000 music therapists.

Hospitals use music to aid patients in many ways, including pain management, to elevate patient’s moods, and to encourage movement in physical therapy.

As of 1994, music therapy services have been identified as reimbursable under Medicare.

But what about music promotes healing?  How does it work?

Every known culture has music.  Music touches us, affecting us physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Has a song ever come on the radio and you find your feet tapping?  Upbeat songs make us feel good.  Our body’s physical responses to music are observable and measurable.  Music can affect your pulse rate, blood pressure, respiration, temperature, and even your brain waves.

There are four types of brain waves; beta, alpha, theta, and delta.  Beta waves occur when we are alert and active.  Alpha waves occur when we are relaxed.  Theta waves occur when we are meditating or drowsy and falling asleep.  Finally, delta waves occur when we are in deep sleep.  Music can affect these brain waves.  Calm, relaxing music can induce theta or delta waves, whereas loud, fast music will put the brain into an alpha state.

Everyone has heard of “runner’s high”, it’s what happens at a certain point during physical exertion when the body starts to release endorphins, a group of peptide hormones that increase the body’s threshold of pain and can affect mood.

Many activities besides running can cause the release of endorphins, for example, eating spicy food, time spent in the sun, intense pleasure such as sex, strong emotions like laughing or crying, and listening to music.

Studies have shown that listening to half an hour of classical or instrumental music has the same effect as taking a Valium.

Many have heard of the exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims surrounding the so-called “Mozart Effect”, that listening to classical music, for example, will make you smarter or will turn your unborn infant into a genius.  Despite these fallacies, however, what the actual study showed was just as amazing without the hyperbole that has since been attached to it.

In 1993, at the University of California, Irvine, Gordon Shaw and Frances Rauscher conducted a study of 36 college undergraduates.  They listened to 10 minutes of a Mozart sonata, then immediately took a Stanford-Binet IQ test to measure their spatial-temporal reasoning.  The results showed an improvement in spatial IQ of eight to nine points, but the effect only lasted for 10-15 minutes.

Despite the fact that the “Mozart Effect” only improved spatial-temporal reasoning and that the effect was temporary, the study still showed the kind of power music has upon the mind.  Other studies have shown that students who study music in high school have higher grade point averages and physically develop faster than those who don’t.

Music has amazing powers in its ability to affect our body and mind and is becoming an effective healing tool.  As author Berthold Auerbach said, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”.

Questions:  Do you feel music has the power to heal?  Have you or a loved one experienced music’s healing power first hand?

About the Author:

Ed Pahule is a Staff Writer with the Clear Medical Solutions Communication Team.  His work is regularly shared on the Clear Medical Agency newsletter and the ClearHIMMatters.com blog.

Why Consumers Need to Demand More From Drug Companies

November 9, 2009

A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lost in Transmission- FDA Drug Information That Never Reaches Clinicians reported that key information is missing from prescription drug labels.  Authors Dr. Lisa M. Schwartz and Dr. Steven Woloshin wrote, “Much critical information that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has at the time of approval may fail to make its way into the drug label and relevant journal articles.”  They go on to explain, “FDA approval does not mean that a drug works well; it means only that the agency deemed its benefits to outweigh its harms” and “drug labels are written by drug companies, then negotiated and approved by the FDA.” GetAttachment2 

Schwartz and Woloshin profile three drugs, Zometa, Lunesta, and Rozerem as examples of how drug labels are missing information.  All three drug labels were indeed missing information.  In their review of Lunesta and Rozerem however something stands out, both Lunesta and Rozerem had intense direct- to- consumer advertising campaigns.  Lunesta is reported have spent more than $750,000 a day in its 2007 advertising campaign and to have sales reaching almost $800 million last year.  Rozerem is described as being “aggressively promoted to consumers.”  This information could easily be omitted from the article without detracting from the issue of drug information not reaching clinicians; the inclusion of this information is interesting.

 In 1997 the FDA issued new regulations governing television advertising of prescription drugs; following this change direct- to- consumer drug advertising soared.  Prescription drugs became commercialized; direct- to- consumer advertising repackaged drugs into a shiny product to be sold to the public.  In this light, is it surprising that drug companies would over exaggerate the benefits of their drug and down play the risks?   The purpose of advertising is to make consumers think they need a product and make them want to buy it; drug companies are no different.  Consumers have learned to be skeptical of the dubious claims made by advertisements but direct- to- consumer drug advertising is new.  Consumers have more faith in the claims made by drug companies because the idea that drug companies might manipulate information at the risk of the consumer is so unsettling.

By including information on the direct- to- consumer advertising campaigns of Lunesta and Rozerem, Schwartz and Woloshim provide further insight into the motivations (money) behind excluding certain information from drug labels.  It also highlights how for years the public has accepted and believed the claims of drug companies without question despite numerous incidents of drug companies being exposed as less than forthright.  You can be angry with the drug companies for omitting information or mad at the FDA for not making it easier to access the information.  But isn’t it time we as consumers start to demand more from drug companies?

Questions: Do you agree with the above statement that as consumers, it is time to start demanding more from drug companies?  Have you experienced any type of negative side effects to your medication that was not listed on the label?

About the Author:  Erika Christenson is a Staff Writer with the Clear Medical Solutions Communication Team.  Her work is regularly shared on the Clear Medical Agency newsletter and the ClearNursingMatters.com blog. 

Lost in Transmission- FDA Drug Information That Never Reaches Clinicians

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