health

男生和女生做污的照片

Building Unity Farm - Preserving the Harvest


As Fall approaches in New England we're picking apples/fermenting cider, extracting honey, canning jams, preserving vegetables, and finishing our Fall mushroom inoculation.

Here are a few scenes of the harvest - a very busy time of year.

The Unity Farm orchard contains 36 trees - Apples, Cherries, Peaches, Pears, and Plums.   We have 180 high bush blueberry bushes and 150 low bush blueberry bushes.    We have elderberry, raspberry, and pecans.    Here's an overview of the layout.


Last weekend we picked Honeycrisp, McIntosh, and Asian Pear.    We crushed the apples into cider and pasteurized it into quart containers.   Here's what the process looked like in the cider house.



In August we picked blueberries and created Unity Blue jam, a mixture of berries and other natural ingredients from the farm.    We've applied for a license to sell our farm products at farmers markets and other retail locations.   As soon as the license is granted we'll be able to sell Unity Blue - here's what the finished package looks like.



I'll write an entire post about the honey extraction process, which requires a bee suit, a smoker, a hive tool to gently remove the frames containing combs of honey, a tool to uncap the combs, and an extractor to remove the honey from the wax.    We gathered 240 ounces of honey from our 8 hives and we will leave all remaining honey for the bees to use over winter.   Below is the alternative u-pick method, that we've chosen not to use!



Finally, we've prepared 220 shitake, 72 oyster, and 6 lion's mane logs so they are ready to fruit with mushrooms in the Spring.   Here's a view of our laying yard where oyster mushrooms are growing on poplar.   Our shitake and lion's mane logs are kept in the shade house.



We're on the cusp of selling the products of Unity Farm.   By next year, we should have commercial quantities of fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, honey, and fermented cider.   The great thing about life in New England is that each season brings a new adventure and as we finish our harvest, we can dream about the new farm possibilities we'll have in the Spring.

EMAR Go live


On September 4, BIDMC went live with its innovative web-based, mobile, "Amazon.com shopping cart" inspired electronic medication administration record.

Using a combination of iPads, iPhones, bar code readers, and thin client (HTML, Javascript) cloud hosted software, we have eliminated paper-based medication records on a major medical floor.   As is typical with our user centered design methodology, we'll incorporate improvements as we incrementally implement the software across the enterprise.

Our standard user centered design process includes:
  *Clinicians define requirements in our governance committees
  *Clinicians and developers create products
  *Limited pilots are conducted and feedback gathered.
  *Revisions are made and re-piloted
  *When clinicians judge the product to be mature, pilots are expanded and phased rollout is done.
  *Governance committees meet monthly to review functionality and prioritize enhancements.

The entire process is agile, clinician focused, and continuous

Although BIDMC builds and buys software based on requirements and product maturity, EMAR is a perfect example of when clinicians writing software for clinicians makes great sense.

Nurses created the user interface following of the motif of the Amazon.com shopping cart - you "buy" medications with one click when giving them to a patient, then "check out" to record your "purchases" in the permanent medical record.    All of this happens in real time as bar codes are scanned.   iPhones show each nurse what has been ordered and what has been administered.  iPads at each Omnicell medication cabinet show nurses what work needs to be done.

Here are a few screen shots




Comments from nursing thus far have included "this saves me so much time", "an incredible enhancement", "a major safety gain".   Rarely have I attended a go live debrief in which all the stakeholders expressed such joy and satisfaction.

Clinicians designing software for clinicians, using mobile and thin client cloud hosted approaches, with continuous improvements during enterprise rollouts.   It's a formula that works for our culture.

The September HIT Council meeting



Yesterday, the Massachusetts HIT Council met to review progress on the state HIE.   Here is the presentation we used.

Important highlights include:
*41 organizations are now connected to the state HIE
*We've done nearly 1.5 million transactions
*We've decided how to create a trust fabric with other Health Information Service Providers (HISPs).   We will support authentication by exchanging trust anchors and signing HISP to HISP agreements. We will support authorization through the use of a white list that includes those organizations which have signed our Massachusetts participation agreement
*In late October/early November we will demonstrate Phase 2 of our HIE functionality - a statewide master patient index and consent registry which supports "pull" transactions such as patients arriving at Emergency Departments, enabling us to gather medical information from multiple institutions.

To me, we're near the tipping point of interoperability.   The standards, the ACO imperative to share data, and the motivation of meaningful use Stage 2 have created the perfect storm for providers, payers, and patients to share data.

Building Unity Farm - The Cider House Tools


The orchard at Unity Farm has 36 trees, of which 24 are heritage apple varieties.   Since each tree will produce 5 bushels (a bushel is 42 pounds), we'll have 120 bushels (over 5000 pounds of apples per year) when the trees reach maturity.    Of course we'll eat, sauce, jelly and produce various apple products from them, but my favorite way to enjoy fresh apples in the Fall is to make cider.

One bushel yields about 3 gallons of cider, so we could make up to 360 gallons.

Cider can be frozen and kept for a year but even with pasteurization (which changes the flavor), unfrozen cider will not keep more than a few weeks.

The easy answer to preserving cider is to make traditional fermented hard cider.

Here's how we'll do it.

In the orchard, we have a cider house, pictured above.  All our orchard harvesting and honey processing tools are kept clean and dry in that building.  We have a 36 liter cider press and grinder which can produce about 9 gallons of juice per pressing, pictured below



We'll test our apples for flavor, acidity, tannin content, sweetness, and bitterness then choose a combination of apples that will make a balanced cider.  Our hand cranked fruit grinder sites on top of the press and we'll fill the pressing basket with approximately 2 bushels of ground apples.    We'll apply pressure via the hand cranked ratcheting screen and gather the juice a gallon at a time.  I prefer a two stage fermentation with racking of juice from the spent yeast for a clearer final product.   I have two fermenters made from food grade HDPE plastic, which is unbreakable and easy to clean.   I've had good luck in the past with Champagne yeast  and will make a starter culture the night before pressing.   Once inoculating, I'll let fermentation proceed naturally in the 60 degree outdoor temperatures that are typical in late September/early October.  When the initial fermentation is done, I'll siphon the juice from one fermenter to another and let it ferment another week.  

I prefer my ciders to be very dry, so I do not plan on adding any sweetener before bottling.   I will likely make a few bottles of sparkling cider as well, adding a bit of sugar solution then bottling in swing top containers.   After a few months the cider will mellow and carbonate, ready to ring in the new year if all goes well.

Since hard cider has been an American home brew tradition for hundreds of years, the laws regulating production and distribution are simpler than wine.   In a few years, I hope invite friends and colleagues to bring their growlers to fill with Unity Farm cider, hand made with our cider house tools.

The August HIT Standards Committee


On August 22nd, the HIT Standards Committee held it's 50th meeting.   We began this milestone meeting by thinking Farzad Mostashari for his national service via a formal proclamation highlighting his accomplishments.  Richly deserved.

Liz Johnson and Carol Bean then presented an Implementation Workgroup update, describing the findings from the Implementation/Usability hearing on July 23rd and presenting test scenarios which will hopefully replace/augment the existing certification scripts.  

They key idea is that scenarios would mirror real clinical workflow from registration to evaluation to transition of care, using the same data and building upon each incremental data entry step.   Such an approach not only reduces the burden of certification but also ensures the EHR is more than disconnected functions built to satisfy disconnect certification criteria.   In effect, scenarios demonstrate the usability of integrated functionality.   I'm also hoping that these scenarios remove some of the certification demonstrations are not part of attestation workflow.    In my view, certification should only include the minimum functionality clinicians need to support attestation and nothing more.   As I posted in my blog yesterday, creating too many regulatory demands can stifle innovation.

Next, Dixie Baker presented an NwHIN Power Team Update finalizing the recommendations for future transport standards.   She reviewed the work of Blue Button Plus, HL7's Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), and the S&I Framework's RESTful Health Exchange (RHEx) to identify industry trends and emerging standards.   The team concluded that combination of RESTful transport supported by a specific implementation guide and supplemented with OAuth2/OpenID for authentication holds great promise as a simpler to implement approach than currently required in Meaningful Use.   The team also concluded that FHIR has many appealing simplifications as a content standard.      The Standards Committee recommended pilots and once we have real world experience with the combination of RHEx/OAuth2/OpenID/FHIR we should seriously consider their incorporating into future stages of Meaningful Use.

Finally, Lauren Thompson and Jodi Daniel provided an ONC update, highlighting work to accelerate HIE, patient/family engagement, and safety.

At our September meeting we'll present initial recommendations for image exchange and early thinking about how to represent advance directives in EHRs.

Making progress.