Donna Gibson, Alstonville Clinic Nurse

After a two year hiatus the North Coast Medicare Local (NCML) Kaizen meetings resumed this week at the St Vincent's Hospital Education Centre in Lismore.

Kaizen is the Japanese word for "good change" and is the philosophy adopted by businesses in post war Japan to rapidly raise the quality and efficiency of manufacturing and service industries. It equates to the English word "improvement" and therefore not surprisingly is a key strategy of the Improvement Foundation's philosophy of "continuous improvement".

Image courtesy of The Wikipedia

The Australian government has launched a process to gauge whether a private sector provider might be interested in, and suitable for, processing the $19 billion of medical benefits claims and $10 billion of pharmaceutical claims that the Department of Health handles annually.

In a national press ad marked ‘Market Testing’, the department has invited expressions of interest for companies able to provide “dynamic and innovative commercial solutions capable of providing these claims and payment services with a high degree of efficiency and integrity and which are adaptive and responsive to ongoing changes to the underpinning politics aimed at improving Australia’s health system.”

Andrew Binns reflects on the achievements of the MyChoice program after three years’ operating in general practice.

In the past, Palliative Care (PC) has tended to focus on terminal cancer, but as general practitioners well know, patients with other non-malignant chronic diseases also need a primary care team approach to support the complex needs of providing terminal care. In 2010/2011 the Northern Rivers GP Network was commissioned to undertake a 12-month Rural Palliative Care Project aimed at addressing best practice end of life care for sufferers of a chronic disease.

Badged ‘MyChoice’, it was aimed at developing a framework for managing end of life care. The intention was to give patients the opportunity to articulate their choices and enhance the control they have over their terminal care. The project officer (PC Clinical Nurse Consultant Kate Stirling) led the way in developing this document in consultation with local GPs and the NCAHS PC team based at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Lismore. 

Adelle Purbrick, Dietitian,

Omega-3 fatty acids are a vital part of every cell-membrane in our body. Eiconsanoids derived from Omega-3 have potent anti-inflammatory properties preventing atherosclerosis. In addition Omega-3s play a role in cancer prevention, brain development and function, vision, preventing depression, reducing pain, reducing body fat and insulin resistance.

Cardiovascular benefits of Omega-3s include: promoting vasodilation; reducing platelet aggregation, blood viscosity, blood pressure and resting pulse rate; increasing arterial compliance and ventricular filling capacity; raised HDL levels and reduced triglycerides.

Is Cancer the ‘new normal’? Special focus on the management of Australia’s No. 1 cause of mortality and chronic illness

Book Review - The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. published by 4th Estate

In his 2011 ‘biography of cancer’, widely acclaimed as essential reading for clinicians, cancer patients and supporters, Siddhartha Mukherjee discusses a group of British surgeons, who, in 1933, considered carcinoma of the stomach in terms of an old Arabian proverb, “He is no physician who has not slain many patients…”