August 2011

August 2011 posts

Additional Conversations with Dr. Axelrod

Last month, Swedish invited Randy Axelrod, M.D.,  a nationally recognized expert on value-based medicine and wellness to present to SEIU and our bargaining team during negotiations.

His findings focused on how Swedish could better utilize our healthcare resources.

A few weeks back, we posted the first installation of a four-video recap of Dr. Axelrod discussing his findings during a conversation with Dr. Jay Fathi. Since then, we've had several requests to see more of this discussion and have posted the second two short videos below. The final video will be posted shortly.


Episode 2
Conversations with Dr. Randy Axelrod: Swedish Employees and Preventative Care
Click here to watch. 

Episode 3
Conversations with Dr. Randy Axelrod: Drivers in Health Care Costs
Click here to watch.

Episode 1 (previously posted here)
Conversations with Dr. Randy Axelrod: Ensuring a Healthy Workforce at Swedish
Click here to watch.

New cancer web site

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our new web site,

Since opening the first cancer-radiation treatment center west of the Mississippi more than 80 years ago, Swedish has helped more people fight cancer than any other provider in the region. Even today, we are committed to ensuring that our local community has access to the most advanced tools and treatments, and the nation's leading experts in cancer care. Click here to learn more about the Swedish Cancer Institute.

You can download a variety of podcasts about cancer by visiting

Also, read other blog posts by physicians, nurses, and staff from the Swedish Cancer Institute:


Personal Listening Devices: Hip or Harmful?

If your child is one of the 304 million people who currently utilize an iPod, they could potentially be damaging their hearing. Research in recent years has demonstrated the startling trend that noise-induced hearing loss is on the rise, especially among children and teens.

Today, one in eight children aged 6-19 years has some degree of noise-induced hearing loss, which is twice the rate as seen in 1971. But noise isn’t a new phenomenon for kids. Historically, children have worked on farms, cut down trees, or fired guns without hearing protection. However, personal listening devices, like the iPod, are one of the most significant changes in our culture in the past 15-20 years, and they are here to stay.

Walk around the local park, ballfield, or school, and you will see numerous children and adults connected to earbuds. The extremely popular iPod has the capacity to produce an output of as much as 115 decibels at maximum volume, which is about as loud as a jet airplane taking off. At that level, it takes less than a few minutes to cause permanent damage. Of course, not everybody listens to his or her personal device at that volume. But in many instances the volume is turned up to combat background noise, and those earbuds placed directly into the ear can boost the volume as much as 6 to 9 decibels.

The damage that noise exposure causes is cumulative, permanent, and totally preventable. So what can we do?

KUOW Radio Airs Pieces on CyberKnife for Breast Cancer at Swedish, New Directions in Cancer Care


A birthday and a backpack

As school starts, I am reminded of my youngest child’s first day of kindergarten.  The poor child had 5 stitches in his right heel from an unfortunate accident with a metal door plate.  He turned 6 years old a few days before school started and he was using a walker which gave a little extra stability than crutches.  He was standing in line with the other kids outside the kindergarten room.  All the parents were standing a couple of paces away from their kids  anxiously awaiting the bell to ring.

My husband and I were old hats at this as he is our third child.  The backpack was full, the emergency card was signed and his lunch was packed.  We did our part and now off he went.  I had a moment of misty-eyed “My baby is growing up” motherly emotions, but it passed and off we went to spend the day alone, childless and enjoying it.

In the afternoon, we returned to pick him up and the teacher was standing next to him.  As we walked up, excited to see him and hear how his first day of school went, the teacher stepped up to talk to us.  (Now after two other boys, I took this as a sign that there was a ‘talking to’ in my youngest son’s future.)  The teacher hugged me and said, “Thank you so much for preparing him for school.”  She had spent the day with kids yelling, misbehaving and jumping on the furniture.  My son, confined as he was because of his foot, was patient but helpful.  He waited until someone was available to help him to get his lunch or binder.  He waited until he was called on.  We couldn’t have been prouder of our son.

I hear so much about schools needing to do better.  They have tests to measure how the teachers are performing and there’s more and more scrutiny on the schools’ performance.  But what about the parents?  Where is the accountability for the parents to prepare their children?

We’ve created Head Start to try and catch the kids earlier in order to better prepare the kids for school, but preparing for school starts years earlier.

Here are a few things that parents can do to prepare their children for school:

Issue 18 - SEIU Acknowledges that Swedish Must Adapt to Changing and Challenging Circumstances

 SEIU Acknowledges that Swedish Must “Adapt to Changing and Challenging Circumstances”

Today, SEIU NW1199’s chief spokesperson recognized the financial strain Swedish is under as the hospital works to find solid footing in the industry’s ‘new normal’ environment. In bargaining, SEIU acknowledged that Swedish must “adapt to changing and challenging circumstances.”

This acknowledgement came shortly after Dr. Hochman distributed an all-employee email, which addressed Swedish’s serious and immediate financial challenges. The letter also outlined the urgent steps needed by all departments and managers to continue immediate course correction strategies. Swedish’s bargaining team provided SEIU leadership a copy of the memo during bargaining. The full letter can be read here.

SEIU also identified four “ways to adapt” that could help Swedish address its current financial challenges:

  1. Growth: Edmonds and Issaquah
  2. Well-performing investments
  3. Limiting labor costs: Reducing the cost of health care
  4. Process improvement and efficiencies: Partnering to include front-line staff

Both Sides Continue Discussion on Outstanding Issues


Personalized medicine is the future of healthcare

If you were diagnosed with cancer or another disease, wouldn’t you want your treatment and medicines to be as unique as you are?

This is a growing trend in medicine where the type of treatment a patient gets depends on their DNA.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Hank Kaplan of the Swedish Cancer Institute spoke with KING5 about the I-SPY clinical trial (click here to watch the KING5 story).

The usual treatment for breast cancer may be surgery, followed by chemotherapy, possibly radiation and as a last resort, a clinical trial.

The I-SPY clinical trial turns that thinking upside down by actually extracting DNA from a tumor to figure out which new drug will likely work best, then giving it to the patient first, even before surgery.

"The goal of the I-SPY trial is really to develop a faster and cheaper way to develop new drugs for breast cancer . We're hoping that this is a new paradigm that will work for other kinds of cancer too," said Dr. Kaplan.

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