The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to figuring out how to make health care work better, and sometimes the fixes involve only empathy and imagination. In this RWJ podcast "Pioneering Ideas," Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle explains how a $45 iPod helped calm the anxieties of a seriously ill patient whose avoidance of dialysis landed him numerous times in the hospital, at a cost of $280,000.
The staff took the time to find out that listening to his favorite music helped calm his distress when he was at home, so they bought him an iPod and downloaded his beloved merengue music so he could listen when he was receiving treatment at the clinic. Problem solved, but the system offers little incentive for such innovative thinking. "A $45 iPod saved $280,000," notes Dr. Fernandopulle. "Why didn't the system do it? Because there's no CPT billing code for ‘buy iPod from eBay.’" -- Barbara Bedway