Wound Care Articles and Insights
April 19, 2011

Wound Care, Van Halen, Brown M&M's, and EMR's

Mike Comer

Trust me on this, there is a common thread!In 1980, Van Halen was on top of the world as well as the charts. They were in the news as much for their antics as they were for their record-breaking tracks. The prima-donna status of their lead singer, David Lee Roth was cemented during this time with the circulation of a rumor that he not only demanded that a bowl of M&M's was in his dressing room prior to the show with all of the brown ones removed, but that he had that demand written into their contract under "penalty of forfeiture of all proceeds". This may seem like little more than rock-star excess, however, in reality, it was a very clever analytic:According to then-band front-man David Lee Roth, the brown M&M clause served a critical purpose: "We’d pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors — whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through. [...] So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl . . . well, [ we would...] line-check the entire production." "They didn’t read the contract. Guaranteed you’d run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening."Within 2 seconds of walking into his dressing room, he could tell if there was going to be a problem, something that could threaten the success of the show and even the safety of the performers, just by spotting a brown M&M!At WCA, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what our "brown M&M" was. If we could determine what that simple and fast analytic was, we could possibly identify potential issues before they popped up, saving our partner hospitals time, money, and their reputation.By breaking down the 6 most important components including healing times and medicare based collections among other items, we built a logorithim that gave us a green light, yellow light, or red light. As you might imagine, green is good, yellow is a warning, red is bad and demands immediate attention. It takes administrators, Program Directors or our corporate team about 2 seconds to identify if there might be a problem, so it passes the M&M test! We built this system into eWound, and it pulls it's data from our EMR so it is always "live" and up to date.That is the true beauty of EMR's, if you know what it is you are looking for, they can help you find that information fast and accurately. A fully integrated EMR system can help you predict, not just report.With e-wound, WCA has built a system that allows everyone from the hospital Administrative team, to the clinical staff in the program, to know if there are issues brewing. That is our Brown M&M. The question then is; what is your yours?

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