Ever wonder what happens with the ideas you submit to the Region?

All of them are actually being investigated, though not all may become a part of 90 Days of Innovation: Ready Every Day.

An example of how ideas are considered is what happened with one suggestion surrounding the effects a full moon can have on health care facilities.

RR-2015-04-how-consider-ideas“It must be a full moon” is a phrase police officers, daycare workers, teachers, nurses and doctors mutter on a regular basis.

Ask caregivers and they tend to say that kids seem to act strangely around a full moon, and long term care residents can be more agitated than normal. Emergency room personnel might tell you about some of the weird cases that have come in their doors when the moon shines bright.

There have been myths about what happens on a full moon for much of human history. It’s when werewolves show their true colours and when strange things in general seem to happen.

Why do we correlate these things to the movement of a planet? Perhaps because the moon works with the sun to create tides in the ocean, and as the human body is about 75 per cent water, it’s reasonable to ask whether the cycle of the planets have an equal effect on us.

As part of Saskatoon Health Region’s catchball process for Ready Every Day, one of the suggestions made to the organization was to consider the full moon as part of the predictive model being developed by the team headed by Nilesh Kavia, Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services.

“Have you ever correlated these results with the ‘full moon’?” the submission suggested. “You would be surprised with these results. More confused patients, more falls, more care in general.”

The Region did look into this suggestion, asking the Health Quality Council (HQC) to analyze the effects of the full moon, if any, on emergency department visits and inpatient admissions.

Our ability to look back and query the data allowed us to look back at ED volumes during a two-year period in three hospitals in Saskatoon Health Region. A full moon occurred 25 times during the study period.

After accounting for all other factors like weather, temperature, season, day of the week, and influenza, the results of the analysis show that the occurrence of a full moon does not increase the ED patient volume, and the full moons are unrelated to the inpatient admissions at Saskatoon hospitals.

As the full moon has no measurable effect on the number of emergency visits or admissions, it will not form part of the predictive model Saskatoon Health Region is developing. But it wasn’t discounted without investigation.