In a report from the Archives of Internal Medicine, it was reported that most hospitalized patients (82%) could not accurately name the physician responsible for their care and almost half of the patients did not even know their diagnosis or why they were admitted.  Of the physicians, 67% thought the patients knew their name and 77% of doctors thought the patients "understood their diagnoses at least somewhat well". ...

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Back to school for many children means returning to the environment in which they are bullied. Bullying is a form of abuse, defined as recurrent episodes of physical or psychological intimidation. It can take the form of taunting, name calling, threatening, stealing and physical assault. Other forms of bullying include the spreading of malicious rumors or gossip and the intentional exclusion of a child. The result is a victim who becomes ...

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When is an ice cream label a health literacy tool? When Dr. Barry Weiss decided to use an ice cream label as a tool to asses whether we (patients) are able to understand medical instructions. Funded by Pfizer-backed Clear Health Communication initiative, Weiss’s research resulted in the creation of “The Newest Vital Sign.” A health literacy assessment tool, with findings published in the Annals of Family Medicine. However, the document, Why does ...

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Several years ago, I spoke at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where Michael DeBakey, the legendary heart surgeon, was master of the universe for nearly half a century. I heard lots of DeBakey stories during my visit, but one in particular really stuck with me. “A few years back,” someone told me in a voice of hushed reverence usually reserved for descriptions of flawless beach days and single ...

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PLoS Medicine recently published an article commenting on an earlier study exploring the link between social networking and mortality. The result speaks for itself: "the degree of mortality risk associated with lack of social relationships is similar to that which exists for more widely publicized risk factors, such as smoking." You read that right, according to this study which examined over 300,000 participants in a meta-analysis, social relationships are ...

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Raghav Govindarajan, ACP Associate Member, a neurology resident at the Cleveland Clinic Florida, told us about a case he saw in India that has important lessons for clinicians everywhere. The patient was a 65-year-old man who presented with chronic symptoms of burning discomfort and weakness in his left leg. His symptoms had started about seven years prior and he had been told that he had “neuritis.” He reported that he had ...

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A guest column by the American Medical Association, exclusive to KevinMD.com. As the nation’s largest physician organization, the American Medical Association (AMA) is uniquely positioned to help physicians thrive in medical practice throughout the stages of their careers. Because the AMA is led by physicians, we understand the many demands and rigors physicians face as they work to provide high-quality patient care, and we are proud to support  physicians in their ...

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Ten years ago, I wrote the Pew Internet Project’s first report on the impact of the internet on health care, calling it “The Online Health Care Revolution.” Back then, the idea that people were searching online for health information was revolutionary. All of a sudden, regular people had access to medical information that had always been locked up and out of reach. Ten years later, I am ready to declare ...

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Are patients better off than they were ten years ago? Just over a decade ago the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its celebrated report on patient safety, To Err is Human.  Many credit that report, which was released with great fanfare, with launching the patient safety movement.  So it's appropriate to assess the movement's impact eleven years later.  How did we do? On November 25 the New England Journal of Medicine published ...

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by Steve Sanders, DO “What am I going to do now Doc?” asked Mike, a down on his luck, 29 year–old recently unemployed truck driver, as he handed me his hospital bill. Mike was seen at our local emergency department on a Friday evening with complaints of indigestion. Earlier that day he and his wife Susan celebrated their second anniversary by splitting a store bought pepperoni pizza. ...

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