A few short years ago, my wonderful father-in-law Bill was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer. My husband and I traveled to the Midwest to visit Bill and my mother-in-law Betty. We were happy to be able to spend a little time with him, and he knew we were there. Sadly, he passed away the night before we left. We believe he held on until my husband arrived; all his other children lived nearby. Later, ...

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I feel … Much better than I did after my last chemo cycle. I feel tired, but not bad. I feel really glad that using a smaller needle for the lumbar punctures spared me the headache. I feel thrilled to have a port and have that PICC line out. There’s nothing like having medical tubes dangling out of your arm to make you feel extremely cancery. Plus, with the port buried under my skin, water ...

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Increasingly, the stuff we buy is electronic. In fact, not only that, but increasingly the stuff we buy with is electronic, too. We are using gizmos to shop for gadgets, or possibly gadgets to shop for gizmos. In any event, we are ever more frequently in the company of the energy fields our electronic devices, and in particular our smart phones, generate. This deserves more attention than most of us accord ...

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How should patients determine the quality of their doctor? This is an interesting question that has now reached mainstream media status as evidenced by a Wall Street Journal article by Laura Landro, a very accomplished veteran health care reporter. With the best and brightest going in to medicine, the requirement for more rigorous training than anywhere else in the world by (some might say) "exceptional, world class" medical educators and longstanding ongoing mandated continuing medical ...

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I had had a long day yesterday, starting with a trip up the interstate to Columbia to meet with other medical chiefs from around the state of South Carolina to discuss the issues that affect the practice of psychiatry in the mental health system today. We had struggled with the electronic medical record, Medicare paybacks, e-prescribing, CPT coding, content of notes, billing time, and motivating our medical staffs to accept the ...

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The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) guidelines for health care workers attire were recently published. Science Daily led with the headline "New Infection Control Recommendations Could Make White Coats Obsolete," which is rather misleading since the guidelines say no such thing. I won't reproduce the entire 15-page document here since the full text is available online. But here are some highlights along with my comments. The guidelines say that facilities may ...

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Hospitals are commonly thought of as the safest place to be for sick people. Patients have around-the-clock access to skilled care teams. Their vital signs are continuously monitored. A physician stops by every morning to check on them. While it all sounds safe, a hospital can be a very dangerous place to be. Here are four frightening risks hospitals pose, along with their causes and some easy-to-implement solutions that could save hundreds ...

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patient profiling Ever felt misjudged by a doctor? Or treated unfairly by a clinic or hospital? You may be a victim of patient profiling. Patient profiling is the practice of regarding particular patients as more likely to have certain behaviors or illnesses based on their appearance, race, gender, financial status, or other observable characteristics. Profiling disproportionately impacts patients with chronic pain, mental illness, the ...

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"What's a high-risk patient?" asked our newly hired care coordinator. Interesting question, and, as you would expect, one without an easy answer. One of our patient-centered medical home certifying agencies was performing an audit for recertification, and requested information on our high-risk patient registry, including how patients were identified and assigned to the registry. When you ask doctors or any other providers, we all know one when we see ...

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“No Margin No Mission” was a common saying when I studied about non-profits in business school. No matter how good your intentions are, whether it be creating new systems to get people access to care or opening a new animal rescue, if it couldn’t pay for itself it wasn’t going to happen. So it should come as little surprise that an up and coming darling of CEOs of health systems is ...

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