Compare the following two versions of the same medical history: Version 1 CC: chest pain Mr. Smith is a 57-year-old white man who comes into the office today for the first time with a complaint of chest pain. He states he has been in generally good health in the past, though he has smoked about 40 pack-years and admits to not exercising much, other than occasional games of golf. He has trouble keeping ...

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As I've listened to the confirmation hearings for cabinet nominees, I’ve realized that no one with health care IT expertise has been identified by the transition team. I continue to ask all my colleagues about any contact they’ve had with anyone advising the new administration. So far, no one has been asked anything by anyone related to health care IT. At this early time in the administration, it’s important to offer ...

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“When companies start unbundling costs, it is a sign of increasing consumer power and weakening market power.” This is what CEO David Goldhill and author of Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know about Health Care Is Wrong told me once. Airlines have unbundled everything that used to be included in a plane ticket. No longer do tickets include meals, in-flight entertainment, and the ability to check in baggage. Today, ...

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) EHR Incentive Program -- also known as meaningful use (MU) -- initially provided incentives to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) to meet certified program requirements.  Many physicians were mandated to change over to electronic records at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars.  Electronic records have never been shown to improve patient care or outcomes with statistical significance, ...

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We are truly living in a remarkable era of biotechnological progress. Emerging nanotechnologies and immunotherapies offer the possibility of the targeted destruction of cancerous cells. 3-D printing of living cells is on the horizon, engendering the hope of a future with fully printed organs. And simultaneous advances in neuroscience and bioengineering have given rise to promising research and development of “electrocueticals” (neuromodulatory devices that may alleviate the symptoms ...

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I remember the disdain some of the EHR trainers had for their trainees back when our hospital system “went live” several years ago. Of course, this disdain was tempered by their knowledge that if docs weren’t so computer illiterate, or the user interfaces of the EHR systems weren’t so awful, or if the EHR software wasn’t so bug-ridden, their jobs wouldn’t exist. So they soldiered bravely on, undaunted by grumpy old ...

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It happened again.  Yesterday, I was charting on the recently launched streamlined version of our electronic health records and a new note popped up in the right lower corner of the screen: "Welcome to (our new texting system).  Now you can instantly and securely text about patient care with all of your colleagues." A few seconds later, a message popped up.  “You have one unread message.”  As with most other communication systems, ...

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One of the topics that I write most about is the interaction of health care information technology with frontline clinical medicine, which I believe to be among the most critical issues facing the practice of medicine at the moment. With statistics now suggesting that doctors (and nurses) are spending an absolute minimal amount of their day engaging in direct patient care — some research suggesting as little as ...

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One of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur is the people I’m privileged to meet and spend time with.  This week I met a fellow Montana physician, Alistair MacDonald, who has started his own company.  He’s created a product that automatically decreases the volume on music playing in the operating room if a patient's vital signs are tanking.  It seems like an important idea to me.  He made some ...

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Acute kidney injury (AKI) is hard. Things that seem like they should work often don't. Just ask Perry Wilson. And even the most predictable cases of AKI are resistant to intervention. Look at bypass surgery. We know days in advance the time and place the AKI will occur and despite that foreknowledge, like Cassandra, we are powerless to prevent the AKI. Same with contrast administration (or not). Same ...

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