In a terrible twist of fate, the very day that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospice Compare website went live, I found myself in a pulmonologist’s office with my parents, taking in the news of my mother’s advanced cancer and malignant pleural effusion. The shock of it, and the uncanny timing are beyond comprehension. You see, I’ve been leading research at RTI International and ...

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Imagine driving through an unfamiliar area, and there are no street signs. How would you feel? Frustrated? Scared? Angry? You would feel these emotions because you had no direction or guidance. Patients need direction when they enter the health care system. Signposting is a tool to provide direction. On the streets, there are posts that have signs. They provide direction; they tell us where we are going. Hence, the name, “signposting.” ...

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Being a health care provider has always come with personal risk. We care for all patients, which includes patients agitated due to psychiatric issues, dementia, acute medical illness, alcohol or drug intoxication or just anger. Patients can be extremely volatile and lash out unexpectedly causing physical injury to their doctor, nurse or another provider. Besides the physical risk, patients can be emotionally and verbally abusive as well- and both types ...

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For American conservatives, Britain’s NHS is an antiquated Orwellian dystopia. For Brits, even those who don’t love the NHS, American conservatives are better suited to spaghetti westerns, such as Fistful of Dollars, than reality. The twain are unlikely to meet after the recent press surrounding Charlie Gard, the infant, now deceased, with a rare, fatal mitochondrial disorder in which mitochondrial DNA is depleted — mitochondrial depletion disorder (MDD). In this condition, ...

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One of the most difficult situations for a parent is one in which your child is sick. To be in a situation where you cannot control how the child responds to interventions is very challenging. Under normal circumstances, you follow your normal daily routine: up in the morning, breakfast, get dressed, off to school or daycare or activities for the day, a nap in the afternoon, pick up from school ...

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Tele-empathy is not being empathetic over the phone. It is not crying in the sad parts of your favorite TV show. It is not beaming empathetic thoughts magically across time and space. No, tele-empathy is a technology. I should rather say, it's a group of technologies recently being created to increase the empathy of health care providers. "This is rich," you might say coming from an industry that brought us ...

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Cold, sterile and well … clinical. Three words that neatly describe hospitals as many of us know them. In books, on TV and in movies, we see and experience hospitals as impersonal, solemn and sterile institutions — designed only to treat disease. Interestingly enough, while our society has begun shifting away from thinking of health as just the treatment of disease, our hospitals fail to reflect these changes. This is particularly ...

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It’s a scenario that every doctor is familiar with. You are having a busy day and working full steam to get everyone better. You suddenly receive that unexpected message: “Mr. Johnson and his family are very upset and would like to speak with you now.” Most of the time, any physician’s initial reaction will be one of irritation, disappointment or frustration: “My goodness, I’m working so hard here, and we have ...

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Approximately 18 months ago, I was asked to serve as the surgical director for operating room (OR) services at our children’s hospital. The opportunity has been an eye-opening experience in understanding how a hospital functions. ORs are like the economic engine room in a large ocean-going vessel. Without them functioning optimally, the boat stops moving, and is batted about by of waves economic disruption. If surgical admissions drop below a certain ...

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More and more health care practitioners are turning to social media for their medical education. Fellows are learning ultrasound from Snapchat, nurses are learning how to insert NG tubes from watching YouTube, and learners are learning pathophysiology from blogs and podcasts. To reach this audience with credible and reliable content, it is important for medical educators to be present where the learners are, and that means social media. Users are also ...

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