Lost in the zeal of those supporting electronic medical records is how computers can depersonalize the patient encounter.

In a nice op-ed in The New York Times, pediatrician Anne Armstrong-Coben talks about how doctors now have to make a concerted effort to look up from a computer screen simply to maintain eye contact with a patient. "I advise teenagers to limit computer time," she writes, "as I ...

Read more...

A recent study on hospice care has been making mainstream media headlines, and, of course, doctors are cast in a negative light.

The study, from the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that patients felt abandoned by their primary care doctors upon transfer to hospice care, and that the "feelings of abandonment resulted from lack of closure for patients and families."

Palliative care physician Christian Sinclair gives ...

Read more...

Patients don't choose the days they get sick.

There are several studies, specifically dealing with heart attacks, showing that the mortality rate increases when a patient visits the hospital during the weekend.

It appears that the same goes for upper GI bleeding. MedPage Today discusses a recent study showing that "patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage had a 22% increased mortality risk on weekends, and those ...

Read more...

That's exactly what's happening in this case in San Francisco.

Angered by a billing dispute with his chiropractor, a patient posted a negative review on the online review site, Yelp. Now he has to defend his review in court, which is, even if the case is thrown out, not a chance many patients are willing to take.

Indeed, if the medical profession really wants to shut ...

Read more...

A study released last week reported doctors found that one in six patients were "difficult."

In addition, physicians who reported these difficult encounters tended to be young and female, leading to a 12-times increased risk of burnout.

Like any relationship, be it a marriage, job, or one between a physician and a patient, not all encounters are going to go smoothly. The editorial commenting on ...

Read more...

Initially skeptical of using seemingly commonsense checklists in the intensive care setting, an infectious disease specialist is now a convert supporting the practice.

In his regular Washington Post piece, Manoj Jain writes about his hospital's initiative in conjunction with patient safety guru Donald Berwick. The program, instituted in 2002, required checklists to be followed prior to common ICU procedures, such as the insertion of central lines, endotracheal ...

Read more...

If your heart goes into ventricular fibrillation in a hotel, shouldn't an automatic external defibrillator (AED) be on hand within minutes?

Surprisingly, that isn't the case in the majority of hotels. A recent story in the WSJ points to the fact that no more than 20 percent of hotels have such devices.

The reason? Liability, and the questions surrounding Good Samaritan laws, which some lawyers ...

Read more...

When undergoing a procedure in the hospital, the last thing most patients suspect would be sustaining burns from medical equipment or carelessness of the medical staff.

Thankfully, such instances are rare, but they do occur. As the WSJ reports, the oxygen-rich environment of an operating room can increase the risk of flames, from say, a stray spark of an electrocautery device.

Furthermore, medication patches, like nicotine ...

Read more...

Trying to find ways to decompress its crowded emergency department, the University of Chicago is "re-directing" non-urgent cases to community centers or clinics.

However, as emergency physician Shadowfax notes, you better be careful who you turn away, because as this case shows, doing it poorly results in a public relations nightmare.

Will those on Medicaid, or without insurance, be preferentially "re-directed" to safety net hospitals? In ...

Read more...

The bedside exam has become increasingly irrelevant, as technology and tests have largely supplanted physical diagnosis skills.

Pauline Chen interviews Stanford's Abraham Verghese, who also wrote last year's excellent NEJM piece on the demise of the physical exam, and he provides some provocative insight.

Dr. Verghese calls the physical exam "an important ritual" that still matters to patients. "If as a doctor you shortchange the ritual, ...

Read more...

Most Popular

Join 147,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 148,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.
close-image