Patient

How a doctor’s office can affect patient trust

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Marianne Mattera

Trust is an essential element in the doctor-patient relationship.

You’re well aware of how important it is that you can trust the history the patient gives you. You know the problems that can arise in planning and managing care if you’re working with only part of the story. And you probably even feel a twinge …

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We are becoming a nation of people with multiple chronic diseases

by Monte Ladner, MD

Many Americans are resolving that this will be the year they finally lose weight. Sadly, most of them will reach the end of 2010 heavier than when they started. We continue losing the weight loss game because our efforts are misplaced. The issue is lifestyle.

Dr. Dana King of the Medical University of South Carolina recently published two papers on the erosion of American lifestyle …

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When should patients call doctors by their first name?

According to a recent study from the BMJ, more than half of patients preferred that doctors call them by their first name.

But what about doctors? Do they mind if patients didn’t address them with a proper title?

In a piece from the New York Times, physician Anne Marie Valinoti notes some discomfort when patients addressed her as “Anne Marie”:

How does one address one’s physician? It is almost always an …

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Why patients should be careful of celebrity medical advice

More celebrities are giving medical advice these days.

Rahul Parikh explores the phenomenon in a recent piece from Slate, citing Lance Armstrong, Suzanne Somers, and Jenny McCarthy, among others.

But does their celebrity make them an authority in a given medical issue? Unfortunately, too many people think so, as following celebrity medical advice can be dangerous

Their messages have led some doctors and patients to make inappropriate health decisions, at times increasing …

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How to tell a family that their loved one has died

by Tim Noonan

When a team misses out on an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl, World Series, Final Four, or something similarly trivial, these words may be appropriate. When the person, who has been the center of your life dies, what is more insensitive than, We’re sorry for your loss?

What kind of language is that to use when providing some of the worst news we could imagine? True, we …

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Patients using internet health information without physician guidance

The advent of the internet, combined with social media, has made everyone experts and has increased the disdain for authority.

No where is that more apparent than the firestorm that surrounds vaccines and its detractors.

The Los Angeles Times’ James Rainey writes a column on the phenomenon, observing the backlash against a well-written, nuanced piece debunking the link between vaccines and autism.

But as we know, those who already believe there is a …

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How doctors can stay up to date with current medical information

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Todd Neale, MedPage Today Staff Writer

With the amount of research being published in medical journals and presented at meetings, it should not be surprising when a new finding slips by a busy physician.

Nor should it be surprising, then, that some decisions about patient care might be made without benefit of the most recent evidence.

Although experts …

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Poll: How to control costs in end of life, or terminal, care

It’s estimated that up to 30 percent of the 50 billion dollars Medicare spends on end of life care has no meaningful impact on patients.

Is there a rational way to control costs when it comes to terminal care?

Most patients want to spend their last days at home, but 75 percent die in either a hospital or nursing home. Almost 20 percent of terminal patients end up in intensive care settings.

Worse, …

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Doctors need to take care of themselves, for their patients’ sake

by Nancy Rappaport, MD

In order to be truly effective in our work, we physicians need to conduct our own personal exploration, take time for introspection, and replenish our personal reserves. Part of our job is to balance the demands of our work (be they finding a cure for cancer, caring for terminally ill patients, solving the problems of healthcare or delivering twins—whatever our calling may be) with caring for ourselves. …

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How to talk with your family about end of life care

Like last year, I’m participating in the Engage with Grace blog rally. I’ll be signing off until Monday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Last Thanksgiving weekend, many of us bloggers participated in the first documented “blog rally” to promote Engage With Grace – a movement aimed at having all of us understand and communicate our end-of-life wishes.

It was a great success, with over 100 bloggers in the healthcare …

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Patients should be careful when doing online health information research

With the majority of American patients using the internet to research their health, it’s essential that they be guided to reputable sources of information.

Better Health’s Val Jones, in a recent presentation at the e-Patient Connections 2009 Conference, starkly framed the problem in a creative limerick, presented Pecha Kucha-style.

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Are older nurses being forced out of the profession?

Originally published in HCPLive.com

by Colleen O’Leary, RN, MSN, AOCNS

Last time I talked about how I had never really experienced the concept of nurses eating their young in action.

However, I have seen the opposite begin to evolve. I see this as a bigger issue in nursing these days. The “putting out to pasture” of seasoned, experienced nurses is happening more often …

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The decision not to test is often the more difficult choice

Ordering that head CT scan is the easy way out.

In a piece from Newsweek (via Bryan Vartabedian), Yale emergency physician Christopher Moore details a common scenario: should he order a CT scan in an asymptomatic 15-year old who was hit in the back of the head while playing soccer?

Dr. Moore encapsulates his thought process: “In a case like this, evidence shows the chance of a life-threatening injury is vanishingly small. …

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How getting a viral infection can be beautiful

If getting sick weren’t so miserable, I’m sure more can appreciate the beauty of this video.

MedGadget points us to this NPR piece featuring Xvivo, a company that produces impressive medical and scientific animations. This one shows us how viruses infect cells and reproduce themselves.

Enjoy.

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Interruptions when doctors see patients and how that affects care

Getting interrupted while in the doctor’s office can be annoying, both for the patient and physician.

In an essay in The New York Times, pediatrician Rahul Parikh notes that, in an average primary care office visit, doctors were interrupted twice. And in the ER, “emergency room doctors experienced an average of 10 interruptions an hour, compared with 4 an hour for primary care doctors.”

Having a computer in the room, …

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How should doctors handle the difficult patient?

by Toni Brayer MD

I am willing to bet that patients do not know that the medical community talks formally about “The Difficult Patient”. Courses are taught on how to handle these patients and there is even an ethics study on Medscape about it. So what is the difficult patient?

Every practice encounters them and they come in many varieties. They are the patients who abuse the staff, miss appointments repeatedly, “lose” …

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