Physician

Doctors need protected time away from the pager

When nurses sign out during the end of shift, it’s done so in a quiet setting.

Contrast that to medical residents — at least when I was a resident 8 years ago — where pager interruptions during sign out were the norm.

PookieMD compares the situation to the “sterile cockpit” that airline pilots enjoy: “Pilots have the sterile cockpit–a situation in which, if the plane is below 10,000 feet, only conversation …

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ED can predict heart death

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Joyce Frieden, MedPage Today News Editor

Patients with erectile dysfunction (ED) who were treated with telmisartan, ramipril, or both were at greater risk for cardiovascular events than other patients on the same medications, researchers found.

In men who reported ED at baseline, all-cause mortality during a median follow-up of four years was double that seen …

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Palliative care shows the importance of language

by Patrice Villars

The best learning experiences for me have been times when I come away questioning core assumptions about the work I/we do. As palliative care folks, we try to help people understand where they are in relation to their disease and what their hopes and goals are for care. We offer treatments and resources to match those needs through, in part, supportive communication.

What if, in our kind, well-meaning …

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CRNA salaries surpass those of primary care doctors

I received several requests asking me to comment on this CNN story, “Some nurses paid more than family doctors.”

This isn’t really news, as CNRA salaries have been on a trajectory surpassing primary care physicians’ for a few years now. In fact, I wrote about it back in June of 2008.

According to the latest numbers, “Primary care doctors were offered an average base salary of $173,000 in …

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A patient live blogs his hospital stay, looking for a cure

Here’s a novel, and incredible, use of social media in health care.

A 40-year old man was admitted several days ago with a fever of unknown origin. His significant other, Laura, is live blogging his hospital stay — hoping to solicit other medical opinions on the case, as there is no clear reason on what is causing his symptoms.

Blogging at The Z Update, here’s an excerpt of how he …

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Nurse practitioners will not solve the primary care shortage

With health reform possibly passing within the next few months, attention now turns to the primary care doctor shortage.

Regular readers of this blog know that there are not enough primary care doctors currently; it’s frightening to think what would happen if an additional 40+ million newly insured patients start looking for care.

A recent piece from Newsweek nicely encapsulates the problem. It’s a good piece, elucidating the myriad of …

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Why physicians are working fewer hours

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent

Physicians are working fewer hours than they once did, the result of a decade-long decline that coincided with lower fees for their services, a study showed.

After two decades of stable hours, a steady decrease began in 1997, according to Douglas Staiger, PhD, of Dartmouth College, and colleagues.

The decline coincided …

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A hospital benefits when joining a large medical center

What if your local hospital went national?

In a growing trend, big name institutions are partnering with smaller hospitals nationwide, looking to leverage their reputation.

Drew Weilage, blogging at at our own system, highlights a local hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida which signed a partnership agreement with Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

Indeed, he asks, “Who wouldn’t choose, if they could, the Mayo Clinic for neurosurgery? Or the Cleveland Clinic for heart treatment? Or …

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Primary care doctors need financial independence

I’ve often given doctors too little credit when it comes to business decisions.

But, in an op-ed published at Reuters, physician Ford Vox argues otherwise.

He notes that doctors, indeed, have tremendous business sense:

How can anybody say that doctors don’t have business sense, when not only do most American physicians forge their way in small private practices, but new doctors lay their cards on the table every year? The competitiveness of residencies, …

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Hospitals can deliver low cost, high quality care

Originally published in MedPage Today

by John Gever, MedPage Today Senior Editor

Many hospitals that spend relatively little per patient deliver good-quality care, researchers said.

Medicare data indicated that hospitals in the highest quartile of per-patient cost for initial treatment of pneumonia or congestive heart failure (CHF) did not have markedly lower readmission or risk-adjusted mortality rates than hospitals in the lowest …

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New primary care doctors are going cash only

Primary care’s woes have been well documented, especially on this blog.

Pressure on reimbursement, combined with rising bureaucratic impediments to the doctor-patient relationship, are both causing primary care physicians to retire early, or seek another career path.

But what about on the other side of the spectrum, namely, newly graduated primary care doctors?

Well, they’re no dummies, as it’s obvious to them how difficult it is to practice primary care in a traditional …

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