Doctors should return test results faster
"In many ways, uncertainty is the worst disease in the world . . . the not-knowing can be worse than knowing the worst."
How true. Sheer volume of paperwork sometimes causes delay. As a primary care physician, I receive every single lab and X-ray test for my patients, whether they were ordered by me or not. This can number to over ...

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Getting the most out of a medical study
Some good advice for those who are overwhelmed by the incessant reporting of medical studies in the mainstream media. One has to be careful, since the media can easily mislead the public via their interpretations and application of the data.

I received a pamphlet the other day from Empire Medical Training, touting Medical Procedures for the Primary Care Physician. They have various procedure-based workshops, such as pain management, cosmetic procedures, and dermatologic procedures. It all sounds great - certainly adding some procedures will increase the amount of variety I see every day. I'm thinking of doing a pain management workshop - they train you in ...

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Interpreters Lower Risks in Hospitals
How true. Luckily, I came from a program with pretty comprehensive interpreter services, Boston Medical Center. Many times, I have to resort to the AT&T language line and communicate with the patient via a two way phone. This becomes increasingly cumbersome to use during a physical exam.

The bitter pill
ESPN with a wonderful piece on the role of athletes in direct-to-consumer advertising: "Though the alliance between athletes and pharmaceutical companies has become commonplace, leading health experts chide athletes for not exploring possible risks before they endorse medicinal products. At stake, they warn, are the very lives of consumers . . ."

Olympian Bruce Jenner, former pitchman for Vioxx, learns his lesson: "The bigger question ...

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Calling all medbloggers
Just a reminder, shrinkette is hosting Grand Rounds this week. Deadline is tomorrow (Monday) night at 9pm Eastern time.

Romney plan would expand healthcare
Massachusetts tries its hand at reforming the health care system. The governor writes about his plan in the Boston Globe's Op-ed page. I'd be interested in how the health policy bloggers interpret the plan.

Marketing, medicine merge in on-air messages about prescription drugs
Some nice pro and con discussion on direct-to-consumer advertising. I think you all know where I stand.

Innovative health plan overwhelms Tennessee
The public, completely unaware of how much medical care costs, will fight and sue with lawsuits whenever health benefits are taken away. It's all take and no give. However, now that the system has collapsed, what are they left with? Nothing.

Shades of the Vioxx Case for Another Drug
Interesting dilemma. Right now, they need a prospective study to determine the risks of Bextra - however, it will be several years before the results are in. So, what to do in the meantime? I probably wouldn't prescribe this in those with cardiac risk factors - we may be going down the same Vioxx path.

Once a Model, a Health Plan Is Endangered
The NY Times on the TennCare failure. What seems to be lost is the fact that little discussion is being made on getting to the root of the soaring costs. Raising taxes and rationing care has been met with resistance - but someone has to pay for the care.

Half of people with diabetes don't know they have it
How true. Diabetes is certainly a disease you want to treat early. The USPSTF recommends screening for type 2 diabetes in adults with hypertension or hyperlipidemia. It is recommended that the fasting blood glucose (FBG) test (>126 mg/dL) be used for screening because it is easier and faster to perform, more convenient and acceptable to patients, ...

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Additions

In addition to the recently added Tagboard, there are some small additional enhancements to the site. First, I've been reading good things about BlogExplosion and have added it to the sidebar (welcome new readers!). Also added are buttons for SpamPoison to fight spamming robots, as well as doing my part to spread Mozilla Firefox.

2004 Medical Weblog Awards Nominees
The current nominee list (updated regularly). EchoJournal.org is accepting nominations until December 29th, 2004. Many thanks for nominating Kevin, M.D. in the Best New Medical Weblog category.

Treating insomnia
Beware of the DTC advertising on sleep agents, such as Ambien:

Although initially promoted as superior to benzodiazepines in terms of daytime sedation, dependence, and withdrawal, the Z drugs (ed note - aka Zolpidem (Ambien)) have not delivered on several fronts. On the quality of evidence, of the 17 randomised trials with a total of 1284 patients, all were industry funded, outcomes were poorly and often ...

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FDA scientist details problems of five drugs
Dr. Centor and medpundit chime in.

Insurer launches anti-lawsuit contest
"Michigan's largest malpractice insurer has launched a contest offering
rewards to doctors who head off lawsuits by adopting office practices
that deliver quality care."

Rare Blood Infection Surfaces in Injured U.S. Soldiers
The bacteria in question is Acinetobacter, which can be resistant to many antibiotics.

Male docs hit with more malpractice claims
"Roughly 31 percent of the state's physicians are women, but only 16 percent of the doctors hit with malpractice claims and settlements over the past 10 years were women, the state Board of Registration in Medicine found."

The 2004 Medical Weblog Awards
EchoJournal.org is accepting nominations for the best in the medical blogosphere.

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