Considering that hospital medicine has only really taken off as a specialty within the last several years, it’s amazing how far the specialty has come. The word “hospitalist” was first coined in 1996 when it was used in a New England Journal of Medicine article as a way of describing those internal medicine doctors who practiced inpatient medicine instead of primary care. Back then, hospital medicine was a strange new phenomenon. Fast-forward to today, ...

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Patient satisfaction and improving the hospital experience is being discussed in hospital boardrooms across the country. Now that financial reimbursements are directly tied to HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey scores, there is a significant incentive to do so. A multitude of ideas are being put forward into how this can be achieved, and hospitals are investing heavily to get tangible results. Many involve complicated and ...

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Patient portals are very much the future of health care. Having easy access to ones’ medical history, diagnoses, and test results, seems like such a natural thing that it’s hard to imagine that only a couple of decades ago medical information was regarded as private for the physician’s eyes only. Of course, the Internet and technology revolution has taken this concept to a whole new level. Health care organizations across the ...

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Statistics show that about 1 in 5, or 20 percent of all Medicare patients are readmitted to hospital within 30 days of discharge. That’s a staggering number, not to mention all those patients that are readmitted frequently during the course of a year, but not necessarily within 30 days. The problem of frequent hospital readmissions is actually one that exists all over the world and not just in the United States. ...

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As health reform sets in, hospitals are gearing up for many challenges. While some of these are new to the health industry, several are against the backdrop of old problems that have plagued us for decades. Speaking as a doctor who has worked in a number of different hospitals up and down the east coast, I would like to identify 5 of these that I believe are fairly universal. 1. Medication ...

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Improving patient experience is all the rage these days. Hospital administrators across the land are talking about it. This can only be good for our patients and for the health care system at large. Satisfied customers are what every industry strives for. It is a bit sad however that it has taken the threat of looming financial penalties to make this happen. Now that hospital reimbursements are directly tied to HCAHPS ...

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A couple of weeks ago I took my car in for its regular servicing. I’ve always had excellent service at this dealership and have gotten used to some pretty high standards. But on this particular visit, I was about to receive a dose of new technology as well. After I pulled my car into the garage, I was immediately greeted by a welcoming and friendly customer service agent. She had ...

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As I look back all those years ago to when I chose medicine as a career, I suspect that my motives were similar to most people who enter this wonderful profession. I wanted to become a doctor because I had a genuine and sincere desire to help people. I also liked the idea of a busy and energetic job, one where I was comfortably as far away as possible from ...

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Over the last couple of years, we have been witnessing the start of a seismic shift in healthcare philosophy. For far too long, the system has been totally focused on rewarding quantity: The more patients seen, tests performed, procedures completed -- the higher the incentives. Now, instead of rewarding healthcare providers for quantity in the “fee-for-service” model, we are moving towards a system that rightly focuses on the quality of care ...

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Slowly but surely, patient safety is taking its’ rightful place at the forefront of American medicine. Ever since the landmark report from the Institute of Medicine in 1999, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, the issue has been gaining increased traction year on year. Dismal patient safety statistics in some hospitals are correctly being highlighted by the media, with pressure growing on senior leadership and administrators to vigorously ...

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