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Latest Posts

Health Care Is Stuck In The Past

We respond to certain “Code Blue” situations in our hospital. In the ED, of course, and in the outpatient areas and radiology, and if needed as back-up in the inpatient units. The hospital issues one of those overhead calls when there is a code blue — a cardiac arrest or other collapse, person down, injury, etc., but we also carry a pager in the ER in case we don’t hear the overhead call. The pager also signifies which doc is designated to respond to such a call, since we often have 8 docs working at once. It’s a little ritual we have at change of shift, passing off the pager and the spectralink phone, like the passing of the torch to the oncoming doc.

So of course I took the pager home the other day and had to make an extra trip to the hospital to return it. Ugh.

As I was driving back in, I took a moment to really look at the thing, and it struck me that this pager is the exact same model I used in medical school and residency, way back in the mid nineties. The exact same one: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

The Future Of Health Care Requires Considerable Typing Skills

I always loved to type.  It started in high school with typing class.  We were told that typing was critical for college term papers.  I liked it so much that I took advanced typing.  It was myself and 12 girls with Farrah Fawcett hair.  Heaven.

Fast forward to 2011.  My interface with the medical record is my fingers.  Most of my communication flows through my hands.  I complete the core of my documentation in the exam room.  Fast documentation of information at the outset of an encounter allows for meaningful, eye-to-eye dialog during the latter part of the visit.

Those who can’t type have a different experience with their EHR.  Sure there’s voice recognition but when pressed they wish they could make a sentence instantly flow onto the screen.  Two colleagues this week, one from Barbados and another from the UK, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Paralyzed Man Wants To Know: “What’s Your Excuse?”

I have meet several amazing people at my new job.  Here is one of them:  Richard Vaughn (photo credit).  The poster isn’t accurate any longer, the 12 should read 20.

Richard is the IT guy at my work place.  He broke his back at age 17.  This hasn’t kept him from having a full life.

……Shortly after graduation as a 17 year old, a severe accident – a fall of roughly 85 feet from a scaffolding – left me paralyzed and in a wheelchair. This was in the early 1970s. It was suggested that I enter one of several “special schools” for the handicapped. There, I was told, I might learn a vocation and become a “contributing member of society.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

Can Computers Enhance The Doctor-Patient Relationship?

One of my favorite movies is Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox.  I must admit after reading this New York Times piece, titled “When Computers Come Between Doctors and Patients” I have to wonder.

Am I fortunate to be coming from the future?  Because I completely disagree with Dr. Danielle Ofri, again.

I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to work in a medical group which has deployed the world’s largest civilian electronic medical record and have been using it since the spring of 2006.  I don’t see the issue quite as much as Dr. Ofri did.  It is possible that she examined patients in her office with a desk rather than an examination room.

If placed and mounted correctly in the exam room, the computer actually is an asset and can improve the doctor patient relationship. It is part of the office visit. The flat screen monitor can be rotated to begin a meaningful dialogue between the patient and me. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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