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ER Doc Considers Some Of The Issues That Arise With iOS 5 In Emergency Medicine

I’ve been using my iPad in the ED, with my white coat’s sewn-in iPad-sized pocket, for some time now — mostly for patient and resident education, and to look up dosages or rashes. Hitting up my Evernote database or Dropbox documents is also useful. Occasionally I’ll use my iPhone, for its LED light (when the otoscope can’t reach to where I need to see) or rarely, its camera (in compliance with my hospital and department photo policy, naturally).

Our ED’s EHR isn’t quite accessible enough via iPad for me to quickly check results or place orders at the bedside — right now it’s just too cumbersome. But there’s been progress — enough so that I start to wonder about the flip side: instead of reviewing iOS medical apps and pining for an optimized EHR experience on the iPad, what if there are features of the iPad that could limit the utility of medical apps?

Well, there are some product design issues, like impact resistance and bacterial colonization, that have been discussed. But the operating system, iOS 5, has some quirks, too. Some have received a lot of attention. Some are maddening in their capriciousness. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Blogborygmi*

Can Electronic Health Records Make Disparities Disappear?

According to Kendra Blackmon at and a new study published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the answer is maybe.

Earlier this year, NIST published a report – Human Factors Guidance to Prevent Health care Disparities with the Adoption of EHRs – which declares that “wide adoption and Meaningful Use of EHR systems” by providers and patients could impact health care disparities.

Making this happen, however, will require a different way of thinking about electronic health records (EHRs). While the report notes that EHRs primarily are used by health care workers, patients still interact with these systems both directly – such as through shared use of a display in an exam room – and indirectly. For patients to obtain the intended benefits of this technology, EHR systems should display or deliver information in a way that is suitable for their needs and preferences, the report says. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*

A Better, Better Health

betterhealth_logoPlease excuse the potential lapses in service (and comments interruption) through September 27. This site is being completely redesigned and improved for our readers.

The new design will feature:

1) Easier site navigation by topic

2) New video and multimedia content (some from Dr. Val at ABC News)

3) Newsletters

4) Content channels – available for sponsorship

5) Better Health calendar of events

6) Polls and Surveys

7) More bloggers, more great content

8.) Customized feeds by author or topic

9) A bold/clean new look

I can’t wait for the big “reveal”… please stay tuned for a better Better Health.

Bold Thinking May Finally Improve The Patient Gown

Earlier this week we reported on an effort at North Carolina State University to develop a better patient gown, seeing how no one ever liked the conventional tie-in-back style. To be honest, we weren’t particularly excited about the aesthetics – the design looked like a copy of typical nurse’s scrubs we see every day. Turns out that the University of Cincinnati has teamed up with Hill-Rom Company, Inc., of Batesville, Indiana, to brainstorm through possible innovations to improve the gown, the results of which will be shown at the university’s June 12 fashion show.

Here’s from the University of Cincinnati via gizmag:

And so, the solution eventually offered by the UC students is a “Progressive Recovery Collection.” These are options for multiple gowns that can, importantly, all be created from one pattern – a practice that would cut down on waste and inefficiency.

The options are:

One gown for seriously ill bed ridden patients. Another gown for the somewhat mobile patient. A third gown for the fully ambulatory.

The most important thing for a bedridden patient is to prevent pressure ulcers, according to Brooke Brandewie, a student who graduated from the product-development track of UC’s fashion design program in June 2008 and who is now working at the Live Well Collaborative as a design research associate.

“We created a gown that will allow the mattress to be the mattress. The gown is open backed for high-risk, immobile patients so the areas on the body (most susceptible to pressure ulcers) can be healed from the mattress technology, without fabric bunching in between,” Brandewie explained.

In addition, this gown (and the others created by the students) provides easy access at the shoulder – via slits and closures in the design – so that caregivers may operate IV units or other drug-delivery tools.

The students recommend that this gown – and the related versions – be made from naturally anti-microbial materials like bamboo or crabyon (a material actually made from crab shells).

There’s nothing as comfortable as a bath robe, or your own clothes that you wear at home. And that’s the inspiration behind a gown created by the UC students for the semi-mobile patient. It mimics “comfort clothes.”

Said Brandewie, “As the patient improves in condition, they will ‘graduate’ to the next gown appropriate for their condition and mobility. It not only represents the patient’s progressive physical improvement, it provides a psychological boost as well,” said Brandewie.

Like all the UC-created gowns, it closes not via standard ties currently in use with hospital gowns but via a closure like a bathrobe belt. It’s secure, comfortable, can fit to almost any size and is also more flattering to the human figure.

The gown has a full back and a kangaroo pocket in the front, recognizing that the patient will lie in bed, sit in a chair, stand and walk. Portions of the gown are made of special material to wick away moisture and sweat.

And in recognition of the reality that patients sitting or resting will be colder than those on the move, this gown comes with accessories: A scarf with a pocket, arm warmers, leg warmers and shawl, all made of bamboo jersey to integrate both extreme softness and anti-bacterial characteristics.

More at gizmag

Flashback: “Down With the Gown” Redesigns Drab Hospital Wear

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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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