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In The Hospital To Rest And Recover, Right?

MSU Coach: Mark DantonioNobody is in the hospital these days feeling good. Regulations have made it so sick people are hospitalized and not-so-sick people are usually outpatients. People who are horizontal are there to have procedures, take heavy duty meds, rest and, hopefully, get better.

Hospitals have increasingly put in sophisticated television systems so you can be in bed and distracted and entertained. But that is not restful for everyone. Here’s an example from this past weekend that stands out:

Mark Dantonio, the coach of the Big Ten’s Michigan State Spartan college football team, was diagnosed with a heart attack right after last week’s game. Boom. He was hospitalized. Boom. He had a stent put in to unblock at least one artery. This past Saturday he was still in the hospital resting and recovering, right? In the hospital, yes. Resting, no! Are you kidding? Keep the coach down during the big game against Wisconsin, a Big Ten rival? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*

Improved iPad Usability On Hospital Wards

We recently reported our interview with Dr. Henry Feldman of the Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston and his experience using the iPad as his sole computing device while attending on the wards. Overall, his experience was positive, while accessing the hospital networks, using clinical applications and questions about security. Be sure also to check out Future Docs blog and Dr. Arora’s experience using the iPad on the wards to get more real-world perspectives on using the iPad on the wards.

Among the few difficulties Dr. Feldman had, one was that typing long notes on the glass keyboard was cumbersome, requiring the use a desktop computer for admission and discharge notes. This may now turn out to be one of the easiest problems to solve, if two recently announced iPad cases are any indication. Sena and Kensington are both releasing iPad cases with built-in bluetooth keyboards. Each has a built in battery and the cases fold into dimensions not much larger than a standard iPad case. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Large Healthcare Systems: Are They Gouging Patients?

With patients having to pay more of what’s charged for their healthcare, comparisons between medical systems like this one in Pennsylvania make us wonder if bigger necessarily means better. From the Times-Tribune:

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council study looked at four regional hospitals that offer cardiac surgery: Geisinger Wyoming Valley, Plains Twp.; Community Medical Center and Mercy Hospital, Scranton; and Pocono Medical Center, East Stroudsburg.

Among the four, Geisinger Wyoming Valley carries the biggest price tag. In 2008, the average hospital charge for a coronary artery bypass graft surgery was $108,029 and the average hospital charge for valve surgery was $132,740, according to information in the report. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Patient Safety Video: “Hand Hygiene Saves Lives”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has produced a patient safety video about the importance of handwashing for hospital patients and their healthcare providers. The instructional piece entitled “Hand Hygiene Saves Lives” is available for hospitals to offer their newly-admitted patients. I think everyone should watch and learn:

Source: CDC-TV

Charitable Hospitals Being Sold To For-Profits To Survive

More than one-fifth of hospitals are government-owned, but states and counties are out of cash to keep them open. So, charitable hospitals are being sold to for-profit groups or facing closures. Rising costs and more uninsured patients run smack into falling Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. When bonds come due, there’s little chance of states and counties paying them back. And the facilities are often standalones, and they can’t fall back on corporate backing. This year, 53 hospitals have been sold in 25 arrangements. While the deals often stipulate that care for the poor continues, no one is certain exactly how or even whether such services will continue.

That said, other charitable hospitals are making big profits. What are they doing differently? First, they’re competing for patients, so they’re increasing room sizes, offering amenities and even investing in high-end procedures such as robotic surgery. They continue to offer community care, but they’re acting more like for-profit institutions to cover their charitable missions. But this conflicts with an old-fashioned view of what charitable care is supposed to be.

Stepping into the breach is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is offering one solution, by increasing reimbursement for inpatient services in rural areas. The agency is expanding a pilot program by increasing reimbursement for inpatient services. Facilities are eligible if they offer care to rural areas in the 20 states with the lowest population densities, have fewer than 51 beds, provide emergency-care services and are not a critical-access hospital. (Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Modern Healthcare)

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

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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