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Latest Posts

Go To A Famous Hospital, Get Better Care?

Hospital rankings matter. Specifically, those published in U.S. News & World Report carry additional weight. Hospitals use these numbers in advertising campaigns, and patients often choose hospitals based on these rankings.

But does a high place really mean you’re getting better care? Not necessarily. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*

The Relationship Between Hospitalists And Primary Care Doctors

The following post is by Jamie Newman, FACP, editorial advisor of ACP Hospitalist:

I read the April 6 Annals of Internal Medicine with great interest. In it, many readers responded to Howard Beckman’s previously published essay on the relationship between hospitalists and primary care physicians. Many physicians bemoan their loss of inpatient control of patients, and perceived lack of communication.

I think back to my own private/university hybrid practice. When my patients were admitted to the resident services, I never heard a word. There was absolutely no communication. I would say that most hospitalists do a much better job of communicating with the outpatient physician then any resident team. It’s a double standard. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Unintended Consequences: When Hospitalists Become Too Popular, Costs Rise

It’s the fastest growing “specialty” service in medicine: hospitalist medicine. These are the doctors who limit their practice to the care and management of patients admitted to the hospital. It has been wildly popular because it adds a shift-like work schedule to medical care for physicians while supposedly preserving their personal life. It also moves patients through the hospital faster, shortening length of stays. As one of our more esteemed hospitalist bloggers likes to boast: it’s a “WIN-WIN!”

At least until the hospitalist service gets too busy. Read more »

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

How To Avoid Unnecessary Testing: Listen To The Patient

I  remember very clearly as a medical student hearing my attending hammer home the importance of the  history and physical examination.  Everyday I heard the same thing

The history and physical examination is the most important part of patient care

After seven long years of hospitalist medicine, I gotta say my attendings were right.   If you listen to what the patient is telling you, the answer is often staring you in the face. Unfortunately, in this volume driven world of fee for service we live in, time is not on the physician’s side.  Most elderly  patients are incapable of separating important medical information from irrelevant medical  information, which can make history taking a very  painful part of being a doctor.  So they just talk and talk and talk. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist Blog*

Hospitals Planning To Punish Docs Who Don’t Help Them Get Paid

Over at the WSJ Health Blog, some academic docs, such as hospitalist Dr. Wachter are suggesting just that.

Punishments such as revoking privileges for a chunk of time tend to be used for administrative infractions that cost the hospital money – things like failing to sign the discharge summaries that insurance companies require to pay the hospital bill. By contrast, hospital administrators may just shrug their shoulders when it comes to doctors who fail or refuse to follow rules like a “time out” before surgery to avoid operating on the wrong body part.

Docs and nurses who fail to follow rules about hand hygiene or patient handoffs should lose their privileges for a week, Pronovost and Wachter suggest. They recommend loss of privileges for two weeks for surgeons who who fail to perform a “time-out” before surgery or don’t mark the surgical site to prevent wrong-site surgery.

This couldn’t have come at a better time.  At Happy’s hospital there is a massive witch hunt to crack down on not signing off verbal orders within 48 hours.  This has nothing to do with patient safety.  It has everything to do with meeting the requirements of CMS  so the hospital does not lose their funding. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at A Happy Hospitalist*

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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