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Latest Posts

Nutrition And The Government: Donuts For Freedom

An interesting press release from the Competitive Enterprise Institute recently came across our desk and is reproduced in full below. I’m curious what our readers think of it, and of the government’s role in nutritional issues, given the link between nutrition and health:

Institute Calls for Civil Disobedience on National Donut Day

As Government Meddling in Nutritional Issues Mounts, CEI Advises, “Eat Two Donuts Today—One for Yourself, and One for Your Freedom”

Washington, D.C., June 4, 2010 — The Competitive Enterprise Institute today urged Americans to turn National Donut Day into a day of protest against growing government intrusion into nutritional issues. CEI urged people to eat two donuts — “one for yourself, and one as an act of patriotic civil disobedience.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

A Helpful Guide For Discharge Planning

Medicare has a handy guide to help patients and their caregivers take control of the discharge planning process. It might be good for hospitals to have a stack of these at the ready and a plan to make sure every patient gets one:

Planning for your discharge: A checklist for patients and caregivers preparing to leave a hospital, nursing home, or other health care setting

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

9 Tips To Improve Patient Satisfaction

Some interesting points were raised at a recent Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) session by Winthrop Whitcomb and Nancy Mihevc on patient satisfaction. To improve satisfaction scores:

1. Review the patient’s chart before you go in the room. It makes a big difference if the patient perceives you know what’s going on without having to bury your face in a chart.

2. Patients are often confused about who they are supposed to see after discharge. This, of course, is a safety issue as well as one that affects patient satisfaction.

3. Sit down when you are visiting a patient. Patients are happiest when they perceive you’ve spent enough time with them, and they are more likely to perceive this if you are sitting than standing with your hand on the doorknob. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

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*

Hospital Stays: More Intensive, More Expensive

Hospital costs for treating septicemia increased by an average of almost 12% yearly from 1997 to 2007, the AHRQ said today, citing data from its Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. Costs jumped from $4.1 billion in 1997 to $12.3 billion in 2007. Other costly conditions in the same time period:

Osteoarthritis: 9.5% annual increase ($4.8 billion to $11.8 billion)
Back problems: 9.3% annual increase ($3.5 billion to $8.5 billion)
Acute kidney failure: 15.3% annual increase ($1 billion to $4 billion)
Respiratory failure: 8.8% annual increase ($3.3 billion to $7.8 billion)

The most important driver of cost increases in the hospital was the greater intensity of services provided during a hospital stay, which grew 3.1% per year from 1997 to 2007 and accounted for 70% of the total rise in hospital costs, the AHRQ said.

*This blog post was originally published at ACP 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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