Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Teen Poses As A Physician’s Assistant: How Did This Happen?

Did you hear about the 17 year old teen that posed as a physician assistant at a Florida hospital for five days and got away with it? Are you surprised? I’m not.

It seems that Matthew Scheidt, had a summer job working part-time for a surgical supply company. He allegedly went to the Human Resources Department of the Osceola Regional Medical Center (ORMC) and convinced them that he was a Physician Assistant student at Nova Southeastern University and lost his identification badge. This is the hospital where many of my former patients were forced to go for medical care because they were either uninsured or received Medicaid. My former employer had a fiscal relationship with them. The use of the word “forced” is quite appropriate because my uninsured patients had no options. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

Preparation For Surgical Patients With A Latex Allergy

A couple of nice articles recently on latex allergy have crossed my path – one in a journal I subscribe to (Aesthetic Surgery Journal) and the other via twitter and @Allergy (Ves Dimov, M.D., blogs at Allergy Notes).  I’ve put both full references below.

Latex allergy became widely recognized in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  The increase in latex allergies cases is felt to be associated with the increase use of latex gloves and implementation of universal precautions (now known as standard precautions) in the 1980s.

Management of possible or confirmed latex allergic patients begin with history and suspicion:

All patients who present for surgical procedures or exams which require latex gloves (pelvic exam, dental exams, etc) should be questioned about possible latex allergy.

Patients at highest risk include those who Read more »

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

When Physicians Fail To Take Responsibility For Their Own Orders

A physician asked me a question regarding what should be the role of hospitalists in carrying out discharge orders written by other physicians.

I have been following your blog since I was a resident and recommend it to a lot of people.  Thank you so much for enlightening me on so many day to day hospital issues.  I wanted to know your opinion about something that puzzles me.  When a specialist changes a medication or requires a lab to be done as outpatient after a discharge order is written (for example you write: okay to D/C if okay with cardiology, and they change a dose or request stress test out-pt) who is required to write the new scripts and arrange that test? Is it the hospitalist’s responsibility to do it? Or is the specialist who changed the dose after you rounded required to handle it? It was easier during residency due to abundance of residents/fellows and the fact it was electronic RX access. What are your thoughts? As so far I always return back and make the adjustments needed for the patient welfare, and the fact I don’t know whether I should take stance and request that physician to do their job.

Dear physician, there is nothing puzzling here.  It’s black and white.   Read more »

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

CDC Promotes Infection Prevention Guidance For Outpatient Settings

As healthcare professionals, we must recognize our responsibility to protect patients – care should not provide any avenue for the transmission of infections. By working together, we can ensure infection prevention practices are understood and followed by all, during every patient visit. Healthcare continues to transition to settings outside the hospital, and efforts to prevent infections must extend to all settings where patients receive care.

Today, CDC is pleased to present the Guide to Infection Prevention for Outpatient Settings: Minimum Expectations for Safe Care. a summary guide of infection prevention recommendations for outpatient settings. Although these recommendations are not new, this guide is a concise, one-stop resource where ambulatory care providers can quickly find evidence-based guidelines produced by the CDC and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC).

Repeated outbreaks and notification events resulting from unsafe practices highlight the need for better infection prevention across our entire healthcare system, not just in our hospitals. Based primarily upon elements of Standard Precautions, including medical injection safety and reprocessing of reusable medical devices, this guide reminds healthcare providers of the basic infection prevention practices that must be followed to assure safe care.

I urge you to use this guidance document, and the accompanying Infection Prevention Checklist for Outpatient Settings to assess the practices in your facility to assure that patients are receiving the safe care that they expect and deserve.

I also invite you to view our CDC Expert Video Commentary on Medscape titled New Infection Prevention Guidance for Outpatient Settings to learn more about the guidance.

*This blog post was originally published at Safe Healthcare*

E-prescribing Has Similar Error Rate To Hand-Written Prescriptions

About 10% of computer-generated prescriptions included at least one error, of which a third had potential for harm, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

This errors rate matched that of handwritten prescriptions, deflating at least one reason for the federal government’s incentives to switch providers to e-prescribing. The government had provided incentives for switching to e-prescribing; those turned to penalties for not doing so on July 30.

Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of 3,850 e-prescriptions received by a commercial outpatient pharmacy chain across three states over four weeks in 2008. A panel reviewed them for medication errors, potential adverse drug events, and rate of prescribing errors by type and by prescribing system. Read more »

*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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »