December 2008


Letter from the Editor

It wasn’t long ago that hospitalism in any form was considered a new and unique career option for internists. Not anymore.

The final page

Medical editor James S. Newman, FACP, remembers his first pager, and his next, and then wearing three at once…

Mindful Medicine: When diagnoses get lost in translation

Jerome Groopman, FACP and Pamela Hartzband, FACP review two cases where a patient's use of key words led to anchoring errors in diagnosing an abdominal aortic aneurism and a classic case of intermittent claudication.

A reader responds to challenge posed by futility cases

A reader debates how health care providers handle life-saving medical treatment despite no hope for recovery.

To err is human … to not plan for it is trouble

Hospitals should always work to prevent serious or fatal medical errors, but they also need to have a plan in place for what to do if an error occurs. Chances are, it will happen eventually.

Community hospitals branch out to clinical research

Clinical research at community hospitals in collaboration with academic medical facilities is gaining traction around the U.S.

Wait—don't throw that out!

About 3,000 hospitals nationwide have turned to single-use medical device (SUD) reprocessing to save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

Coding corner

Billing for interactions with a patient’s family or other caregiver More than 44 million Americans care for an adult family member or friend. Physicians often will discuss the care of a patient with the patient’s caregivers, and may be able to bill for these interactions.

Improvements in emergency department create ripple effect in hospital

Kennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, S.D. used a manufacturing concept called Lean to identify wasted steps in the delivery of care. The result: decreased wait times and more efficiency in a new emergency department.

Podcast engages medical bloggers in virtual talk show

Podcast engages medical bloggers in virtual talk show Doctor Anonymous’s weekly live podcast interviews well-known medical bloggers in an interactive talk show, including call in with questions and an instant-message in a chatroom while the show is live.

On the blog

The staff of and update our blog daily with news about medical research and practice management, as well as onsite coverage of major medical conferences. On the lighter side, our “Medical news of the obvious” each Monday points out studies that fail to pass the “so what?” test. Read a sampling of posts that appeared on the blog over the past month.

Steady increase in number of obese adults drove sharp rise in overweight population since 1980

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys showed substantial increases in overweight among adults since 1980, primarily reflecting an increase in the percentage of adults 20–74 years of age who are obese[PDF].

Recalls for heart pumps, intrathecal catheters, dextroamphetamine sulfate

Recalls for heart pumps, intrathecal catheters, dextroamphetamine sulfate

A passion for quality improvement, right from the start

Mark R. Chassin, FACP, outlines his role as President of The Joint Commission.

Measure of the month: stroke and stroke rehabilitation

Measure of the month: stroke and stroke rehabilitation

ACP program introduces leadership skills to young members

ACP's LEAD program (Leadership Enhancement and Development) grew out of the realization that training physicians in leadership skills would benefit both physicians and the College. ACP Hospitalist talked to Erik Wallace, FACP, who led the inaugural LEAD precourse at Internal Medicine 2008.

Journal Watch: Recent studies of note

Recent studies about decreasing cardiogenic shock, Geneva scoring for pulmonary embolism, and other topics

In the News

Top-ranked hospitals have 70% fewer deaths, and other medical updates