Letter from the Editor

This month's issue includes articles on telehospitalist medicine, disease outbreak response, a novel solution to recurrent Clostridium difficile, and more.

Some careers, like information technology and writing, seem like natural fits for telecommuting. Hospital medicine, on the other hand, has always seemed to require the doctor to be up close and personal. It turns out, however, that's not necessarily the case. Hospitalists increasingly have options to live wherever they wish and practice medicine in another state or country—to be telehospitalists. Thanks to technology—think robots, in some cases—patients and doctors can see one another virtually, while nurses or other staff members can serve as the “hands on” partners in caring for patients. Our cover story provides examples of successful telemedicine practices, explains how telehospitalist medicine works practically and financially, and reveals how patients and colleagues react to it.

With Ebola fears sweeping the nation and world, it was a challenging summer for anyone involved with infectious diseases. Although new infectious threats are always a possibility, vector-borne illnesses are now waning with the cooler weather, providing a good opportunity for hospitals and physicians to evaluate and test their disease outbreak practices. Read our feature story for some ideas on how hospitalists can contribute to implementing best practices for potential disease outbreaks.

We also have a Brief Case installment from several hospitals in Puerto Rico, replete with images that illustrate conditions such as pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, Histoplasmosis capsulatum, and idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Meanwhile, our Success Story could make many of your patients with persistent Clostridium difficile happy. It discusses how one physician discovered an alternative to fecal transplants by “think(ing) along the lines of a bacterium” and using staggered, tapered antibiotic doses and kefir for treatment.

Do you have a comment or question about a story we've published? Feel free to write to us anytime. We'd love to hear from you.

Jessica Berthold
Editor-in-Chief, ACP Hospitalist