Telemedicine, afib, and Parkinson's

This month's issue offers examples of telemedicine in action and tips on atrial fibrillation and Parkinson's disease.

Five years ago, I wrote an article that asked whether you would all soon work inside robots (“The Telehospitalist,” September 2014 ACP Hospitalist). Clearly, that is not the case, but this month's main story highlights how virtual visits and consults are becoming an increasingly common component of hospital medicine. From infectious disease specialists providing their expertise in connections with rural hospitals to intensivists moving (temporarily) to Australia to cover night shifts in an Atlanta ICU, the article gathers intriguing examples of telemedicine in action.

Our inside feature stories cover some more universal aspects of hospital medicine—Parkinson's disease and atrial fibrillation. As the first article explains, although patients with Parkinson's are most often admitted for other causes, the disease and its treatments need to be front and center in hospitalists' minds. Otherwise, seemingly minor issues like a change in medication timing can cause major effects on function and symptoms.

As for atrial fibrillation, dilemmas include balancing the risks and benefits of anticoagulation and screening. The article offers the latest data and expert advice on these issues. A related Test Yourself offers questions from MKSAP 18.

Even the experts have not figured out how to prevent readmissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. But a group of them offered their best ideas on this clinically and financially important topic during the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society, reported in our conference coverage.

When you've had enough clinical and practical advice, turn to this month's Success Story for a change of pace. It will give you some feelings. Want to share them? Email us anytime at

Stacey Butterfield