What's new on ACP Internist's blog

The hits keep coming on ACP Internist’s blog, launched last May. Daily updates provide readers with the latest news relevant to internal and hospital medicine.

The hits keep coming on ACP Internist's blog, launched last May. Daily updates provide readers with the latest news relevant to internal and hospital medicine. Physician guest bloggers offer coverage from the front lines of medicine, while the staff of ACP Internist and ACP Hospitalist give their unique takes on the trends affecting U.S. health care, including the weekly feature “Medical news of the obvious.” In upcoming months, the blog will feature on-site conference coverage from the American Academy of Neurology, the Society of Hospital Medicine and ACP's own Internal Medicine 2009.

Here's a sampling of recent posts and comments from the blog. Go online to join the conversation.

Recent posts on academic medicine

The Catch-22 of catching Z's A new Institute of Medicine report finds that medical residents are still—despite the institution of work-hour limits—not sleeping enough. It's a finding that almost anyone (except those grumpy old guys who also walked uphill both ways to their residencies) would agree with …

Internship years often trigger depression Recent research involving medical students in Brazil suggests that professors should be alert to signs of suicidal thoughts during the internship years, when students appear mostly likely to suffer from depression …

Posts on health care policy

Insurance insurance (no, that's not a typo) Worried that the recession might lead you to lose your job and therefore your health insurance? Relax. UnitedHealth is here to ease your mind with a new policy that will ensure your right to buy insurance in the future if you get sick…

Is health care the new Hummer? Rationing is in. First, we learned that we all need to cut back on our carbon output, then it was discretionary spending that had to be restricted. Now, some health care analysts are pointing out the painful truth that the only affordable, equitable way to provide health care may be to ration it …

Guest bloggers

Consumer-driven health care—FAIL How can you expect the patient to make good health care purchasing decisions if they can't find out the price of a service? My patient has a $3,500 deductible before insurance will pay anything. She is young and mainly needs preventive care so she is paying out-of-pocket for everything until she hits $3,500 (which certainly didn't happen this year). She was charged $308 for a blood test for Vit D level. Yes, $308 for one test. —by Toni Brayer, FACP

Reader comments

I agree that as we spend money we don't have like a drunken sailor, maybe now is the time. Ultimately health care reform is a net savings for our debt-laden economy. —Anonymous on “Obama should read the NEJM.

I actually witnessed the results of a drug rating tool recently—it was supposed to empower patients by polling many of them about what “works best” for various pain syndromes. Interestingly, oxycontin rose to the top of the popularity list for everything from headache to rheumatoid arthritis. Take home message: popularity is no way to discern relevancy. —by Dr. Val on “I found my brain tumor on the Internet!”

The lighter side

Medical news of the obvious

  • With icy winds sweeping the Northeast, it's obvious that many of us would rather be relaxing on a warm, sunny beach. That must be why Aussie researchers decided to release a study confirming conventional wisdom about life at the shore. “Adults and adolescents are particularly at risk for intense, episodic sun exposure while on vacation or in ‘high-risk’ environments such as beaches,” the authors wrote.
  • When officials in Florida implemented a law in January 2004 requiring all drivers 80 years and older to pass a vision test before renewing their driver's licenses, did they ever in a million years think that it would lead to fewer crashes? Well, yes, of course they did. But, now there's evidence, notes a press release announcing the results of an Archives of Ophthalmology study. It turns out that failing the DMV's vision screening test removed some shaky drivers from the road and encouraged others to get better glasses.