Letter from the Editor

Some of this issue's topics include substance abuse in doctors, improved transitions of care, and appropriate use of telemetry.

Poor hygiene, sloppy charting, missed appointments...and perhaps a telltale smell on the breath. What's a doctor to do if she suspects a colleague has an alcohol or drug problem? Assistance is at hand. Most states run physician health programs, which help connect doctors to confidential treatment, oversight and monitoring for substance abuse. Learn more about these programs, and the unique risk factors for abuse faced by certain types of physicians, in our cover story.

Care transitions are a perpetual priority for hospitalists—and often, a sticky wicket. That's especially the case when uninsured and underinsured patients are involved since they face unique logistical challenges. Realizing this, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have implemented a novel program whereby OHSU Hospital pays clinics to provide these patients with outpatient care after discharge. A full-time transitional care nurse handles their initial follow up, and the program offers low-cost medication plans through a hospital formulary. Read more about this inspiring program.

Appropriate use of cardiac monitoring is another longstanding battle on the wards. Hospitalists may feel comforted by ordering telemetry for patients with chest pain, but the result can be aggravating logjams in the emergency department. To learn how your facility can implement and enforce clear guidelines for admitting to and transferring from telemetry, read our feature story. Then try our MKSAP quiz to test how much you know about when—and when not—to use telemetry.

In other clinical coverage, our expert analysis offers helpful advice on whether and how to use parenteral iron for treating preoperative iron deficiency anemia. If you'd like a mental break, read our Student Hospitalist column for a verbal and pictorial tour of historic Parisian hospitals.

To provide feedback on these or other stories, please email us. We're always glad to hear from you.

Jessica Berthold Editor
ACP Hospitalist