Letter from the Editor

This month's issue features a look at end-of-life care in the ICU, as well as subconscious bias, rapid testing for infectious disease, and more.

A new year is a good time to tackle a tough task, whether it's losing weight or improving end-of-life care in the ICU. This issue's cover story looks at inconsistencies in ICU care for patients at the end of their lives. A surprising number of such patients who have expressed their desire to limit treatment still end up in the ICU and even receiving CPR, recent studies have found. The article gathers advice from intensive and palliative care experts on how hospitalists can help ensure that patients' care preferences are elicited and followed. This month's Q&A is on a related theme, describing a very simple intervention that can help clinicians respond to the loss of a patient in the hospital.

Correcting implicit racial bias is another tough challenge facing hospitals and hospitalists. An article explains how your brain's subconscious workings could be contributing to the disparities in U.S. health care. Happily, there are also some solutions to this problem, including quick tips physicians can apply during patient encounters. Speaking of quick, another article in this issue reports on the increasing availability of rapid tests for infectious disease. The new tests hold the appealing potential to speed diagnosis and treatment, but questions about accuracy and cost remain.

Speeding the admission process is a potential advantage of the innovation described in this month's Success Story. A team of ED physicians developed an app to help with the review of symptoms.

This issue also includes the second installment of our Morning Report feature. Is there a condition you'd like to see covered in it? Let us know.

Stacey Butterfield
Editor-in-Chief, ACP Hospitalist