Thursday, March 15, 2012

Looking Out for Our Patients

I drove to my CPM preceptor this week thinking, as I often do, "There is so much to learn, to appreciate from this experience -- if only there were four more hours in the day." It's easy to get bogged down by studying for our GI test or our endocrine test and forget that we're all in medical school to, one day, care for patients. Shouldn't CPM be the good part? (No offense to CPM.)

There was a recent article in NEJM that said we shouldn't limit ourselves to caring for our patients, but we should also recognize the need to care about them. It's great to know how to treat a heart attack, but it's also important to know that patients can get a lot of those meds at Wal-Mart -- or WEGMANS! -- for $4/month. The same goes for diabetes, but we have to realize that if you're homeless or you don't have a refrigerator, you can't store your insulin. That is honestly something I had never thought of before reading this article. Perhaps most impressive about the article is the author: Nick Rohrhoff, a senior medical student at the University of Miami. Some of you might recognize his name from a webinar about health care reform he gave to UB last year as the AMA GRAF (Gov't. Relations Advocacy Fellow). Check out the full article here (probably through UB's network, if you're not otherwise subscribed to NEJM).

In a more policy-oriented take on caring about patients, there's been a lot of discussion about transparency to improve patient care vs. hindering physicians' autonomy, and even impairing their professional reputations. Check out this article about peer review as a patient safety initiative, and whether the results of review should be released on the internet or in malpractice suits. Currently, everything is kept "privileged" as per a 2005 federal act, but that hasn't stopped some courts from allowing "facts" to be admissible or, in legal terms I don't exactly understand, discoverable. Check out this article about disclosing physicians' financial relationships with drug and device manufacturers that include anything over $10, including a CME course or a lunch. A lot of physician groups are worried about incorrect information ending up on-line, especially since docs can't correct data on a rolling basis. Then there's always the issue of internet reviews of physicians and hospital score cards -- for that, check out this YouTube video from Hofstra University which, while a few years old now, has some interesting points. Watch out for MSSNY's own Dr. Charles Rothberg (our MSS advisor).

For more MSSNY fun, be sure to stop by Butler Aud. this Monday, 3/19 at 5:30 for the annual Physician Advocacy Day webcast. Not only will it be a great opportunity to learn more about NYS goings-on regarding health care, but it will also be a great networking event, as local docs and professors will be there with us.

If these issues -- or anything else regarding health care or patient care -- speak to you, keep your calendars open on Sunday, 3/25 at 6 for a resolution writing webinar (from home) and on Wednesday, 4/11 at noon in Butler for a more convenient resolution writing workshop hosted by your current AMA E-board. We'll also talk about the AMA national meeting itself, which will be June 14-16 in Chicago. Registration opens on April 2, and the tentative meeting agenda can be found here.

1 comment:

  1. i like it!

    a lot of docs take the perspective: my job is to give pts the information, it's their job whether they are compliant

    this is less emotionally taxing in a way, but it's really the bare minimum of what a doc can do. its nice to see people do more.

    for example, one clinic i worked at had nurses go to the homes of difficult pts and figure out how they could be more compliant with diabetes treatment