February 25, 2014
American academy of pediatrics advises against retail clinics
(UPI) – The American Academy of Pediatrics says retail-based health clinics do not provide children with the high-quality, preventive healthcare they need. An updated policy statement, scheduled to be published in the March issue of Pediatrics, said the AAP emphasized retail-based clinics such as found in drug stores are an inappropriate source of primary care for children because they fragment children’s healthcare and do not support the medical home.
A morbidly obese patient tests the limits of a doctor’s compassion
(Washington Post) – The patient is large. Very large. At more than 600 pounds, he is a mountain of flesh. “My stomach hurts,” he says, his voice surprisingly high and childlike. It is 10 p.m. in the emergency room, and I am already swamped with patients I’m trying to move through the ER before my shift is over. Asked if he’s ever felt this kind of pain before, he says, “No, never. At least, not like this.” “Well, what’d you expect?” the unit secretary mutters, only half to herself.
When men get breast cancer
(New York Times) – Breast cancer is not always pink. That is the message of a provocative new photography series featuring the faces, and scars, of men with breast cancer. The photos, by the New York-based fashion photographer David Jay, are part of his continuing Scar Project, a series of mostly black-and-white portraits that capture the devastation of breast cancer.
A New Edition of Behaviour & Information Technology is Available
Behaviour & Information Technology (Volume 33, No. 3, March 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Collective activities in a technology-mediated medical team. An analysis of epidemiological alert management” by C. Gaudin, et al.
- “Technology-mediated information sharing between patients and clinicians in primary care encounters” by Onur Asan & Enid Montague
- “Observing the use of an input device for rehabilitation purposes” by Cristina Manresa-Yee, et al.
- “Exploring the potential of virtual worlds in engaging older people and supporting healthy aging” by Panote Siriaraya, et al.
- “Promoting healthy computer use: timing-informed computer health animations for prolonged sitting computer users” by Sy-Chyi Wang, et al.
February 24, 2014
Developing countries face ‘leading medical scourge of developed countries’
(Science Daily) – Chronic illness, already a major and expensive problem in developed countries, is rapidly increasing in developing countries, adding to the longstanding burden caused by high rates of infectious diseases. However, poor countries will not be able to afford the costly medical technologies that wealthy countries use to treat chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, pulmonary disease, and diabetes, while also .
February 21, 2014
DNA prostate test ‘will predict deadliest cancer risk’
(BBC) – DNA testing can predict which men face the highest risk of deadly prostate cancer, scientists say. The team at the Institute of Cancer Research, in London, say men could soon be offered genetic screening in a similar way to breast cancer in women. They have shown 14 separate mutations can greatly increase the odds of aggressive prostate cancers, which could form the basis of a test.
Romanian doctors tempted abroad by a better life
(BBC) – “There are several reasons one might stay in Romania,” says medical student Andreea Rosca sweetly, over a ginger beer in a Bucharest bar. “You love your country, you have family, friends. Maybe you dream about changing the system. I personally do not believe it will happen.” In the past seven years, 10,000 doctors and nurses have left Romania, according to estimates from a doctors’ organisation. Most of those who leave are young, at the start of their careers. They cannot live on the 250 euros (£205; $340) monthly starting salary, they say, and unlike older doctors are insufficiently experienced to set up a private practice, parallel to their work in state hospitals.
Thyroid cancer nearly triples; research blames “epidemic” on overdiagnosis of harmless tumors
(Associated Press) – A dramatic rise in thyroid cancer has resulted from overdiagnosis and treatment of tumors too small to ever cause harm, according to a study that found cases nearly tripled since 1975. The study is the latest to question whether all cancers need aggressive treatment. Other research has suggested that certain cancers of the prostate, breast and lung as well as thyroid grow so slowly that they will never become deadly, and that overzealous screening leads to overtreatment.
Online doctor ratings about as useful as those for restaurants
(NPR) – If you’re looking to go out for dinner, see a movie or plunk down big bucks on a new TV, chances are you’ll look online for help with the decision. Lots of people are now checking out potential doctors that way, too. Online ratings are becoming part of how many Americans shop for a physician, according to a study in the latest issue of JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.
Insurance, not injuries, may determine who goes to trauma centers
(Kaiser Health News) – It’s called “patient dumping” – when hospitals transfer patients without insurance to public hospitals. But a new study from Stanford University has turned dumping on its head. It finds that hospitals are less likely to transfer critically injured patients to trauma centers if they have health insurance.
February 20, 2014
Cancer study shows earlier palliative care improves quality of life, patient satisfaction
(Medical Xpress) – Results of the first clinical study to assess the impact of providing early outpatient palliative care versus standard oncology care in a wide range of advanced cancers show that earlier care improved quality of life and patient satisfaction. The four-year study involved 461 patients at 24 medical oncology clinics at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network (UHN) with advanced lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, breast and gynecologic cancers.
February 19, 2014
Maternal deaths still high in Ethiopia: Strategies for improving mother’s health around the world
(Medical Daily) – With limited resources, developing countries continue to have a hard time keeping mothers and newborns alive and healthy during — and after — childbirth. Highlighting the problems mothers in Ethiopia face, a special issue of the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health published online Feb. 18, explores how community-based methods maintain the health of mothers and their newborn children.
Healthcare organizations under siege from cyberattacks, study says
(Los Angeles Times) Add this to the list of things to freak you out: Healthcare organizations of all kinds are being routinely attacked and compromised by increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. A new study set to be officially released Wednesday found that networks and Internet-connected devices in places such as hospitals, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies are under siege and in many cases have been infiltrated without their knowledge.
February 18, 2014
A gentle guide at life’s end
(Las Vegas Review Journal) – Dr. Warren Wheeler begins his workday with morning rounds. Accompanied by a handful of students and medical staff members, Wheeler visits his patients and greets them by name, introduces himself and asks how they feel, whether they are experiencing any pain and whether they feel comfortable. They’re the sort of questions most doctors ask patients during rounds. But it takes a few minutes to notice the small touches of dignity and compassion that Wheeler weaves into each patient interaction.
Hospice Voices: Lessons for Living at the End of Life
(Nursing Times) – Eric Lindner is a Hospice volunteer in US and this book charts his experiences in this role over the last four years via a series of carefully crafted and sensitively written vignettes. He has no background in health care and approaches his encounters in a modest and forthright manner that comes across strongly in the text. It’s written in a mix of first and third person narrative, which helps keep the story telling alive to the reader, yet gives it the feel of a short novella rather than an informative learning text. As such the reader is given a detailed insight into the lives, loves and tragic losses of these people and their complex family circumstances.
February 17, 2014
(The Economist) – In the mid-2000s American insurers set out to find these savings by touring foreign private hospitals. They found that many were as good as their rich-world counterparts, and far cheaper. A big shake-up seemed likely. In 2008 Deloitte predicted an “explosive” boom in medical tourism, saying that the number of Americans going abroad for health care would grow more than tenfold by 2012. It did not happen.
Cancer doctors have opportunities to cut costs without risk to patients, experts say
(Science Codex) – In a review article published Feb. 14 in The Lancet Oncology, Johns Hopkins experts identify three major sources of high cancer costs and argue that cancer doctors can likely reduce them without harm to patients. The cost-cutting proposals call for changes in routine clinical practice involved in end-of-life care, medical imaging and drug pricing.
February 14, 2014
A drug-dealing robot that upends the pharmacy model
(Wired) – The technical backbone of PillPack is a suite of drug-dealing robots. A large, beige machine in PillPack’s New Hampshire office is filled with a cornucopia of curatives which are dispensed into the plastic packets. The strip of dose packs is then fed through another robot that reviews each plastic packet for quality control purposes before a team of pharmacists double check the prescriptions and send them off to patients.
Apprehensive, many doctors shift to jobs with salaries
(New York Times) – American physicians, worried about changes in the health care market, are streaming into salaried jobs with hospitals. Though the shift from private practice has been most pronounced in primary care, specialists are following. Last year, 64 percent of job offers filled through Merritt Hawkins, one of the nation’s leading physician placement firms, involved hospital employment, compared with only 11 percent in 2004. The firm anticipates a rise to 75 percent in the next two years.
Are doctors being exploited?
(Medscape) – Physicians have seen their incomes fall, their clout with insurers shrink, and their practices weighed down by a plethora of new requirements. As some doctors see it, this is the direct result of exploitation by payers, hospitals, policymakers, and other groups that have become more powerful than their own profession.
February 13, 2014
‘Nearly-comatose’ Pakistani student may be sent home
(ABC News) – A nearly-comatose Pakistani student, who was studying in Wisconsin, may be sent back to Pakistan after his student visa runs out at the end of February even though he can no longer talk or care for himself. Muhammad Shahzaib Bajwa, 20, was studying at the University of Wisconsin-Superior when he was in a car accident in November. The car carrying Shahzaib Bajwa hit a deer and the 20-year-old suffered multiple fractures in his face after the animal went through the windshield. At the hospital he choked on his own blood and temporarily went into cardiac arrest.