Research

Male Versus Female Hospitalists

If you have paid attention to the news, you picked up the study out in JAMA concerning how male versus female physicians deliver inpatient care.  Not just any inpatient docs, though, but hospitalists. The investigators were meticulous in their analysis of over a million Medicare beneficiaries and looked at readmit and mortality rates.  They examined various diagnoses and adjusted for the usual doctor and hospital characteristics. Across the board, males took a drubbing and the NNT for both outcomes of interest hovered around 200 (0.5% absolute difference). Ashish Jha, one of the investigators and a leader in the study of hospital quality and safety (who really needs to speak at an SHM annual, incidentally) goes into more depth over at his blog: (more…)

BREAKING NEWS: “Physicians Deemed Unnecessary”; “Social Worker Promoted to Hospital CEO”

“Physicians deemed unnecessary, ½ of all hospitals expect to be using artificial intelligence technology by 2020. Medical schools begin to shutter.” (See New England Journey of Medicine 2016.) “Social worker of inner city hospital found to be the most cost effective position in the system, promoted to CEO.” “Patients HCAHPS surveys determined to be filled out by their pets 90% of the time. Industry chief states this improves surveys have never been more accurate and recommends tying 100% of salary to Rover’s results.” (See webofliesmd.com for those last two.) So ran some Facebook headlines from my Macedonia buddy. Makes me long for the days of getting duped by The Onion. Fake news, as opposed to satirical news, is the latest virus infecting the web. They travel online faster than Usain Bolt. We are passed the era of truthiness and into the realm of post-truth. With newspaper subscription rates declining faster than ever, the search for real news gets harder and harder. Truth…

Count Me – and My Intuition – In

In modern medicine, we’re surrounded by EMR systems, lab tests and increasingly complex medical equipment. But I sometimes stop and wonder: Where does my intuition fit into the equation? Case in point: The other day, I had one of those days that happens in hospital medicine where nothing goes right. A patient admitted right at change of shift, with a diabetic foot ulcer as a chief complaint, was found to have an 8.0-gram hemoglobin drop from her baseline. Further questioning by the night admitting MD revealed that the patient had been having melena for several days. GI was consulted, but the lab was considered to be spurious. A stat repeat CBC and type and crossmatch was ordered. The EMR system was down, though this was not apparent at first. Because of this, it was not immediately evident that the lab could not see the order entered into the EMR system.…

Wow! A Two-fer

First I hear the American Board of Pediatrics ordains hospital medicine as a bonafide subspecialty. Then, for the adults among us, CMS issues a hospitalist specialty code.  No joke.  A specialty code--go live on April 3, 2017. This has been a laborious task and years in the making. Have a lookie: If you are scratching your head and wondering about the fuss, let me tell you the insights we will draw from the new knowledge and why it will advance our specialty.  For years, hospitalists got lumped with "generalists" when CMS, researchers, or insurance companies ventured to look at physician utilization patterns and service to the healthcare system. What was our individual and collective cost or contribution to a case?  Who understood.  Any interested party trying to untangle what a doc was producing during a hospital stay had only billing patterns, i.e., the percentage of inpatient codes one charged, to determine if…

Next on #JHMChat: Ideas from Residents to Root Out Routine Labs

While the saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, I think we all assume you can teach a new dog new tricks… or at least all of us in medical education believe this! However, new research in the Journal of Hospital Medicine highlights that maybe the old dog is the key to the puzzle after all. In the case of routine labs, a practice that has already been called into question by the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Choosing Wisely list, the majority of medicine and surgery residents at University of Pennsylvania admitted that they engaged in unnecessary ordering of inpatient labs, with over a third of them occurring on a daily basis! Why is this so hard to change? Not surprisingly, one of the key culprits was it was hard-to-break habit. However, several of the top reasons were also related to the “old dog”, also known as…