Healthcare Policy, EHR Security and MOC Make Hospital Medicine News

This issue of SHM & Hospital Medicine in the News features:

  • A profile of hospitalist and SHM leader Dr. Patrick Conway in The New York Times, which explores how his experience as a hospitalist and commitment to improving patient care informs his decisions on healthcare policy.
  • An update on the high-profile reproductive rights case, Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, including the submission of SHM’s amicus brief, which provides clarification on hospitalists’ roles in admissions and inpatient care and how provider-to-provider transitions occur.
  • The recently introduced New York state requirement for paperless prescribing to fight painkiller abuse and the mixed feedback from doctors and patients alike.
  • The growing concern of medical hackers obtaining access to hospitals’ computer systems; an ABC News story highlights another recent attempt that shut down one health system’s EHR, email and other databases and the system’s response.
  • The rise of “retail health” (i.e. pharmacy clinics at Walgreens and Rite Aid) as a perceived alternative to traditional doctor and emergency room visits and the potential impact on hospitals.
  • Blog posts on The Hospital Leader from Burke Kealey and Brad Flansbaum, respectively commenting on the past year of controversy surrounding MOC and the ABIM and a breakthrough study led by Andy Auerbach on readmissions published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

 

Media Highlights: March 17 – 31, 2016

Shaping Health Policy for Millions, and Still Treating Some on the Side

On weekdays, Dr. Patrick H. Conway is one of the most powerful doctors in America, steering federal health programs that spend nearly $1 trillion a year while shaping health policies that affect tens of millions of citizens. On many weekends, he is just another doctor in blue sterile gloves and a yellow gown with a stethoscope around his neck, comforting children and training young physicians, many of whom have no idea of his other role.

March 29, 2016
The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/us/politics/patrick-conway-medicare-medicaid.html

 

Check Your Privilege – Dispelling Misconceptions about Abortion Care and Hospital Admitting Privileges

With scholars and media alike calling it the most important reproductive rights case in a decade, the US Supreme Court justices convened on March 2 to hear arguments for Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt. At issue is whether a 2013 law is in opposition to the 1992 precedent that prohibits states from enacting legislation that puts an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose. Although it has not been the central focus of much of the coverage of the case to date, the issue of admitting privileges is integral to determining the legitimacy of the claim that H.B. 2 is an improvement on patient safety for abortion care or an attempt to restrict access to abortions by creating unnecessary standards for providers. But does the legislation reflect the reality in how admitting privileges actually work?

March 22, 2016
Medscape
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/860485

 

As NY Demands Paperless Prescribing, Doctors Are Mixed

The scribbled, cryptic doctor’s prescription is headed toward eradication in New York, where the nation’s toughest paperless-prescribing requirement takes effect this month. Instead of handing patients slips of paper, physicians soon must electronically send orders directly to pharmacies for everything from antibiotics to cholesterol pills to painkillers, with some exceptions. Otherwise, prescribers face the possibility of fines, license loss or even jail.

March 19, 2016
The Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/as-ny-demands-paperless-prescribing-doctors-are-mixed/2016/03/19/78dcf8d8-edef-11e5-a9ce-681055c7a05f_story.html

 

MedStar Paralyzed as Hackers Take Aim at Another US Hospital

Modern medicine in the Washington area reverted to 1960s-era paper systems when one of the largest hospital chains was crippled by a virus that shuttered its computers for patients and medical staff.

The FBI said it was investigating the paralyzing attack on MedStar Health Inc., which forced records systems offline, prevented patients from booking appointments, and left staff unable to check email messages or even look up phone numbers. The incident was the latest against U.S. medical providers, coming weeks after a California hospital paid ransom to free its infected systems using the bitcoin currency.

 March 29, 2016
ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/medstar-paralyzed-hackers-aim-us-hospital-37995261

 

Five Implications for Hospitals Now That Retail is Health Care’s New Front Door

There’s a new front door to the U.S. health care system, and it’s not your hospital’s emergency department or doctors’ offices. A new report, released Wednesday by Oliver Wyman, says it’s actually retail health clinics, located down the street at places like Walgreens and CVS. While some docs may believe that there’s no comparison between the two types of visits, interviews with 2,000 individuals show that consumers feel differently.  

March 17, 2016
Hospitals & Health Networks
http://www.hhnmag.com/articles/7048-five-implications-for-hospitals-now-that-retail-is-health-cares-new-front-door

 

The Tale of the Black Knight: ABIM a Year in Review

I passed! Let me tell you I was nervous. Perhaps it isn’t the smartest thing in the world to announce publically on your blog that you are up for recertification and preparing to sit for the secure examination. As I reflect on the tumultuous year past, not just in my own life, scrambling to fulfill the requirements of MOC and hours upon hours studying, but also in the very public spectacle of the ABIM and Rich Baron, the public face of the organization, taking blow after blow from the medical community and others and even then only reluctantly and superficially responding. The whole thing has played out like the encounter with the implacable Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 

March 29, 2016
The Hospital Leader blog
http://thehospitalleader.org/the-tale-of-the-black-knight-abim-a-year-in-review/

 

Here’s Why This Is the Best Study on Readmissions to Date

Love or hate readmission rates as an effective measure of institutional performance, the benchmark has become the coin of the realm for QI gurus, policy geeks, and stat crunchers. As such, we see new journal releases every week–mostly data dives into large registries where the conclusions proffered are tentative at best.  Clinicians rarely get studies comprised of patient-level information whose findings may impact how to better organize their PI interventions and direct care. That just changed.

 March 31, 2016
The Hospital Leader blog
http://thehospitalleader.org/heres-why-this-is-the-best-study-on-readmissions-to-date/

Brett Radler is the Communications Specialist at the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM). He is responsible for managing the day-to-day social media engagement across SHM’s social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, and assists in the management of SHM’s blog, The Hospital Leader. In addition to his social media roles, Brett develops content for SHM’s monthly newsmagazine, The Hospitalist, and monitors media coverage relevant to the hospital medicine movement.

Brett holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and also serves as on-air talent at a New Jersey radio station in his spare time.

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