Issues impacting the hospital medicine movement, ranging from end-of-life care and patient safety to the driving forces behind the growth of the specialty, received coverage in numerous media outlets over the past two weeks.
In a feature piece in The Atlantic, SHM member Dr. Ricardo Nuila recounted how hospital deaths had impacted him throughout his time as a hospitalist and highlighted outcomes of a joint meeting between SHM and The Hastings Center regarding the evolving philosophy of end-of-life care discussions.
Quality improvement and patient safety were highlighted by both CNN and by Dr. Bob Wachter in Health Affairs. The CNN article cited Journal of Hospital Medicine research while exploring recent successful attempts to improve quality of patient sleep in the hospital. For Health Affairs, Dr. Wachter penned a post in which he called for improved standards for healthcare workers regarding hand hygiene and influenza vaccinations. In response, Dr. Brad Flansbaum delved deeper into potential solutions to fortify hand hygiene standards in a blog post on The Hospital Leader, which was later republished on MedPage Today.
Business blog Bizmology and Pennsylvania regional news outlet the Times Leader featured the rise of hospitalists in the US medical workforce and their benefits to patients. And in a growing field, the last article in this issue of media highlights, healthcare attorney Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD, responds to a Medscape reader’s question concerning whether nurse practitioners can serve as attending physicians for billing purposes.
Media Highlights: August 13 – August 27, 2015
Whose Job Is It to Talk to Patients About Death?
In the U.S. health-care system, it’s often unclear who should talk to patients about end-of-life care options. Medicare’s new reimbursement scheme may incentivize doctors to take ownership of those difficult conversations. SHM member Dr. Ricardo Nuila discusses his personal experiences on end-of-life care discussions and how recent Medicare changes will revolutionize these conversations moving forward.
August 18, 2015
Hospitals work on allowing patients to actually sleep
It’s a common complaint — if you spend a night in the hospital, you probably won’t get much sleep. There’s the noise. There’s the bright fluorescent hallway light. And there’s the unending barrage of nighttime interruptions: vitals checks, medication administration, blood draws and the rest. A Journal of Hospital Medicine study looked at efforts to encourage patient sleep — particularly by rescheduling activities, nighttime checks and overnight medication doses so as not to wake patients. The study found a 49% drop in the number of patients who were given sedatives.
August 16, 2015
The Must Do List: Certain Patient Safety Rules Should Not Be Elective
The modern patient safety field was built on a foundation of “systems thinking,” namely, that we should avoid assigning individual blame for errors, instead focusing on identifying and fixing dysfunctional systems. While this approach is largely correct and is responsible for many of the field’s successes, it needs to be balanced with a need for accountability.
August 20, 2015
Catch Me if You Can (With Dirty Hands, That Is)
Economists describe preferences in two ways: revealed and stated. Say, for example, I asked you to implement a penalty program for your team with the goal of decreasing the number of occasions members did not clean their hands after a patient encounter. Because you know bad hands equal bad outcomes, you’re apt to offer up a more than token sanction. Maybe it’s a financial levy or required service beyond the expected, but you will probably suggest a “punishment” that does not quite smart, but imparts just a bit of a sting. Your stated preference.
August 27, 2015
MedPage Today, originally appeared here on The Hospital Leader blog
Hospitalists on the Rise in the US Medical Workforce
For several years, hospitals have been jumping on the hospitalist train, and that train shows no sign of slowing down. Hospitalists are medical doctors who work permanently in a hospital, as opposed to primary care physicians, who commute between their medical practices and hospitals to provide patient care. Hospitalists might be trained in general internal medicine or family practice, or they might be specialists in a range of fields that includes obstetrics and gynecology.
August 26, 2015
Northeastern Pennsylvania has growing medical field – hospitalist
Wyoming Valley hospitals have cashed in on a growing trend to use hospitalists to cut the duration of a patient’s hospital stay and streamline healthcare. A hospitalist is a medical doctor trained in the areas of general internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics or a specialty field such as an OBGYN. Hospitalists permanently work in a hospital overseeing the care of patients. Primary care physicians no longer have to commute to and from a hospital to administer patient care.
August 21, 2015
Can a Nurse Practitioner Be the ‘Attending Physician’ in the Hospital Setting?
In a hospital setting, where a nurse practitioner is acting as a hospitalist, can the nurse practitioner be considered the “attending” for billing purposes if no other physician hospitalist visited the patient? Healthcare attorney Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD responds to the question, citing Medicare’s direction about who can be the “attending physician” on record.
August 26, 2015