Leading Conversations on the Future of Health Care at the Aspen Ideas Festival

The future of medicine, maintaining an edge in biomedical innovation, and the cost of health care in America were among the topics explored by Mount Sinai Health System leaders during the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, a yearly conclave that attracts several thousand policy makers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and executives who participate in thought-provoking discussions on health care and other major issues that impact America.

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Mount Sinai Doctors Among the Best in New York

The Mount Sinai Health System was highly represented in New York magazine’s recently released list of “Best Doctors in New York,” which named 227 physicians from all seven hospitals and 36 doctors from Mount Sinai’s affiliated hospitals. The 263 physicians represented 21 percent of the total 1,251 doctors on New York magazine’s 2014 list, which appeared online and in the June 9-15, 2014 print edition. The list covers physicians from throughout the New York metropolitan region, including Connecticut and New Jersey.

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Courteous bedside manners are associated with improved patient recovery & satisfaction

Recently an article in Becker’s Hospital Review reported that hospital interns generally failed to use “five key communications strategies, including introducing themselves, explaining their role in the patient’s care, touching the patient, asking open-ended questions such as “How are you feeling today?” and sitting down with the patient. The five actions are components of what is termed “etiquette-based medicine,” as described in a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine article by Michael W. Kahn, MD.”

“With internal medicine in particular, especially these days, it’s about chronic medical problems and chronic care, where much of what we need to do is motivate the patient to provide self-care and self-management to improve their health over the long term … You can’t do that if you’re not connecting with the patient very well.”

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Coughing into your elbow is a good idea … But for God’s sake, wash your hands

Everyone is still coughing into their elbow crook, but is it evidence-based? A recent article in DETAILS explained:

“Researchers have seen that a fair number of respiratory particles still escape into the surrounding air, even when an barrier like a tissue, sleeve, hand, or surgical mask is placed in front of the cougher’s mouth, … Plus, the droplets that sneak past cough-blocking barriers are the tiniest ones, which are light enough to hang around in the air for hours and small enough to penetrate your cube mate’s respiratory tract.”

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Cancer patients may learn that some of the best cancer hospitals are off-limits

Recently the New York Post reported “An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington state’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more”

“Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators. In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state exchange”.

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“The experience showed me U.S. medicine at its capable, caring best …”

Recently a New York Daily News article was a first person story of experience with the health care system.

“My plunge into the world of ambulances, emergency rooms and minor surgery came without warning, like a trapdoor opening beneath my feet. One second, I was skiing along happily in upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains with my son and a group of friends. The next, I was writhing on the slope in pain — having wrenched my right leg in an awkward, slow-speed fall. In the blink of an eye, I went from a healthy and independent 52-year-old to a trauma victim in need of a lot of expert help from a lot of people.”

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“Would you rather your doctor won the “quality” contest by doing good list management.or spent that time listening to you?”

Recently an article in the Wall Street Journal noted “Quality” has been the buzzword in health care for a decade, but the worthy goal is driving health-care providers to distraction. All stakeholders—insurers, patients, hospital administrators and government watchdogs—are demanding metrics to ensure that money is spent wisely.

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Choosing Wisely: Technology to help you make a list of questions to ask your doctor

To get the most benefit out of a visit to your doctor, you should prepare beforehand! It really pays off to write down your questions in advance. Now there are resources available to help you get ready.

In my campaign to encourage patients to talk openly to their physicians I came across CHOOSING WISELY.

“Choosing Wisely is focused on encouraging physicians, patients and other health care stakeholders to think and talk about medical tests and procedures that may be unnecessary, and in some instances can cause harm.”

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“…You can prevent a medical error by simply asking the right questions”

A recent ivillage.com article offered some advice on what to do and not do to when getting started with a physician.

“The doctor should ask thorough questions but the patient needs to be honest and not withhold information, even if it’s embarrassing or hard to talk about. Know your – and your family’s – medical history and bring in any medications you are taking, even if you think they are unrelated. If the doctor doesn’t have all the information, the likelihood of a misdiagnosis increases.

Don’t be shy: Whether it’s voicing concerns or mentioning tests you’ve read about or asking about drug interactions, patients need to speak up. It’s ok to do your own homework, just don’t get too caught up in self-diagnosing online before your appointment …”

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