Is Your Doctor To Busy To Listen To You?

Recently a New York Times article reported this vignette.

“A close family friend with cancer had gone to see him (a renowned physician) some years back. When the friend started asking questions about the treatment plan, the doctor had stopped him midsentence, glared at him and said, “If you ask one more question, I’ll refuse to treat you.”

“What could I do?” the friend later said. “He’s the best, and I wanted him to take care of me, so I shut up.”

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“The Doctor-Patient Relationship Is Ideally An Intimate Partnership Where Information Is Exchanged Openly And Honestly.”

A recent New York Times article addressed this concept by stating “That it is seldom the reality, however. Deception in the doctor-patient relationship is more common than we’d like to believe. Deception is a charged word. It encapsulates precisely what we dread most in a doctor-patient relationship, and yet it is there in medicine, and it often runs both ways.”

Then a vignette:

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Preventing Clothing Infection Transmission From Your Doctor

We used to hear that male pediatricians do not wear ties to prevent the spread of infection.

Recently an article in the New England Journal of Medicine “issued new guidelines to help prevent infection transmission through healthcare personnel attire outside the operating room,” while acknowledging “role of clothing in cross-transmission remains ‘poorly established.’”

Among the recommendations, published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology:

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Courteous Bedside Manners Are Associated With Improved Patient Recovery And 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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Why Don’t Patients Remind Medical Professionals To Wash Their Hands?

I ask this question to every clinician examining me, doing a procedure on me, or drawing blood from me. Physicians. Dentists. Phlebotomists. Radiology techs. PTs.

And I prefer they wash their hands in front of me. Proper hand washing is the single most effective preventive medicine measure.

Recently a Bloomberg News article explained why it is important to remind clinicians to wash their hands. “Physicians shouldn’t take offense. We all can benefit from reminders about the basics. Years of education and expertise don’t mean that medical professionals aren’t human, and may sometimes forget a step in even routine procedures.”

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Mount Sinai to Adopt New Diagnostic Code System

The Mount Sinai Health System, as well as every health care institution in the United States, will begin to use a more detailed set of codes to notate medical diagnosis and clinical procedures on patient medical records. This is an extraordinary undertaking that will involve several thousand faculty and voluntary physicians, practice managers, and staff in such departments as Clinical Documentation Improvement, Audit, and Compliance, who will need training over the coming months.

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