Recently The Atlantic reported: “As doctors and nurses move through hospitals, they aren’t the only ones making rounds—hitching a ride on their hands are dangerous bacteria that can lead to infections ranging from antibiotic-resistant staph to norovirus.”
“In recent years, a number of companies have designed systems that aim to nudge doctors and nurses into washing their hands regularly. One of these devices, a badge made by Biovigil, aims to exploit a very powerful emotion: shame. When a doctor enters an exam room, the badge chirps and a light on it turns yellow—a reminder to the doctor as well as an alert to the patient that he is about to be touched by someone with unclean hands. If the doctor doesn’t wash her hands, the light flashes red and the badge makes a disapproving noise. After the doctor waves a freshly sanitized hand in front of the badge, alcohol vapors trigger a sensor that changes the light from red to green.”
How about your basic health data? The solution may be a Personal Health Record.
Here’s some information on PHRs from the Mayor Clinic:
An electronic personal health record makes it easy to gather and manage your medical information in one accessible and secure location.
A recent New York Times article noted “Doctors’ stethoscopes are contaminated with bacteria that can easily be transferred from one patient to another …”
“Researchers cultured bacteria from the fingertips, palms and stethoscopes of three doctors who had done standard physical examinations on 83 patients at a Swiss hospital. They tested for the presence of viable bacterial cells, looking specifically for the potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.”
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:
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:
“… in wild profusion because, in his experience, every question had an answer and a test that would get you there.”
We have become a society where test scores are associated with success so it is not surprising that this has become a controversy in physician education.
Recently an article in the New York Times noted: “My young friend had just finished the last months of his medical training. He had faced down many multiple-choice tests and triumphed over them all.”
The Kaiser Famly Foundation noted: “As of August 14, 2014, the Ebola virus has infected an estimated 1,975 individuals across four countries in West Africa, leading to 1,069 deaths (including three Americans). The official reported numbers, frightening as they are, likely vastly underestimate the true magnitude of the outbreak. Ebola has severely impacted the daily life of affected communities, and raised concerns across the globe about its ongoing spread. The fact that this outbreak has led to so many cases and deaths (approximately 45% of all cases of Ebola ever reported have come since March of this year) is concerning for the individuals and families struggling with the disease, and leads to questions regarding the global capacity to detect and respond to such events. It also brings up four key policy questions for the U.S. concerning its engagement with the international community’s efforts to combat Ebola and other emerging infectious disease outbreaks.”
Modern Healthcare noted: “The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued a warning to the public after receiving consumer complaints of products being sold online claiming to prevent or treat the Ebola virus that has killed more than 1,000 people across four countries in West Africa.
The severity of the Ebola outbreak has recently led Nigeria to issue a stern warning to anyone—such as faith healers and traditional medicine practitioners—promoting Ebola cures that they risk arrest, according to reports.
NPR reported: “On Monday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrived in Liberia to assess the Ebola outbreak. The situation “is overwhelming,” he said.
The outbreak “really is a crisis and is affecting most if not all the counties in Liberia already,” he told NPR from Monrovia, the capital city and first stop on a three-country visit. “This is absolutely unprecedented.”
The CDC, Frieden said, “is working flat out on this, but this is huge and needs a global response … They need a lot of help from the world.”
The New York Times reported: “Hospitals nationwide are hustling to prepare for the first traveler from West Africa who arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said such a case is inevitable in the United States, and the agency this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients.
The recommendations touch on everything from the safe handling of lab specimens to effective isolation of suspected Ebola patients …