Monday, February 7, 2011

Football and Healthcare

Does football have anything to offer our health care system?  Maybe so.  See my op ed today in the Boston Herald exploring this.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hospital Mistakes Still Happening

The New York Times today reports on a study, to be released tomorrow in the New England Journal of Medicine, that demonstrates hospitals are not making enough progress on improving patient safety.  The study was conducted over a 5 year period in 10 North Carolina hospitals.  The result is sobering:

"[I]nstead of improvements, the researchers found a high rate of problems. About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once, and 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable. Most of the problems were temporary and treatable, but some were serious, and a few — 2.4 percent — caused or contributed to a patient’s death, the study found."

You can find the story here.  Hospitals are incredibly complex places and there are no simple solutions.  But the fact remains that many of these problems are quite preventable, and far too few hospitals are employing the kind of solutions that we now know prevents these kinds of mistakes.  This study, like many others, should be another wake up call to all of us for greater vigilance in attacking this problem.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Separate Doctors from Industry

UMass Memorial Chief Medical Officer Stephen Tosi and I argue, in this Boston Globe Op Ed, that it is now time for all teaching hospitals and medical schools to place more appropriate restrictions on the relationships between physicians and the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.  We cite UMass Memorial's positive experience as a reason why these organizations have nothing to fear by doing so. 

Perhaps some might take note.  The Atlantic Wire, (which "focuses on the columnists and commentators leading the national dialogue") listed the piece as one of its 5 Best Monday columns.  See the others here

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More on End of Life

In another great piece of writing that we have come to expect from Atul Gawande, he grapples with end of life decision making, and exposes how ill prepared our medical system is for dealing with this issue. 

"Modern medicine is good at staving off death with aggressive interventions—and bad at knowing when to focus, instead, on improving the days that terminal patients have left."
You can find the New Yorker article - entitled Letting Go - here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Brown and Obama!

Usually my predictions are wrong.  So when I occasionally make a correct one, I must take note.  Back in February shortly after Senator Brown was elected, and then again in April (see this post for history), I predicted that Scott Brown may end up finding more common ground with President Obama than the National Republican party.  That may be turning out to be the case.  As noted in this story in today's Boston Globe, he is about to hand the President another major political victory on financial reform. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Amazing Story

I have written before about end of life issues.  (See here for the Engage with Grace blog rally).  Nowhere have I seen a more profound story to make this all real than this one in yesterday's New York Times Sunday Magazine.  Tragic and well told, this story of a pacemaker that "broke [a] father's heart" is a must read for anyone serious about trying to better understand the incredibly difficult and painful choices that many of us will have the misfortune of having to make at some point in our lives.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Public Support for Reform Rising

"I thought when people began to realize what was in the health care package that they would see it's a good, solid program and that would dispel some of the misinformation."
                                   -Claudia Harris, 72, of Orem, Utah, an English professor at BYU

Turns out Claudia may be right!  See this article on a new poll showing the highest level of public support since the passage of reform.