Too Much Information

From the NY Times “Doctor and Patient” Series:

Over the last four years, there have been several studies on the effects of physician self-disclosure on patient satisfaction. It turns out that patients don’t always want to know about their doctors’ personal experiences. And doctors don’t always do a great job when they do choose to share their personal information.

Susan H. McDaniel and her colleagues at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry found that doctors made self-disclosure statements in approximately a third of patient visits, but almost 40 percent of these statements were unrelated to the patient’s symptoms, family or feelings. In addition, in the vast majority of cases, doctors never returned to the topic that inspired the personal reference in the first place.

Interestingly enough, there is also a difference in how patients react to doctors from different specialties. Dr. Mary Catherine Beach and her colleagues at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore found that when surgeons revealed something personal, patients were significantly more satisfied with their quality of care than when surgeons kept mum. But when primary care doctors disclosed a fact from their own lives, their patients were significantly less satisfied.

First Aid Software on a Phone

From Medgadget:


The Medical Phone Ltd out of Edinburgh, UK is working on a mobile device that will provide step-by-step instructions during emergency medical situations, and can quickly call 911, your doctor, as well as a nearby hospital. iCEphone™ (iCE for in Case of Emergency), though a simple and smart idea, might as well be a software package that can be installed onto any smart phone capable of handling such functions.

AHA survey finds hospitals struggling

From Modern Healthcare:

The data are in, and they are not pretty: Hospitals are reporting negative profit margins for the third quarter of 2008, reversing a trend of healthy profitability from this time last year.

A “rapid response” survey released by the American Hospital Association concluded that hospitals posted negative profit margins of 1.6% in the quarter ended Sept. 30. Last year, hospitals concluded the same quarter with a positive 6.1% margin, according to the survey. The report was based on data gathered from 736 hospitals in 30 states that responded to the AHA’s questionnaire.

The downturn has left more than half of the survey respondents pondering staff reductions, while more than a quarter of the hospitals are deciding whether to reduce services. The financial pinch comes amid falling revenue, declining admissions and negative investment earnings, even as experts predict that high unemployment will lead to more patients seeking uncompensated care at emergency rooms.