Fearing Ebola? Doctors say get a flu shot

From AP (hat tip: ACEP):

Fever? Headache? Muscle aches? Forget about Ebola — chances are astronomically higher that you have the flu or some other common bug.

That message still hasn’t reached many Americans, judging from stories ER doctors and nurses swapped this week at a Chicago medical conference. Misinformed patients with Ebola-like symptoms can take up time and resources in busy emergency rooms, and doctors fear the problem may worsen when flu season ramps up.

That’s one reason why doctors say this year it’s especially important for patients to get their flu shots: Fewer flu cases could mean fewer Ebola false alarms.

“The whole system gets bogged down, even if it’s a false alarm,” Dr. Kristi Koenig said during a break at the American College of Emergency Physicians’ annual meeting.

Since the first Ebola diagnosis in the U.S., on Sept. 30 in a Liberian man treated in Dallas, doctors say they’ve had to reassure patients with many fears but none of the risk factors.

Fewer Malpractice Claims Paid in U.S.

From US News:

The number of medical malpractice payments in the United States has dropped sharply since 2002, according to a new study.

And compensation payment amounts and liability insurance costs for most doctors remained flat or declined in recent years, researchers report online Oct. 30 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This 60-MPH Ambulance Drone Could Be 10 Times Better At Saving Your Life

From Gizmodo:

v1enhkc2t4ojpnab9f6xDeveloped by Belgian engineering graduate Alec Momont studying at the TU Delft University, the drone can fly a resuscitating defibrillator at 60 MPH out to a range of 4.6 square miles. Rescuers can communicate to people at the scene of the incident through microphone, walking them through how to apply the drone’s defibrillating pads and observing the scene through a camera.

CDC lays out new Ebola emergency room standards

From KTTC:

There are new standards for emergency rooms in hospitals across the U.S. The guidelines were created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are laid out on a flow chart that shows the steps medical staff should take based on “yes or no” questions regarding a patient’s health upon arrival at a hospital emergency room.

First, ER staff must identify the patient’s exposure history. If they have lived in, or traveled to a country with widespread Ebola transmission, or had contact with a person with Ebola, the patient must then be checked for signs and symptoms of the virus.

Telemedicine eczema care just as effective as office visits

From Reuters:

After a year of emailing photos of their skin and communicating with their dermatologists online, eczema patients showed just as much improvement as people who saw their own doctors in person, according to a new study.

ER trips test new ride

From the Tribune:

For the past 12 months, the fire bureau and its partners have been engaged in a pilot study to find a better way to handle 911 callers who don’t belong in a hospital emergency room.

Early results of the Alternative Destination and Transportation pilot study show some promise, but also illustrate that transforming the Portland area’s health care delivery system has a long ways to go.

The good news is the idea seems to work, says Randy Lauer, general manager of American Medical Response for Oregon, a leading ambulance company.

One state’s simple plan for reducing unnecessary ER visits

From the Washington Post:

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is offering a plan intended to keep down ER overuse. The Republican governor is soon set to unveil a Medicaid expansion plan that will reward people for agreeing to stay out of the ER for non-emergency care, but also penalize them when they wind up there.