The Future is Here: Robots in the Hospital Room

From Iowa Public Radio:

Tele-stroke carts help doctors treat patients remotely, allowing physicians like Dr. Enrique Leira, with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, to connect with doctors and patients in rural communities. Leira says it is especially important for stoke victims to receive treatment ASAP due to the nature of the condition.

Every minute, two million neurons die when someone is having a stroke, and unfortunately, there’s no expertise in all hospitals throughout the country, especially in rural areas, to know when a [certain] treatment needs to be administered,” Leira says. “Thanks to the tele-stroke technology, we are able to compensate for that disparity in rapid access to expertise by immediately logging into a computer.

“I Finally Found a Doctor Who Uses Modern Technology”

From Lifehacker:

Finding a good doctor is often a crapshoot on its own, so finding one with state-of-the-art tech is even harder. Usually I start my search for an up-to-date doctor by looking at their websites, checking out their office photos and any mentions of the technology they use, but this can be deceiving. I’ve been to dentists who promised that they use “pain free laser treatment” for the comfort of their patients only to find they still use the old torturous scraping tools. I’ve tried reading through doctor reviews on sites like Health Grades and RateMDs, but few ever mention the kind of equipment the doctors use.

Return visits to the Emergency Room more likely for patients with limited English

From Citizen (Reuters):

Patients in the emergency room who don’t speak English well are slightly more likely to return within days, suggesting their care the first time was not as good as it could have been, researchers say.

In a study in one New York hospital, about 4 percent of English speakers made an unplanned return to the ER within three days, compared to 5 percent of people with limited English.

The rural care health access crisis

From the Ledger-Enquirer (editorial):

“Over the past three decades,” notes the sponsoring senators’ news release, “legislative and regulatory changes have combined with broader economic trends to create an uneven playing field that has resulted in hospitals losing out on millions of dollars in Medicare payments annually.”

Probably the cruelest irony of all in this formula is the self-reinforcing damage it does. One of the organizations endorsing the bill is the National Rural Health Association; as its CEO Alan Morgan wrote in a letter to Isakson, the existing reimbursement formula penalizes doctors who practice in underserved communities. One sure way make a rural health crisis self-perpetuating is a built-in reason for medical professionals not to go where they’re needed most.

Every now and then, something comes to Washington’s attention that actually transcends partisan politics. This bill is a welcome result.

Gender Bias in the ED

From Woman’s Day:

Kathi’s story highlights what experts call medical gender bias, which is when women are treated differently than men who have similar symptoms and conditions, or when they’re treated inappropriately for gender-specific conditions. While bias isn’t more likely to happen in the E.R. than in a doctor’s office, it can have devastating effects when decisions must be made quickly.

About one in five adults in the United States go to the emergency room at least once a year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And women are more likely than men to make an E.R. visit, so it’s imperative that you understand the ins and outs of what might happen so you can protect yourself.

Study finds way to improve patient safety after admission from the emergency department

From Health Canal:

In a landmark study published in European Journal of Emergency Medicine and Journal of Advanced Nursing, researchers with Deakin’s Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research showed that patients with low blood pressure or abnormally rapid breathing in the emergency department (ED) are at higher risk of their condition deteriorating to the point of needing an emergency response when in the wards. They also found these patients were four times more likely to die in hospital, had 10 times more intensive care admissions and spent three days longer in hospital.

Cool Study: Bystander Cricothyroidotomy w/Pen

From Reuters:

Few movie scenes create more drama than a character saving a dying person’s life by plunging a pen into his neck to open up his airway, but a new study from Germany suggests viewers shouldn’t try that trick at home.

Researchers had 10 people try to push ballpoint pens through the necks of fresh cadavers to create a passage to the airway. While all participants were able to break the skin, only one person was able to get to the airway.

The results show that people shouldn’t try something just because they read it or see it in the media, said Dr. Michael Kamali, chair of emergency medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.