Should Patients Be Allowed to Record Doctors?

From Medpage Today:

… the ubiquity of smartphones raises an importunate question: should patients be able to record their doctors? The question raises legal, ethical, and practical considerations. Warning – I’m not a lawyer, so my quick answer on the legal components is, consult local legal counsel. Laws vary from state to state, and my experience and some formal legal study leaves me with the strong impression that privacy is just about the murkiest area of law. States are widely split on the legality of recordings: eleven require all parties to grant consent, while thirty-nine states plus the District of Columbia require only what’s called one-party consent.

Legalities aside, however, my longer, practical answer is … why the heck not? Especially if a patient asks for a doctor’s blessing first and it’s clear the patient’s intent is for her elucidation. To be sure, I can think of some arguments against allowing a patient to record a doctor at work, but stronger ones for it.

Farmers harder hit by opioid crisis than rest of rural U.S.: survey

From Reuters:

The opioid crisis in the United States is impacting farm and ranch families more acutely than their rural neighbors, according to a survey published by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Farmers Union on Thursday.

About three-quarters of farmers and ranchers surveyed said a family member, someone they know or they themselves have taken an illegal opioid or are dealing with addiction.

Unconscious Patient With ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Tattoo Causes Ethical Conundrum at Hospital

From Gizmodo:

When an unresponsive patient arrived at a Florida hospital ER, the medical staff was taken aback upon discovering the words “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed onto the man’s chest—with the word “NOT” underlined and with his signature beneath it. Confused and alarmed, the medical staff chose to ignore the apparent DNR request—but not without alerting the hospital’s ethics team, who had a different take on the matter.

The doctor will see you now – but often not for long

From Reuters:

For half of the world’s population, primary care doctor visits last less than five minutes, researchers say.

Appointments range from 48 seconds in Bangladesh to 22.5 minutes in Sweden. In the U.S., meetings with doctors average about 20 minutes.

FDA approves first EKG reader for Apple Watch

From The Verge:

The FDA has approved the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch, made by AliveCor, whose CEO is former Google+ boss Vic Gundotra. The accessory is AliveCor’s KardiaBand electrocardiogram (EKG) reader, a sensor that pairs with an app and can detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AFib). The user touches the sensor, which snaps into a slot on the watch’s band, to get an EKG reading in 30 seconds. The recording can then be sent to a doctor.

Using AI, the KardiaBand can predict and analyze someone’s heart rate based on data from both sick and healthy people, Bloomberg notes. “It doesn’t apply a generic range — instead, it determines what’s abnormal for you.” A device like this could play an important role in quickly diagnosing abnormalities and then alerting health-care professionals to life-threatening situations.

Patient satisfaction plummets when doctors say ‘no’ to requests

From Reuters:

Patients may become less satisfied with their care when doctors refuse their requests for things like prescriptions or lab tests, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers examined data on 1,141 patients with a total of 1,319 doctor visits. Overall, about two-thirds of these visits included at least one patient request for the doctor to provide a particular specialist referral, lab test, pain drug or other prescription medication.

Doctors fulfilled these requests 85% of the time, the study found. When doctors didn’t acquiesce, however, patient satisfaction scores in surveys after the visits were dramatically lower than when requests were fulfilled.

New algorithm can help predict patients’ end-of-life care

From Axios:

The system analyzes a patient’s health records in comparison to data from about 2 million other patients collected over nearly 20 years and then makes a prediction about the patient’s mortality. It also produces a report explaining how the patient’s prescribed medications, their length of hospitalization and the severity of their illness were weighed by the AI in reaching its recommendation. The algorithm is being used in a pilot program at a university hospital.