Emergency Department Volunteers: Defining the position and its effect on the Patient Experience

From the University of Arizona:


Research Question: Will trained volunteers significantly affect patient experience compared to educational fliers or no intervention?

Background: Patient experience continues to be an important issue with our nation’s healthcare system especially with the adoption of Value Based Purchasing for hospital reimbursement. With the use of Honor Health Scottsdale’s large number of volunteers, we hoped to design and develop a program that will improve experience for patients presenting to a community based Emergency Department.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of Emergency Department Volunteers on the patient experience.

Opioid prescription rates dropping across the country

From Axios:

Opioid prescription rates across the country have been declining since their peak in 2012, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2016 national prescription rate was the lowest in a decade at 66.5 per 100 people.

The 10 states with the highest opioid prescription rates in 2016 all saw decreases from 2015. Rates shown are per 100 people.

  1. Alabama 121.0
  2. Arkansas 114.6
  3. Tennessee 107.5
  4. Mississippi 105.6
  5. Louisiana 98.1
  6. Oklahoma 97.9
  7. Kentucky 97.2
  8. West Virginia 96
  9. South Carolina 89.4
  10. Michigan 84.9

Synthetic Pot in Illinois Is Making People Bleed From Their Eyes and Ears

From Gizmodo:

On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported that since March 7, at least 22 people have developed severe bleeding soon after taking synthetic pot products. The bleeding has not only occurred from their eyes and ears, but from their noses and gums as well. Patients have also vomited up and urinated blood, experienced large, unexplainable bruises, and had extremely heavy menstrual bleeding.

 There’s been no single product tied to all the cases, though the majority of patients recalled buying their products from dealers, stores, and friends around the Chicago area. As of yet, there have been no reported deaths.
“Despite the perception that synthetic cannabinoids are safe and a legal alternative to marijuana, many are illegal and can cause severe illness,” said Nirav D. Shah, director of the IDPH, in a statement this week. “The recent cases of severe bleeding are evidence of the harm synthetic cannabinoids can cause.”

Health systems battle ‘epidemic’ of physician burnout

From the Coloradan:

In this era of electronic medical records and instant communication, where doctors can work from anywhere, the Greeley oncologist can check test results, read patients’ emails, prescribe medicine or review treatment plans well into the night after already working a full day in his clinic.

The very tools designed to create more flexibility for doctors may be leading to an “epidemic” in physician burnout and an exodus away from the profession.

A group of medical centers and organizations including the American Medical Association recently created the Charter on Physician Well-Being as a catalyst to address the growing problem of physician burnout.

AMA President David Barbe said in a statement “the mounting burdens of the modern health care delivery system are taking a toll on physicians by contributing to the growing problem of work-induced burnout and emotional fatigue.”

The AMA, he said, “is committed to restoring joy in medicine.”

‘Aggressive’ New Advance Directive Would Let Dementia Patients Refuse Food

From Kaiser Health News:

Treading into ethically and legally uncertain territory, a New York end-of-life agency has approved a new document that lets people stipulate in advance that they don’t want food or water if they develop severe dementia.

The directive, finalized this month by the board for End Of Life Choices New York, aims to provide patients a way to hasten death in late-stage dementia, if they choose.

Deaths From Synthetic Opioids Doubled from 2015 to 2016

From Gizmodo:

In 2016, 63,632 people in the US died from a drug overdose, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded. And many more of those deaths were caused by potent opioids obtained on the streets than in years past.

The CDC tally is a slight downgrade from a preliminary estimate released by the government last fall, which found there were 64,070 overdose deaths that year. But the overall conclusion remains true: Overdoses caused by all categories of drugs (alcohol-related deaths are counted separately) rose from 2015 to 2016, with the largest gains seen among synthetic opioids like fentanyl and its analogs.

According to the new report, there was a roughly 21 percent increase in the age-adjusted overdose death rate from 2015.

Apple’s Health app can now display medical records from 39 health systems

From The Verge:

iPhone users at more than 100 hospitals and clinics in the US can now access parts of their medical records through the Health app, Apple announced today. The Health Records section of the app debuted in January with the iOS 11.3 beta, and today’s update makes it available to everyone who updates their phone to the latest version.

The medical information — such as allergies, medical conditions, vaccinations, lab tests, medical procedures, and vitals — will be available to iPhone users who are patients at 39 health systems that are working with Apple, including Stanford Medicine and Johns Hopkins. Before the update, the medical records section of the app was only available to the people who had signed up to test a pre-release version.

Students Learn How To Save Lives In Case Of School Shooting

From WFAE:

Harding University High School students learned how to help save their friends from bleeding to death from a gunshot wound Wednesday as an emergency room doctor walked them through how to make and apply tourniquets from things they could find in their backpacks.

Dr. David Callaway, an emergency room doctor, gave the students 30 seconds to apply the compression bandage. The Navy veteran led the training and instructed students on how to take stuff they might have with them, like a bandana and a stick, and then how to make and tie a tourniquet. He said that’s what he used while serving overseas.

How badly designed electronic health records can put patients in danger

From The Verge:

A team of researchers at MedStar, a not-for-profit health care system headquartered in Maryland, collected nearly 2 million reports of safety hazards from clinics in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. Of those, 557 explicitly said that a problem with the electronic health records put a patient in danger, according to the article published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Study: “Best” and “Worst” states for doctors

From WalletHub:

(Ed: Iowa is #4, Minnesota #5, Wisconsin #6 and Kansas #7)

But working conditions for doctors aren’t the same everywhere in the U.S. In order to help doctors decide where to practice, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 16 key metrics. Our data set ranges from average annual wage of physicians to hospitals per capita to quality of public hospital system. Check out the complete ranking, additional expert commentary and a full description of our methodology below.