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The PMD Critical List: Who Are Your Favorite Patients?


The PMD Critical List for the week of December 26 is packed with the top healthcare stories circling the Web.

Surprised? Most doctors have favorite patients, according to a Johns Hopkins study. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: A physician-editor-in-chief of a medical journal says that euthanasia destroys medical ethics, using art to teach medical students could be beneficial, and Harold Bornstein, MD, talks about his most famous patient… president-elect, Donald Trump.

Most Doctors Have Favorite Patients (Knowridge)

“Physicians like the majority of their patients, but a majority also like some more than others,” finds a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study. Favorite patients were “those who the physician had known over a period of time (one year to several decades) and who were or had been very sick, which meant the physicians saw them more frequently and spent more time with them.”

What Doctors Can Learn From Looking at Art (The New York Times)

Medical schools are using art to teach medicine. One of the first classes was by a Yale dermatology professor, who noted that doctors in training often didn’t completely and accurately describe what they saw—instead, jumping to conclusions or relying on technology. The professor thought asking students to describe something nonmedical, like art, might help them collect and relay visual information.

Women Doctors’ Patients Less Likely to Die (MD Mag)

A new study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that male and female physicians have different patient outcomes. After analyzing data from over one million patients, researchers found that those treated by female physicians had lower mortality and lower hospital readmission rates than those treated by male physicians. Why? Women docs follow evidence-based guidelines and provide more psychosocial counseling to patients.

Big Rewards for Physician “Whistleblowers” (PR Newswire)

The Corporate Whistleblower Center is urging all physicians to call anytime if they have proof a hospital or healthcare company is involved with a kickback scheme providing illegal incentives for doctors to admit patients for care or procedures that are not needed. Recently, a doctor received $18 million for providing information on illegal referral fees.

Americans Rate Healthcare Providers High on Honesty (Gallup Poll)

Most Americans trust their healthcare providers to be honest and ethical, but few other professions fare so well in Gallup's Poll. Nurses top the list with 84% of the public rating their standards as "high" or "very high.” Physicians were in third position with a 65% top rating; pharmacists were second at 67%.

Physicians on Front Line in Fight Against Sex Traffickers (The Huffington Post)

In one survey of trafficked youth in New York City, 75% of the victims were found to have visited physicians in the previous six months. This puts doctors in a unique position to identify victims and provide important care and resources. Physicians Against the Trafficking of Humans has guidelines for spotting signs of sex trafficking.

One-on-One with Trump’s Doctor (STAT)

An interesting profile of Harold Bornstein, MD, a gastroenterologist in New York City, whose most famous patient is president-elect, Donald Trump. “I’m fortunate there’s nothing seriously wrong with him. He’s a few pounds overweight, which everybody can see, and that’s it. I’ve never been able to find anything wrong with him,” says Bornstein.

“Physician-Assisted Death Destroys Medical Ethics” (EconoTimes)

“Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are initially sold to the public as completely voluntary acts of compassion and ‘death with dignity,’ but once in place, the next step is coercion,” says Lawrence Huntoon, MD, PhD, physician-editor-in-chief of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. “The elderly and those suffering from severe debilitating illnesses, who may be depressed and lonely and who may not have the will or the energy to fight back to preserve their lives, are at risk.”

Some Positives From Obamacare? (The Washington Post)

“After the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, people in a majority of states were less likely to skip doctors' visits because of concerns about the cost of care,” according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. Moreover, recent Census data show that the overall uninsured rate reached a historic low in 2015.

Asking Patients “Why” Key To Better Medicine (KERA News)

What happens when doctors assume? Too often they call patients “non-compliant,” thinking the patients didn’t do this or that because they didn’t want to or simply neglected to. Instead, doctors should ask “why,” listen, and include patients in some of the decision making. This approach makes for better, more thorough medicine, finds a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center report.

Keeping Up with the Knowledge Explosion in Medicine (Harvard Business Review)

“Through better connectivity, information technology is improving the practice of medicine as never before. However, to realize the full effect of these newfound technological capabilities, we need to break down the silos and facilitate collaboration among medical professionals and all other stakeholders so they can work seamlessly to deliver coordinated care on behalf of the patients.”

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