Wow, the blogosphere was buzzing with excellent content in April! The Wing of Zock editorial team was fortunate to have such a wealth of quality posts to include in this month’s edition of Chart Review, our monthly roundup of posts from and about academic medicine.
We start off with a selection of posts that treat empathy, patient-centered care, and humanistic approaches to doctoring. On the RWJF blog, Culture of Health, Tara Oakman reveals “Why Empathy is Essential to a Culture of Health” as she reviews a recent TED conference in Vancouver. Several speakers, she says, shared their personal stories of how empathy changed their lives for the better.
On the blog published by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, several medical student bloggers were invited to share their views on how medical training can encourage more humanistic interactions with patients. They recommend interactions with patients earlier in medical training and volunteer community involvement as two possible avenues.
David Mayer, MD, vice president of quality and safety for MedStar Health, blogs at Educate the Young. In his April 21 post, he discusses how residents can be sentinels and change agents for safer care. He borrows a concept from former ACGME CEO David Leach, envisioning residents as “canaries in the coal mine.” Mayer writes:
In academic medical centers, resident physicians spend more time in the hospital, have more direct contact with patients, and see many more unsafe conditions during days, evenings and weekends than most other caregivers, except possibly nurses. And they do it many times with little, if any, direct supervision. Resident physicians can be those sentinels and serve as excellent change agents for safer care.
A second group of bloggers grapples with the question, How do we preserve the sustainability of patient-centered care? Thomas Jefferson University provides several examples in its staff post of April 18 on the @Jeff blog, “Bridging Disciplines to Deliver Patient-Centered Care.” Medical, nursing, pharmacy, and students of other disciplines round together through the Jefferson InterProfessional Education Center (JCIPE). The post includes descriptions of interprofessional learning opportunities on the colorectal clinical service, the rehabilitation unit, the obstetrics unit, and within a simulated crisis environment.
On Project Millennial, blogger Allan Joseph, a first-year medical student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, offers “Saving Money in Healthcare, PCMH Edition.” Noting recent research that showed that patient-centered medical homes only saved money on 10 percent of high-risk patients, Brown concludes, “If an intervention isn’t aimed at the sickest patients, it’s probably not going to save a lot of money. Don’t be surprised when it doesn’t.”
At Costs of Care, Michelle Del Monico, revenue cycle manager for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, shares “The Value of Coding Knowledge.” Del Monico put her own knowledge to work when she received a bill for a 15-minute doctor visit: “To my knowledge, more than half of the exam documented was never performed,” she writes. Although she admittedly has unusually advanced training and experience, Del Monico suggests that educating and empowering patients to be more proactive with their medical bills can provide an avenue for increased patient-provider communication.
In a post that celebrated Match Day 2014, blogger Jennifer Jing authored “The Perfect Match: Introducing the Incoming Class of Pediatric Residents” for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Jing conducted a Q&A with five incoming residents, but what we liked best was the candid photos of the interviewees.
Students offer their own perspectives on medical education through the narratives that make up our final group of posts. On Momentum, the blog from Baylor College of Medicine, the April 14 post honors academic medicine’s “silent professors:” those patients and community members who donate their bodies to science after death. In the post, three students discuss anatomy lab, the value of the Willed Body program, and the learning experiences the donors made possible.
On the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation blog, guest poster Alexandra, a student at the University of Chicago, penned “Health Care through a Student’s Experience.” A participant in a weeklong externship at the Center for Innovation over spring break, pre-med student Alexandra received a crash course in innovation and design thinking. She writes:
Many pre-meds are so focused on academic excellence and Med School applications (with good reason!) that we don’t get a chance to step back and really examine the career we’re entering. My time at CFI lent me a glimpse into what healthcare might look like ten years from now, allowing me to assess my ability to work in a rapidly shifting industry. It showed me in many ways how to mold myself into the type of person who will succeed as a doctor – a person who takes all aspects of her patient into account and is aware of all the complex facets of her field.
Wrapping up this month’s edition, Scientific American med student blogger Shara Yurkiewicz offers a “Post-Operative Check” on her blog, This May Hurt a Bit. In the post, an imaginary conversation between Yurkiewicz and a surgical patient, Shara thanks the patient for letting her watch the surgery. She offers her observations from the operating room, gradually building pace as the patient encounters complications. In a series of short staccato sentences, Yurkiewicz conveys the urgency of the situation, the quickness with which the medical staff moved, and the confusing thoughts bouncing around in her own head. Beautifully written, and with a masterful ending, it’s a blog post worth reading.
Chart Review is a monthly feature in which the editors at Wing of Zock highlight our favorite blog posts from the previous month. We focus on blogs about academic medicine, whether from the perspective of student, resident, faculty member, dean, or administrator. Medical schools and teaching hospitals provide fertile ground for innovative responses to health care challenges. We are pleased to highlight some of the best here, and hope you will send us your favorites as well. As always, we encourage cross posting.