Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"Uniform Format for Disclosure of Competing Interests in ICMJE Journals"

Click here to see the new form; click here to see an example completed form (gosh, there ARE other people out there with my sense of humor). Click here to access the JAMA editorial on this new form.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

New report from IOM: Redesigning Continuing Education in the Health Professions

From the AAFP News Now article:
According to a new report from the Institute of Medicine, or IOM, there are a number of deficiencies with the current continuing education, or CE, system for health professionals in the United States. The report is calling for the creation of a national, interprofessional CE institute to achieve a new vision of continuing professional development for health professionals, with the goal of improving patient care and health care delivery.

...According to the report,

* there are major flaws in the way CE currently is conducted, financed, regulated and evaluated;
* the science behind CE for health professionals is fragmented and underdeveloped;
* continuing education efforts need to bring health professionals from various disciplines together in tailored learning environments;
* a new vision of professional development for health care professionals is needed to replace the current culture; and
* establishing a national, interprofessional public-private institute to foster improvements in CE may help improve the overall system.
Click here to access the AAFP News Now article. Click here to access the IOM report in brief.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yet another health care disparity

From the Business Week article:
Doctors are diagnosing more white people with the deadly skin cancer known as melanoma, and while Hispanics and blacks are much less likely to be diagnosed with the malignancy, they often have advanced forms of the cancer when it is found, new research suggests.
Click here to access the BW article. Click here to access the Archives of Dermatology article (sub. req.).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Grading patient safety efforts

From the New York Times article:
Ten years ago, a national panel of health care experts released a landmark report on medical errors in the American health care system. Published by the Institute of Medicine, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System” estimated that as many as 98,000 people died in hospitals each year as a result of preventable mistakes. Being hospitalized, it turned out, was far riskier than riding a jumbo jet.

While the report offered comprehensive strategies to improve safety, its main conclusion was that medical errors were primarily a result of “faulty systems, processes and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them.”

Spurred on by this finding, health care leaders across the country began addressing errors believed to be a result of systemic flaws.
Dr. Robert M. Wachter, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a national leader in patient safety, recently published two critiques of the safety movement, one in Health Affairs and one in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Click here to access the NYT article. Click here to access the Health Affairs article (sub. req.). Click here to access the NEJM article (sub. req.).

Hospital audit finds some interesting expenditures on CME

From the Silicon Valley Mercury News article:
When physicians at Santa Clara County's cash-strapped public hospital seek professional development, they often indulge in "luxurious accommodations" on tropical islands and bill taxpayers for large cars to bring spouses, children and even parents along for conferences-turned-family-vacations, according to a scathing new county audit.

The audit, which analyzed a three-year period, blasts Valley Medical Center — Santa Clara County's hospital of last resort — for what it called "abusive and noncompliant" travel expenses at a time when the county is slashing budgets and cutting social services. Physicians traveled to Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Italy, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Spain, China, Aruba, Thailand, the West Indies and the Bahamas, with costs averaging $3,085 per trip. Each year, county doctors spent $650,000 on educational travel.

Continuing education units were pursued inside California just 8 percent of the time during the period analyzed.
Please read the entire article by clicking here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The costs and benefits of CME regulation

Check out the latest issue of JCEHP and read the editorial "It Is Time to Study the Costs and Benefits of Regulating Continuing Medical Education in the United States" by Paul E. Mazmanian, Ph.D. Click here to access the abstract.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Med students and residents under report needle sticks

From the New York Times article:
Surgical students are frequently stuck by needles, but many students don’t bother reporting the injuries, a new study found.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University surveyed 699 recent medical school graduates who had trained to become surgeons at 17 medical centers in the United States. The survey found that 59 percent had been stuck by a needle at some point during medical school, according to the study, in the December issue of Academic Medicine.
In the Johns Hopkins survey, about half the victims of a needle stick didn’t report the injury to hospital officials. The most common reason cited for not reporting a needle stick was the amount of time and paperwork required to make a report.
Click here to access the NYT article. Click here to access the Academic Medicine article.

Friday, December 04, 2009

December issue of Medical Meetings magazine now online

Click here to access.

Canadian Medical Association criticized for accepting pharma funding

From the Globe and Mail article
The Canadian Medical Association is facing criticism over its decision to team up with a major pharmaceutical company to create an education program for physicians across the country.

Some members of the medical community say the CMA is heading down a dangerous road and warn that partnering with Pfizer Canada Inc. may cross a serious ethical line that could negatively influence doctors' treatment decisions.
Under the new CMA initiative, Pfizer Canada said it will provide $780,000 to fund the new “continuing medical education” or CME program, designed to inform physicians of new developments in medicine and help maintain their skills. Two Pfizer staff members will also sit on an administrative board, responsible for overseeing, implementing and evaluating the program, along with two staff members from the medical association and two individuals from outside organizations.

The program will be offered online and will focus on 12 different subjects. The first, expected to be made available early next year, will focus on Parkinson's disease. Other topics will be determined based on gaps identified by physicians in surveys posted on the CMA website.
Click here to access this article. Hat tip to Capsules!

New Jersey AG tries to clamp down on pharma

The AG's recommendations, as reported in the WSJ's Health Blog, are that physcians must:
  • No longer accept food from industry, whether in office or in restaurants (this includes their office staff).
  • Disclose, at the time of relicensure, whether they accepted more than $200 worth of payments and/or gifts from industry during the preceding two years.
Another AG recommendation is to curtail prescription data mining (this would require the state legislature to pass a new law).