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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 2/19/15

February 19, 2015 Dr. Jayne No Comments

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We always love hearing about ways that vendors are contributing to the greater good. I was excited to receive a Valentine’s Day card from our sponsor Medicomp Systems, who offered to donate $10 to Doctors Without Borders for each person who views a brief demo of Quippe. It was supposed to end this week, but the executive team generously agreed to extend it a few more days for HIStalk readers. They’re willing to donate up to $5,000, so stop by to do your part for Doctors Without Borders. You’ll also be able to pre-register to compete in their Quipstar game show during HIMSS. I was a celebrity contestant in 2013, so I can attest that it’s a lot of fun.

The Texas Regional HIMSS Conference is taking place this week in Austin. Thursday’s keynote was Ed Marx, speaking on, “Extraordinary Tales From A Rather Ordinary Guy.” Other topics included screening for emerging diseases, interoperability, population health management, health literacy, and of course Meaningful Use. Texas has a reputation for hospitality, but one of my readers was not impressed when another attendee made snarky comments about the fact that she was taking notes during the meeting, asking, “Did you get all your work done?”

Wednesday was National Drink Wine Day, which reminds me of an EHR story a friend shared with me. During a trip to the emergency department, she was asked about her alcohol intake. Do you drink alcohol? Yes. How often – once a day or socially? Yes. She was told she had to pick one or the other. As a clinician, I always wondered what documenting “socially” really tells me about a patient. Does that mean they have drinks once a year at the company Christmas party or twice a week in the stands at their kids’ baseball games? Are they socializing at the bar every night after work? It just goes to illustrate that data collected for the sake of collecting data (and without valid clinical intent) is not only a poor use of scarce time, but meaningless.

There are plenty of phishing scams riding the coattails of the recent Anthem breach, but they’re a drop in the bucket compared to the daily deluge of random emails trying to grab our attention. I am always amused by people trying to get content on HIStalk when they clearly don’t read it. One of yesterday’s offerings tried to convince us that we need guest bloggers to keep up a constant flow of content so that we can relax. There were also a handful of emails that were barely coherent and those are just the ones that made it through the spam filter. I recently read “The 4-Hour Workweek” and the idea of having someone to pre-screen my email is more appealing every day.

Speaking of email, my EHR vendor sent a nice one this week about the recent CMS approval for lung cancer screening using low-dose CT scanning. What would have been even nicer would have been instructions on the best way to identify and track impacted patients since they have to be in a certain age group, have smoked a certain amount, and must be either current smokers or have quit within the last 15 years.

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Even as a member of the HIStalk team, I can’t possibly keep up with all the health IT news out there. HIStalk Practice mentioned a study at Michigan State University. It looks at using children’s fingerprints to track immunization records. Comments on the article immediately seized on it as a way for the government to force individuals to provide their fingerprints. The article reminded me of VeriChip, which was similar to the computer chips many of us use to permanently identify our pets. Reading the article about its FDA approval in 2004 was a blast from the past as it referenced then-President Bush’s EHR initiative. It also mentioned the disparities in animal vs. human medicine, noting that implantation for a pet would have been $50 but for a person it would have been $150 to $200.

Jenn also told me about a review on physician dress done by a team at University of Michigan Health System. The team performed a comprehensive review of studies on physician dress, looking at 30 studies involving more than 11,000 patients in 14 countries. They confirmed what many of us suspected: that older patients prefer their physicians to be more formally dressed, where members of Generation X and Y were more accepting of casual attire. There were some differences in preference depending on physician specialty. The team plans to conduct their own study, “Targeting Attire to Improve Likelihood of Rapport” or TAILOR. Hospitals in three countries have already agreed to participate. My new clinical posting involves monogrammed scrubs, so I might just spring for a new pair of clogs to match.

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With this winter’s seemingly-perpetual cold and abundant snow, I’ve been tending to warm, non-skid footwear. But with the promise of spring around the corner, a reader shared these smart little shoes. “There’s No Data Like Home” by artist Steven Rodrig definitely lifts my spirits, appealing to both my fashion sense and techie tendencies.

What warms your heart with thoughts of spring? Email me.

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