Policy, Ethics, Education Archives - Page 7 of 10 - PulmCCM
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Policy, Ethics, Education Articles

Jan 012012
 

Each individual episode of critical illness produces a mushroom cloud of data, most of which dissipates without being recorded at all (think realtime infusion rates of vasopressors and continuous ECG monitoring). A few large databases capture outcomes data from multiple participating hospitals (like the National Inpatient Sample), and the new MIMIC-II integrated data system can [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) are in! Enrollment was 8/2002 to 4/2004. Follow-up was through end of 2009. Patients were age 55-74, with >30 pack-year smoking history, still smoking or quit <15 years. Intervention / Control: Low-dose chest CT vs. chest plain films thrice-yearly. By screening these 53,454 high-risk people, 62 deaths [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Insurance companies, Medicare, and public health authorities haven’t yet sorted out the complexities of the survival benefit found in the Lung Cancer Screening Trial. The number needed to screen to prevent a death was ~300; ~40% of patients had at least one false positive scan, 95% were false positives overall, and overdiagnosis was very likely [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Medications are often stopped during transfers of care. Bell et al analyzed administrative-level data for almost 400,000 hospitalizations in Ontario, Canada, as well as 90-day follow-up outpatient prescription data. They conclude that medications were likely to be discontinued after discharge from the hospital or ICU, “potentially unintentionally.” Five medication classes were analyzed (inhalers, anticoagulant/antiplatelets, acid-suppressors, thyroxine [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

The Institute of Medicine has issued stern new guidelines on guideline development. Apparently a good portion of the 2,700 clinical practice guidelines in the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality’s database are not based on a foundation of good evidence, do not acknowledge when the evidence is shaky, and their authors often have financial conflicts [… read more]

Dec 222011
 

Neither a large 2009 multicenter study nor a 2011 meta-analysis showed any clinical benefit from the use of ICU telemedicine. Lilly et al report the results of a large single-center study in which they progressively implemented ICU telemedicine among 6,290 patients in 7 ICUs (a stepped-wedge design), with non-telemedicine groups acting as controls at each [… read more]

Dec 022011
 

Faced with steadily rising costs of medical care insurance, more and more U.S. employers are insisting that smokers pay a higher share of the premiums of their employer-sponsored insurance, according to a Towers Watson survey of 248 businesses.  19% of companies with >1,000 employees have increased smokers’ share of medical care insurance premiums, double the rate from [… read more]

Nov 132011
 

Research suggests e-cigarettes (those smokeless, cigarette-like nicotine delivery devices sold at convenience stores and elsewhere) can help people quit smoking, or at least dramatically cut back. So why does the FDA have a hatchet out for e-cigarettes — first trying to block their sale and distribution as illegal marketing of a drug delivery device — [… read more]

Nov 062011
 

Doctors are generally lousy at predicting death in terminally ill patients, and in ICU patients with indeterminate outcomes. Mortality prediction models have proliferated to improve our performance, but in the critical care literature, have mostly shown high predictive accuracy only at the tail ends of probability (high probability of survival or death). Siontis et al (led [… read more]

Nov 022011
 

A nice pro/con soundoff between Gerard Silvestri (con) and James Jett & David Midthun (pro) over whether lung cancer screening with chest CT should be national policy, in the wake of the positive findings of the National Lung Screening Trial. Silvestri (of MUSC) argues that we don’t have a handle on the harms of screening [… read more]

Nov 012011
 

25% of smokers undergoing chest CT have incidentally discovered pulmonary nodules. As questions of national policy re: lung cancer screening with chest CT are considered, Soylemez Wiener et al report the complication rates of 15,865 adults who had transthoracic needle biopsy of a pulmonary nodule in 4 states over the past decade, using a database [… read more]

Oct 312011
 

Poor people have higher rates of obesity. There are those who believe that’s because the poor lack self-control and discipline, overeating when they should be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. That hard-core personal responsibility ethic is hard to refute, maybe because it contains a grain of truth, maybe because it lets all us non-poor [… read more]

Oct 302011
 

Lucassen et al sharpened their pencils and tried to combine in a meta-analysis 52 studies (n=55,268) that examined the success of methods of using “gestalt” (subjective impression) or clinical decision rules (Wells, Geneva or revised Geneva scores) to diagnose acute pulmonary embolism. The punchline (and their unstated but implied conclusion) is, we just can’t safely [… read more]

Oct 202011
 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published its 696 page rule on how accountable care organizations, the new medical care deilvery model, should structure themselves to qualify for reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act. The New England Journal published commentary by Don Berwick, current head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, explaining [… read more]

Oct 112011
 

In 2006, Medicare (we) spent 25% of our dollars on treatment for people in their last year of life. The debate rages, waged with euphemism in public and painful, conflicting emotions in private: how can we let Grandma go peacefully and with dignity, without feeling too guilty or ending up in front of a Senate subcommittee? [… read more]

Oct 092011
 

Smoking cessation counseling may feel like a waste of the time and effort required, since most smokers don’t quit. But evidence shows that even the <10% success rate of smoking cessation counseling saves millions of lives, compared to doing nothing. According to a recent smoking cessation review in the NEJM: Even those not ready to quit do 8% of the time [… read more]

Oct 072011
 

Zhang et al pooled 20 studies that compared ultrasound, chest X-ray, or both against a reference standard (usually CT scan) for the diagnosis of pneumothorax. Chest X-ray had a pooled sensitivity of 52% and specificity 99% for diagnosis of pneumothorax. Ultrasound’s pooled sensitivity was 88% and specificity, 100%. Unsurprisingly, the accuracy of ultrasonography to diagnose [… read more]

Oct 072011
 

People with asthma have an impressive and frustrating variability in their response to treatment, with corticosteroids and other drugs. As many as 40% of people with asthma don’t respond to inhaled steroids. Asthma’s familial basis is well-known: 60% of the variability in the response to albuterol may be inherited, and more than 80% of the treatment response to [… read more]

Oct 022011
 

It sounds like a doctor must have been pretty rude to Chicago’s Ms. Carolyn Bucksbaum 20+ years ago. She’s giving $42 million of her and her husband’s shopping-mall fortune to the University of Chicago, to create an institute devoted to improving medical students’ bedside mannerisms. Their beloved personal U. of C. physician, Mark Siegler, will [… read more]