Commentaries

Conference Preview: An Interview with Keynote Speaker Dr. Charles van der Horst

Charles (Charlie) van der Horst, MD, is an infectious disease specialist and a health care activist. He is Emeritus professor of medicine and infectious diseases at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Senior Consultant to EQUIP, a global HIV treatment and prevention organization. He will be giving a keynote address at the Lown Institute Conference the afternoon on Saturday, May 6 on standing up for right care. We spoke with van der Horst about his history of activism around HIV/AIDS, the Affordable Care Act, and other progressive causes.

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Conference Preview: Ralph Weiss’ Patient Story

Conference Preview: Ralph Weiss’ Patient Story

“We need to do surgery on your spine right away. We risk nerve damage if we don’t.” This is what Jeffrey Wang, a renowned spine surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center told attorney Ralph Weiss when he came in with lower back pain. Weiss was surprised; his previous orthopedist, who had semi-retired, had always counseled him to treat his recurring back problems with medication and rest instead of surgery. But coming from a family of doctors and having worked with physician clients, Weiss was not one to distrust a surgeon.

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Conference Preview: Taking Action on Overuse

Conference Preview – Taking Action on Overuse

Imagine that you are the administrator of a large teaching hospital. You and the other members of the leadership want to address overuse to reduce waste and save money, so you decide to set up a program of incentives to encourage physicians to stop performing unnecessary tests and procedures. The program seems to be working well at first, but soon you see clinicians and care teams going back to their old habits of unnecessary care. What went wrong?

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John Michael Nardo: One Not-So-Boring Old Man

March 15, 2017

By Shannon Brownlee, MSc

You probably never heard of Mickey Nardo, but readers of Right Care Weekly would have appreciated his intelligence, humor, and skeptical view of a health care system that spun increasingly out of control during the time when he was a doctor. John Michael Nardo, known as Mickey to one and all, was the brilliant, kind, and sometimes funny voice of 1boringoldman.com, the blog he started after retiring from his academic position in psychiatry at Emory University.

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Right Care Vignette winner sounds the alarm on unnecessary bed alarms

February 2, 2017

by Judith Garber, MPP

What do you do when your patient’s well-being is threatened by rules beyond your control? St. Louis University School of Medicine resident Stephanie Cull, MD, faced this challenge when she realized that the guidelines for bed alarm placement were causing many of her patients to be unnecessarily trapped in their beds. Bed alarms are intended to prevent hospital falls, but can severely restrict patient mobility. The alarm is built into the hospital bed and beeps when the patient attempts to get out of bed.

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Medical resident learns ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ when it comes to treating patients

November 21, 2016

By Hina Mehta, MD

Last month Saint Louis University Hospital participated in Right Care Action Week for the first time. During this week, we intended to improve communication between patient and clinician by participating in a project called “What Worries You?” Our diligent medical students handed out blank note cards to patients to write down their biggest concern. We then discussed each patient’s concerns on rounds and how best to address them.

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A pediatrician reflects on a foster care child

October 31, 2016

By Niran S. Al-Agba, MD

I care for foster children in my practice. I ache for these children to know love and security, not to worry who will tuck them in at night, or whether they will be separated from their siblings. I fight hard to hang onto my foster kids once we establish a good relationship, because having the same health care provider for them as they grow will provide safety and stability to their unpredictable lives.

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Women’s Health Council to query patients about OB/GYN care

October 11, 2016

By Margie Coloian, MSJ

When it comes to pregnancy, giving birth and getting good gynecological care, women are not always provided with the information they need to make good health care decisions. Too many women undergo hysterectomy, ureterectomy, C-section and other procedures without knowing about less invasive alternatives. A recent study, for example, finds that about 60 percent of reporting hospitals had excessive rates for C-sections.

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Muir organizes RCAW events for ‘mindful listening’

October 6, 2016

By Judith Garber

In the frantic, noisy, and chaotic environment of an emergency department, stopping occasionally to listen and take in the present moment can make the difference between clinicians providing right care and a medical error. For Right Care Action Week, Jane Muir, BSN, RN, an emergency medicine nurse at the University of Virginia (UVA), is organizing several events to demonstrate the importance of mindful listening and acquire different perspectives on right care.

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Wright turns health care nightmare into action for Right Care Action Week

September 26, 2016

By Judith Garber

Susan Wright, PhD, from Marin County, CA, understands how important it is for health professionals to listen to patients, because she nearly died when doctors ignored her health concerns. Through her own infuriating experience as a patient, Wright discovered disturbing systemic problems in managed care, and recognized a need for patient advocacy and self-care. For Right Care Action Week, she is encouraging patients to share their stories in a safe space and to join the advocacy effort.

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