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Research and Reports

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (June 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Friday June 7, 2013)

    Summary by John James: I hope this month’s newsletter might prepare you to be a more defensive patient when you need medical care:

    • Many nursing home residents receive lengthy antibiotic treatments, placing them at risk of super infections.
    • Off-label prescribing of a narcolepsy drug places many at risk of serious side effects.
    • Surgeons might leave some surprising things in your body.
    • How would you like to see your surgery on video?
    • Did you know Medicare has some dumb policies?
    • Sloppy management practices are common in cardiac care units.
    • Do you know what a contextual medical error is? You should.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (May 2013) - Practical Advice
    Source: Patient Safety America (Wednesday May 1, 2013)

    The May newsletter includes summaries that are targeted to alert patients to ways to manage risk and cost: outpatient diagnostic errors, shopping for a hip replacement, too much calcium, radiation risk to your heart, screening for cervical cancer, and finally a series on patient-safety “progress.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (April 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday March 31, 2013)

    Summary by John James: “Changes are long overdue in American healthcare as pointed out by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council in their new book “The US health Disadvantage Relative to Other High-income Countries.” My first newsletter article attempts to summarize this report. In the second article I discuss the risks associated with sleeping pills. The third article considers legislation that often has collateral damage. The fourth involves one doctor’s view of how he was led into care that was not patient centered. My next two articles deal with mental health: 1) As we age, we all fear the loss of mental capabilities, but a new study has linked mid-life fitness with a reduction in the risks of dementia. 2) Young people often do not have access to mental health facilities as pointed out by experts writing in the JAMA. The next articles deal with unintended death from pharmaceuticals and with loss of confidence in drug companies. The newsletter concludes with a short piece on the vanishingly small value of robotic surgery for those who might need a hysterectomy.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (March 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Monday March 4, 2013)

    John James, Ph.D., Patient Safety America: “This month I’ve tried to put some important things in perspective for you. Ben Goldacre’s book called “Bad Pharma,” which I reviewed, is a worth-while read. Gun violence is compared with “medical violence” as far as they affect our children’s lives. The cheap, effective medical care received in Cuba is summarized as a lesson for us, and then I pound on the dangers of drugs and the unstoppable overpricing of medical care in our country. Finally, you’ll learn what post-hospital syndrome is and how to manage it to remain out of the hospital.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (February 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Friday February 1, 2013)

    This month’s topics include injury risk from common medications, unnecessary testing, and unsafe injection practices in outpatient settings

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (January 2013)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Tuesday January 1, 2013)

    John James, Ph.D., Patient Safety America: “This month I address the discriminatory medical care system in this country. Why are the poor left behind when they need competent medical care? Next – why does Medicare keep spending your tax dollars on procedures that are not “necessary and reasonable?” What is behind the 29+ deaths that resulted from injection of the fungal-contaminated medication from a compounding company? The answer might surprise you. On the controversial front, I summarize an article critical of overuse of mammography screening. Why do prescription pain killers kill at least 16,000 Americans per year? How can a medication be dispensed to you when your doctor has ordered it stopped? Be wary of these potentially dangerous practices.”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (December 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Saturday December 1, 2012)

    John James, Patient Safety America: “This month I write about the so called ‘war on cancer’ in terms of those who are losing the battle to stay alive. Do they know that the chemotherapy that is making them so ill is not going to cure their disease? Do those who undergo screening for cancer know the risks they are taking on? What should we do about the overuse of imaging? Why do we continue to do human experimentation on premature babies with uncontrolled and unapproved procedures? Isn’t it time to stop this potentially risky practice on these little one? The obesity epidemic is growing like a plague in the United States – Are there new drugs that could reverse the trend toward more obesity and more chronic illness? Nursing homes are risky places for infections – here’s one you may not have thought about – norovirus. Finally, would you like electronic access to your doctor’s notes?”

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (November 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Wednesday October 31, 2012)

    Review of book “Unaccountable” by Marty Makary, MD. The first two articles deal with medical errors – the first on diagnostic errors and the second on errors of omission. On page 3 I take a look at recent misdeeds of big Pharma, and then deal with ethical issues associated post-marketing drug testing on patients. A business model suggests that providers should start giving us what we really want – health – not medical care. Finally, we have a look at why hospital prices continue to escalate.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (October 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday September 30, 2012)

    1) The first order of business is to mark the passing of Dr. Barbara Starfield, a champion of improving medical care, especially through more emphasis on primary care.
    2) Most of us have had a urinary catheter inserted for some reason or other, and it seems that the vast majority of the time infections associated with these are not evident in billing records.
    3) Several articles that I review deal with overbilling and over-diagnosis, two pillars of our current medical industry.
    4) A troubling article from Archives of Surgery enumerates the dependence many surgeons have on use of alcohol. You might be surprised at the findings.
    5) The refusal of Jehovah’s Witness patients to accept blood transfusions after heart surgery offered an opportunity to study the need for such transfusions, with surprising outcomes.
    6) Finally, I summarize information suggesting that a lot of money could be saved each year if drug-eluting stents were used with more evidence-based discrimination in patients receiving coronary artery stents.

  • Patient Safety America Newsletter (September 2012)
    Source: Patient Safety America (Thursday August 30, 2012)

    This month’s newsletter emphasizes past themes of improved medical care and brings in some new ones. The first article cautions against too much imaging following acute back pain unless there are clear indications that imaging is needed. The second is a new theme – loneliness in older folks as a risk factor for loss of mobility and an early death. The next article is critical of how patients are treated when they show up to the ER with chest pains. The fourth article explores the idea that science can improve patient safety, and then acknowledges that enlightened leadership in the healthcare industry may offer genuine safety improvements. The last article hits on a common theme – risk of harm from adverse drug events at critical times in the recovery pathway.

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