Tag Archives: quality care
Joseph S. Alpert

Animals in the Hospital

I like the concept of “thinking outside the box.” This phrase means that one envisions concepts or approaches to a problem in an unconventional or highly original manner. In other words, one’s thinking is not constrained inside a conventional “box.” The term is believed to have originated with management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s […]

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Annals of Communication: ’Giving a Patient a Diagnosis‘ and Other Idioms in Development

Communication is at the heart of the medical enterprise. We doctors share our research and our interpretations of that research in words. We use words to learn about the concerns of our patients and record our impressions, our findings, and our plans; words to share with patients and families what we have discovered, how we […]

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Assessment and Treatment of Physician Speechlessness

What does a doctor say when words don’t come? Such was my dilemma several years ago on an inpatient psychiatric service when I responded to an emergency alarm activated by staff in a patient’s room. A young female patient—call her Lisa—had just knotted some latex gloves around her neck, and her face was still plethoric […]

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David Valdez, White House Photo Office

Public Awareness and Perceptions of Palliative and Comfort Care

In April 2018, Barbara Bush, champion for universal literacy and former First Lady of the United States, died at the age of 92 after a prolonged illness. Two days prior, a family spokesperson announced that she had “decided not to seek additional medical treatment and [would] instead focus on comfort care.” We analyzed Google Trends […]

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The Computerized ECG: Friend and Foe

Computerized interpretation of the electrocardiogram (ECG) began in the 1950s when conversion of its analog signal to digital form became available. Since then, automatic computer interpretations of the ECG have become routine, even at the point of care, by the addition of interpretive algorithms to portable ECG carts. Now, more than 100 million computerized ECG […]

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airplane on a runway

Medical Tourists: Incoming and Outgoing

Patients who travel to another country to seek health care are referred to as medical tourists. The term arose because many Americans seek less expensive elective surgical, dental, or cosmetic procedures while vacationing abroad.1 Of course, US hospitals and physicians have also long cared for medical tourists from other countries. Now, many medical tourists are going […]

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