Interim Physicians Blog

Dr. Ken’s Corner: Hospitals Step Up Efforts To Fight Superbugs

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Nov 29, 2018 12:01:00 PM

Approximately one in 25 patients will contract at least one infection during their stay in the hospital.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that the number of hospital acquired infections has dropped slightly since 2011, according to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In 2011 about 4 percent of patients developed an infection while in the hospital.  That number is now down to 3.2 percent (2015 data).  (The CDC’s findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, November 1, 2018.)

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Topics: superbugs, CDC, hospital, patient safety, infection rates

Dr. Ken's Corner: Should Doctors Encourage Audio Recordings of Patient Visits?

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Aug 23, 2018 11:56:11 AM

An increasing number of patients are recording their visits to the doctor on their smart-phones, oftentimes without even telling the doctor. Are such secretly recorded conversations legal? Under federal law, audio recording is permitted if at least one party to the conversation has given consent (even if that's the person doing the recording). Only a dozen states require that all parties in the conversation give permission (per www.bioethics.net). These states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

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Topics: doctor-patient relationship, patient safety, HIPPA

Dr. Ken's Corner: True of False? Shorter Shifts Improve Patient Safety

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jun 22, 2015 2:29:49 PM

In 2011 it was mandated that resident physicians work shorter hours: shifts no longer than 16 hours for first-year residents and no longer than 24 hours for other residents. The logical premise was that doctor fatigue leads to more mistakes. In 2013 Dr. Steven Lockley of Harvard University was quoted in The Wall Street Journal: "When hours are reduced, medical error rates fall enormously. No other simple solution comes as close as a way of cutting errors."

Along comes a new study in 2015 that shows "shorter shifts for medical residents don't appear to be making big improvements in doctors' fatigue levels or in patient care" (HealthDay News, February 9, 2015). Researchers at the University of Toronto evaluated overnight shifts of 12, 16, and 24 hours involving 47 residents and over 800 ICU admissions at two teaching hospitals. Their findings,

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Topics: Dr. Christopher Parshuram, Dr. Ken's Corner, Dr. Ken Teufel, Dr. Mitesh Patel, Dr. Steven Lockley, HealthDay News, locums, patient safety, shorter shifts

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