Media To Consider - 3/30/18

Books and Articles worth a Review…

Preparing For The Virtualist – As my regular readers will know, I’ve been an advocate for some time that we need to be considering how best to appropriately train clinicians to become “virtualist” care providers.  I do not believe that you simply take good clinicians, place them in front of a computer and say, “Have at it!”.  If we do not prepare these clinicians to understand the nuance of voice inflection, to detect the potential meaning of facial reactions, to understand the basics of large data analytics, to have a core understanding of the field of informatics – and, a host of other “to” items, the Health Care Virtualist will not be adequately prepared to provide high quality care in a virtual environment.  And, while I’m on the topic – this is NOT just a medical or physician’s domain.  I believe that if we are to be successful in adopting, adapting and effectively using tele-technologies – it will require a team model.  In essence, I’m making the argument that “virtualist” training should become a core element of training for all clinicians just like physiology, or microbiology, or pharmacology are consider part of the core curriculum.  There is the JAMA Virtualist article by Michael Nochomovitz, MD that advocates the need for considering a “Virtualist” specialty.  While that may actually evolve over time, I think the real discussion needs to be centered on cross-disciplinary approach toward “virtualist care” training for all clinicians.  Virtualist care will be the norm in the not-too-distant future – just like a stethoscope hanging around your neck.  

The Siren Call From The CDC – For those who missed it, Ken Thorpe and team had an article in Health Affairs last week on the lack of attention to a major, growing problem – antibiotic resistance.  There is not much known about the contribution of antibiotic resistance to rising health care costs.  So, the researchers reviewed the data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to derive an estimate.  Their assessment was that antibiotic resistance adds about $1,400 or, about $2.2 billion annually across the entire nation. So, you can see that if we extrapolate the data on an international basis, the cost is very substantial.  More importantly, it’s growing at a very rapid rate. Something needs to be done and, it starts with educating physicians on the use of antibiotics and in how pharmaceutical companies manage antibiotic manufacturing – especially in foreign countries.  Dr. Thorpe’s team called for new infection prevention programs, antibiotics, and vaccines to prevent and treat antibiotic-resistant infections as an international priority. This is one of those looming problems that is on the horizon and my fear is that when the problem finally hits us on a massive scale – the health care community is going to look at one another in bewilderment.

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