Welcome to Grand Rounds, the weekly recap of the best in the medical blog universe! And welcome to Medgadget, where our team of researchers, doctors and engineers cover the world of medical devices and health-related technology news.
For Grand Rounds this week, we suggested bloggers send us technology-related material, and they rose to the challenge; we received some amazing links. Of course, there was great non-techie material too. It’s all below, loosely categorized, with photos and quotes lifted from posts of note.
- The Happy Hospitalist observes the use of new technology on rounds: an expensive pupillometer that takes a previously simple physical exam item — pupillary response to light– into a higher plane of precision and accuracy. His response? not so Happy! But perhaps more thoughtful and discerning than we would’ve been (we just want to play with one)
- Allergy Notes highlights the official EpiPen app iOS devices, which explains the steps for using the potentially lifesaving EpiPen, lists your allergens, lets you mail info to contacts, and pretty much does everything except inject epinephrine into your thigh.
- George Van Antwerp at Enabling Health Decisions surveys the new mobile PBM (that’s Pharmacy Benefit Manager) landscape and writes some impressive iOS and Android apps for consumers to review and manage their prescriptions.
- We love iMedicalApps for their extensive mobile healthcare app coverage. Occasionally, though, they go beyond software, and cover add-ons like this pulse oximeter that sends data to an iPhone.
- Ryan DuBosar of ACP Internist’s Blog offers some impressive statistics about US physicians’ use of technology in their practice. No, he’s not talking about MRIs or genome analysis. Did you know that 7% of docs are using videoconferencing with patients, and 75% own Apple mobile devices? We just want to know: Was this a survey of all US doctors, or just our readers?
- Electrophysiologist Westby Fisher responds to the Ford-Medtronic partnership for a talking car that monitors its driver’s medical status.
Politics & Policy
- When Health Business Blog‘s David E. Williams sent us a post with the title, “Does Mitt Romney deserve the abuse he’s getting on health care? Yes” we thought he’d be attacking Romney from the right. But this savvy consultant is actually quite reasonable. One of his many fine points below:
“Even a cold-blooded capitalist like me realizes that pure free-market approaches aren’t effective or fair in health care.”
- The new US healthcare law (PPACA) will bring many changes to the way insurance coverage will work — and Louise covers some of the details at the Colorado Health Insurance Insider blog:
“Although it sounds simple enough to just say that we’re going to expand Medicaid eligibility and subsidize health insurance premiums (on a sliding scale) for most Americans, such a program will actually be fraught with complications. Income and job changes are a pretty common fact of life, so subsidy eligibility is likely to change from one year to the next. There’s no simple answer to all of this.”
- The CDC invoked a zombie apocalypse as a publicity stunt to raise awareness for emergency preparedness. Dr. Elaine Schattner responds in her post, Zombies are for Children, and Hits.
- Carolyn Thomas at The Ethical Nag reviews new studies on how healthcare information is transmitted by television shows, and wonders if TV drama can serve to educate the public about real health risks.
Medicine (the non-gadget way of treating patients)
Last week’s Grand Rounds host, Jessie Gruman of Prepared Patient Forum, takes a thoughtful look at medication adherence from the patient’s perspective.
“Think about it: Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of research is translated into a drug that costs millions of dollars to produce, which in turn cost hundreds of dollars for a clinician to prescribe and tens of dollars for our health insurance to pay for — but the potential of that drug to alter the course of a disease depends on the actions of an individual: you, me, my friend with dementia, your aging neighbor, your grandchild with type 1 diabetes. If we don’t take the drugs as directed, we don’t realize their benefit.”
- David Harlow of the HealthBlawg asks, “why do 10% of cancer patients on oral meds stop taking them?”
“While we need not return to the bad old days of infusion therapy only for cancer meds, payors should examine the results of this study carefully and reconsider coverage rules. Reducing out-of-pocket costs for these meds will increase adherence, and would likely reduce the incidence of complications and relapses requiring more expensive care . . . good for everyone.”
- ACP Hospitalist Blog summarizes the recent AHRQ report on adverse drug events. There’s been a stunning increase in recent years (brought on by an aging population, and more people getting anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, and yes, painkillers). Reading it makes us glad medical devices are comparatively simple and safe.
- The blogger behind InsideSurgery profiles the use and dangers of that amazing, paralytic drug, succinylcholine.
Health & You
- Feeling reflective? Psychologist Will Meeks presents models for processing one’s emotions. Be sure to see his chart of the excellent Plutchik Emotion Circumplex.
- Dr. Ves Dimov, the man behind the amazing resource called CasesBlog, shares his strategy for social media prominence and has advice on how you can achieve it, in two easy steps. It warms our hearts to see that sharing links on Grand Rounds is still a part of his routine!
- Barbara Kivowitz, an inspiring patient blogger who writes In Sickness and In Health for couples, responds to three simple pieces of advice, and offers three of her own (we really liked the part about physician-researchers!).
That wraps up this edition of Grand Rounds. Thank you for making it this far! Grand Rounds takes a break next week for Memorial Day weekend in the US. Check the schedule at BetterHealth for the next host, in June. If you’re interested in hosting Grand Rounds at your site, or helping with Grand Rounds behind-the-scenes, drop us a line.