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Skeptical Scalpel

Medical School Grading: Everyone Gets a Trophy

“Variation and Imprecision of Clerkship Grading in US Medical Schools” is the understated title of the paper in the August 2012 issue of the journal Academic Medicine. The authors, from the department of medicine at Brigham and...

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Why Malpractice Claims Take Forever To Be Resolved

Two recent papers have prompted me to ask myself the question, “Why do malpractice suits take so long to be resolved?” One was by a group from Harvard, USC and the RAND Corporation. They looked at more than 10,000 closed...

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How to Lower 30-Day Hospital Readmission Rates

As new Medicare rules kick in, some 2,200 hospitals nationwide are facing financial penalties for 30-day readmission rates for myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and pneumonia. Medicare payments will be lowered by...

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A Simple Mistake?

If you pay attention at all to news about medicine, you must have heard about the tragic death of a 12-year-old boy who was seen and discharged from the emergency department of the prestigious New York University Medical Center....

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NY Hospital Installs Hand-Washing Cam

Doctors and nurses in the ICU at Long Island’s North Shore University Hospital are being watched by 39 video cameras in an effort to increase compliance with hand washing. According to a report, hand-washing compliance is up...

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New Additions to the “Never Events” List

You are probably familiar with the CMS “never events” initiative. CMS has decided it will not reimburse hospitals for treatment related to complications that it says should never occur. Here is the current list. Foreign object...

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A Shortage of General Surgeons: Coming Soon?

There is much hand-wringing about the shortage of primary care physicians. But primary care is not the only specialty with deficits. In a few years, all surgical specialties will experience significant decreases in availability....

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Whatever Happened to Personal Contact?

Not long ago, I attended a retirement party for a former colleague. He had been a surgeon for 43 years at a hospital where I was once chairman of surgery. A number of old friends and colleagues whom I hadn’t seen for a long time...

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