Resources for Physicians

EHRs in the ER: As Doctors Adapt, Concerns About Medical Errors

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Mistakes happening more frequently in transition to digitalized record systems.

Mistakes happening more frequently in transition to digitalized record systems.

Kaiser Health News staff writer Shefali Luthra reports: “The mouse slips, and the emergency room doctor clicks on the wrong number, ordering a medication dosage that’s far too large.

Elsewhere, in another ER’s electronic health record, a patient’s name isn’t clearly displayed, so the nurse misses it and enters symptoms in the wrong person’s file. These are easy mistakes to make. As ER doctors and nurses grapple with the transition to digitalized record systems, they seem to happen more frequently.” (Luthra, 3/1)

Read entire article courtesy of Kaiser Health News.

 


Website Lists Preventive Services for Better Health

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Site encourages doctors and patients to decide together whether a preventive service is right for a person’s needs.

Getting the best health care means making smart decisions about preventive services. Preventive services, such as screening tests, counseling services, and preventive medicines, are tests or treatments that your doctor or others provide to prevent illnesses before they cause you symptoms or problems.

To help doctors and patients decide together whether a preventive service is right for a person’s needs, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force develops recommendations based on a review of high-quality scientific evidence, and publishes its recommendations on its website and/or in a peer-reviewed journal.

The goal of these recommendations is not only to offer guidance to doctors, nurses and other primary care professionals, but to provide patients and their families with the most accurate and up-to-date information on ways to prevent illness and improve health and well-being.

On this page you will find easy-to-understand information on the Task Force and on health topics for which the Task Force has released a recommendation. These materials include guides, fact sheets, slideshows, and videos available for view and download. You can sort the table by document title, type of material, or recommendation title, or simply browse using the search function. These materials are designed to inform people about Task Force recommendations and are not intended to replace advice from a health professional.


New Depression Screening Guidelines Easy to Implement

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depression screening

Screening can be as simple as a two-item questionnaire.

Screening for depression is a low-cost, high-impact intervention that should be a regular part of primary care medicine, reports the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

Depression is common and potentially disabling. Yet despite decades of research and publicity about the problem, depression often goes unnoticed. Unnecessary suffering can be prevented if the task force recommendations are followed:

  • They encourage primary care practices to have systems to detect depression: Screening can be done with a simple questionnaire.
  • If a person is diagnosed with depression, treatment can be offered: psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.
  • After initiating treatment, provide follow up: A phone call to the person and/or return visits to the primary care provider.

Screening can be as simple as a two-item questionnaire. The Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) asks,

Over a 2-week period, have you been bothered by (1) little interest or pleasure in doing things; or (2) feeling down, depressed or hopeless?

Answering yes to either item means the problem should be evaluated more fully. The primary care provider may make a referral to a mental health provider, but there is enormous value when initial evaluation and treatment can begin in the primary care setting, reports Harvard Medical News.

Read full recommendations here.