Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Power to the People !!???

What people you may ask?  Ask and ye shall be told !!

Modern Medicine announced today the 100 MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN MEDICINE.

So, who makes  this momentous decision?? Is it more important than the ‘Golden Llama Award’?? (of which I unashamedly boast that I earned some time ago)

A little bit of research reveals that these mighty Centurions are chosen in this manner. 

Is it any wonder why most physicians are enraged and stand gawking with disbelief?

Dr Wes, in his blog today points out how the rules don’t count for those who make the rules

Should Dr. Emanuel not have noted his relationship as White House advisor for health care policy and his relationship with his brother, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel? And should Ms. DeParle's disclosed her role as President Obama's so-called health czar with significant ties to private equity firms?

Conflict of interest exists when an author, editor, or peer reviewer has a competing interest that could unduly influence (or be perceived to do so) his or her responsibilities in the publication process. The potential for an author’s conflict of interest exists when he or she (or the author’s institution or employer) has personal or financial relationships that could influence (bias) his or her actions. These relationships vary from those with negligible potential to influence judgment to those with great potential to influence judgment. Not all relationships represent true conflict of interest. Conflict of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that the relationship affects his or her scientific judgment.
Authors, editors, and peer reviewers must state explicitly whether potential conflicts do or do not exist. Academic, financial, institutional, and personal relationships (such as employment, consultancies, close colleague or family ties, honoraria for advice or public speaking, service on advisory boards or medical education companies, stock ownership or options, paid expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, and royalties) are potential conflicts of interest that could undermine the credibility of the journal, the authors, and science itself.

Perhaps such disclosures only for the little people in health care who try to publish their work.


And finally  Dr Wes offers this list as the 10 most important (and powerful ) people in Medicine:

So who are the most powerful people in health care?
Well, I'd like to propose my list - maybe not of a 100 people (frankly, nothing gets done if you have a committee of 100 people anyway) - but rather my own list of the Top 10 Most Powerful People in Your Health Care today:

10. The Doctor - They consider the differential, write the orders, follow-up on tests, and move the health care ball forward throughout your hospitalization or stay with a rehab facility. As such, they should be given their power due, even if many other members of the health care team are actually are the ones that make sure the care happens. Still, because the doctor gets most of the liability risk if things don't happen or happen incorrectly, they just make my power list.
9. The Food Service Personnel - These folks are powerful. They have the ability to make even a clear liquid diet look like real food - especially when they mix the colors and flavors of jello. Further, proper parenteral nutrition for an ICD patient greatly shortens the sickest patient's hospitalization. Get it right and everyone benefits. Power personified.
8. The Physical Therapist - If you can't eat your food, sit up, keep your muscles toned, maintain the range of motion of your limbs when sick, the chances of returning to independent living are limited. Physical therapist have come of the most helpful techniques to get going - both physically and mentally - like turkey bowling. Their power over our patients should definitely be appreciated more.
7. The Social Worker - Want to negotiate the complex Medicare and Medicaid rules for placement in an assisted living facility? Need to get a patient to rehab? Want to arrange transportation for a patient that doesn't have a penny to their name? Make something from absolutely nothing? Call the Social Worker - but call them early in the hospital stay. (They're never at their best with last-minute consults.)
6. The Nursing Supervisor - Trust me on this. No one has more power to assure adequate staffing on each patient care ward each day than the Nursing Supervisor. Medical students and residents that cross the directives issued by this individual do so at their own peril.
5. The Bed Coordinator - If you need to admit a patient to a hospital, they must first get a bed. With many hospitals working at or near capacity, no single person has more influence over the patients admitted to a hospital facility. They find beds when no one else can. After all, it's their job.
4. The Hospital Operator - Name one person who can activate a Code Blue (cardiac arrest), find the obscure specialist in the middle of the night when they're most needed, or mobilize a trauma team faster. Can't do it? That, my friends, is power.
3. The Night Shift Nurse - At three in the morning when you're lying there in the hospital bed and need something - anything - who's the most important person in the hospital who will assure you're needs are tended to? Need I say more? If the night shift nurse is inattentive, unresponsive, irresponsible for that 8-hour shift - you're screwed. On the other hand, if she's attentive, knows when to call for help, or provides pain relief when you need it most after surgery, or - most important - gives you that laxative at 3AM - his or her power in medicine pales in comparison to any bureaucrat, politician, or hospital system CEO.
2. The Patient's Family - Often forgotten, family members have huge influence over the care provided to their loved one - especially at times where their loved one might not be able to communicate. This power should not be ignored, but it cuts both ways, too. While family members can facilitate the treatment and rehabilitation of their loved one because they know them better than anyone else, they can also prolong undue suffering if they do not comprehend the limits of care that their loved one desires in the end-of-life setting. Families that communicate their needs and wishes before anyone gets sick avoid much of the confusion during this difficult time and serve as powerful allies to the health care team.
1. You, The Patient - No one has more influence and power over their care than you. Don't want care? Leave. No one can stop you. Want care and don't have a penny? Come to the Emergency Room. You won't be turned away. Wonder what all the big buildings, waterfalls, and fancy technology were built and bought for? You. Every single person involved in health care is there because of you. So make the most of it. Come prepared. Know your medical history, medicines and allergies. If you can't remember, keep a list with you. Ask questions. Insist on clear answers. Work with your care givers, don't fight them. If you're not sure, get a second opinion. Write a letter acknowledging those that made the extra effort and scolding those that didn't. Your constructive criticism makes the system better. And know that hospitals understand the importance of your word-of-mouth referral - it's the most powerful marketing strategy a health care system can generate. Finally, remember that you can vote for politicians that don't forget who's in charge. You are the ultimate power broker in health care. Don't forget it.


Musings of a cardiologist and cardiac electro physiologist.

And Thank you to the most powerful electophysiologist in the blog world….make my milliamps…Dr Wes

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