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Sensing Savvy

Profile of Excellence: Aldo Castaneda, M.D., Ph.D.

Posted by Susan Eymann, MS on Oct 2, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Dr. Aldo R. Castañeda believes in giving back. After a highly successful career as a pediatric cardiac surgeon and chief at Boston’s prestigious Children’s Hospital, Aldo Castañeda returned to Guatemala where he had attended medical school many years before to develop a pediatric cardiac unit that trains Latin American surgeons. To date, his foundation has helped fund a unit that performs about 500 surgeries a year on poor children.

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Healthcare News: Is CMS' Readmissions Program Working?

Posted by Roger DeLong, CP, PE, MBA on Sep 27, 2017 8:01:00 AM

At first the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Readmissions Program seemed highly successful. Between 2011-2014, readmissions for conditions like heart attacks fell by 2.5 percent, and Medicare had saved $9 billion on readmissions. A CMS review cited an 8 percent drop in readmission rate nationwide between 2010-2015. Data also suggested that hospitals that avoided penalties took steps to revamp their readmissions strategies, and saw significant prevention of patient readmissions.

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How to Deal with an Upset Patient

Posted by Anna Mueller, MS on Sep 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM

As a physician, you strive to provide the best care for your patients. So you may feel a bit unsettled — even hurt — when a patient you’ve cared for takes his or her frustrations out on you or your staff.

Everyone gets upset now and then. But add in the stress of dealing with a medical issue, and it can be easier for patients to take their frustrations out on their providers.

Thankfully, there are ways to spot a patient’s fear or anger early on and help diffuse it. Here’s how to deal with an upset patient.

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Kidney Care News to Know

Posted by Deborah Brouwer-Maier RN, CNN on Sep 20, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Fresenius Medical Care Acquires NxStage Medical

The deal was for about $2 billion, or $30 per common share. The deal is expected to close in 2018. Fresenius hopes the acquisition will help it accelerate growth within the home dialysis markets.

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Topics: kidney care

Why Medical Malpractice Lawsuits are Filed Against Physicians

Posted by Roger DeLong, CP, PE, MBA on Sep 18, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Every physician dreads the possibility of a medical malpractice lawsuit. The time, money, preparation and emotional stress can be a tremendous drain and harmful to their practice. Physicians already must pay high fees for malpractice insurance and lawsuits can last for years.

Most likely, physicians will face a medical malpractice lawsuit at some point in their career. A survey by the American Medical Association showed that 5% of respondents had a malpractice claim the previous year. When that time comes, it’s best to be prepared. Below we’ll look at the top reasons lawsuits are filed against physicians and how they can protect themselves.

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How Cardiothoracic Surgeons Can Go On Vacation

Posted by Roger DeLong, CP, PE, MBA on Sep 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Doctors often use the excuse that they have too much to do to take vacation. According to a study by Project: Time Off, Americans waste a record 658 million vacation days a year. The main reasons for doing so included returning to a pile of work, having no one else who can do the job, and not being able to afford a holiday.

These arguments are real challenges for many physicians. While it feels great to finally get away, the preparation leading up to a trip can be incredibly stressful. And thinking about the amount of work you’ll have to catch up on after vacation is enough to put a damper on any trip planning.

But while these problems may seem insurmountable, not prioritizing break time can have dire consequences to your health. Fortunately, you can use some effective strategies to make downtime less worrisome, and health benefits that will have you considering time off more seriously.

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Topics: Cardiothoracic

Banding of High-Flow Arteriovenous Fistulas Decreases Hospitalizations

Posted by Susan Eymann, MS on Sep 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Clinicians at a Fort Worth vascular access center wanted to ascertain the effects of banding their patients with high-flow arteriovenous fistulas. It is known that patients with high flow of more than 2 L/min are more likely to experience cardiac symptoms. Therefore, the nephrologists set a goal of reducing flow in the high-flow fistulas of 12 patients to between 600 and 1200 mL/min and then retrospectively analyzing the results.

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Topics: Hemodialysis

3 Things You Need to Know About Medical Malpractice Insurance

Posted by Roger DeLong, CP, PE, MBA on Sep 6, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Whether you’re running your own private practice or are employed by a health group, you probably don’t give much thought to malpractice insurance. After all, you’ve got other things to worry about — patient satisfaction, managing patients with complex or chronic conditions, dealing with paperwork and updating patient records.

However, selecting a policy isn’t as simple as choosing a car or home insurance policy. And if you own your own practice or are a shareholder in one, you need even more information to make a sound decision for your business and fellow physicians.

So, where how do you get started? Let’s look at what you need to know about medical malpractice insurance.

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4 Coping Strategies for Physician Burnout

Posted by Roger DeLong, CP, PE, MBA on Sep 5, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Battling burnout has become one of the most important things physicians need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle and practice. According to the General Social Survey of 2016, workers are twice as likely to report feeling exhausted compared to 20 years ago. Clinical practitioners experience burnout at an even higher rate in certain specialty areas such as anesthesia, dermatology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, radiology and surgery, reporting symptoms at a rate of 40% or more.

The demands of the medical workplace have significantly increased over time. Multitasking, information overload, taxing hours, high stakes, excessive workloads and even electronic health records breed a commonly overlooked symptom of burnout: chronic exhaustion. In combination with other symptoms like loneliness and isolation, exhaustion can accelerate burnout, often causing physicians to leave their practice.

Fortunately, you can identify and address symptoms of burnout and sustain the passion for your medical work using these effective coping strategies.

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What to Know About Patient Reviews & How to Combat Negative Reviews

Posted by Roger DeLong, CP, PE, MBA on Aug 30, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Every day, more patients are turning to the internet to research and leave feedback on their physicians. In a survey by Software Advice, the percentage of patients using online reviews increased by 68% between 2013 and 2014. Platforms like Yelp, Vitals, Healthgrades and RateMDs act for doctors the same way as review sites do for hotels, spas and restaurants. While doctors are dealing with the hard realities of online reviews, you can make patient feedback posted online work in your favor. Here's how to combat negative reviews the right way.

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Topics: cardiothoracic surgery