Friday, January 27, 2012

One Identification Number

With the United States investing billions of dollars to convert paper-based medical records to electronic ones, proponents say that universal patient identifiers would be a great way to connect patients to their medical data.  

According to The Wall Street Journal, privacy activists don't believe that having the identification numbers would be beneficial.  

"They say that information from medical records already is routinely collected and sold for commercial gain without patient consent and that a health-care ID system would only encourage more of the same," stated the article.  

Some health care officials are for the idea of everyone having a unique identification number. However, there are some that oppose it completely.  

Michael F. Collins, a board-certified physician in internal medicine, believes it would be a safe and efficient way to handle health-care, and a great way to reduce misidentification.  

Dr. Deborah Peel, on the other hand, feels that privacy would suffer, saying that patients wouldn't be able to control who sees, uses or sells their health data.  

Would do you think? Would you be comfortable with having only one identification number that housed all of your medical data? 

To read the full article that includes the pros and cons of having it, click here.  

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who Else Is Paying Your Doctor?

The Obama administration finally wants to require that manufacturers of medical devices, drugs and medical supplies disclose all of their payments to both doctors and teaching hospitals, according to an article by The New York Times.  

The information gathered would then be posted on a government website, which would be available for patients to see.  

The money that certain doctors and hospitals receive can sometimes be considered for worthy things, such as research and consulting. However, a lot of cash seems to be going around for other purposes. Doctors’ travel expenses, meals and entertainment are some things that are being paid for by those manufacturers.  

According to the article, some prominent doctors and researchers receive up to millions of dollars a year in exchange for giving lectures or providing advice on behalf of the companies.

After Feb. 17, the new rules on manufacturers disclosing information will be revised and put into final form.  

If manufacturers fail to report payments, they can be fined up to $150,000 a year. If they knowingly fail to report, they can expect to be fined up to $1 million a year.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Health Care-Acquired Infections

Did you know that in the United States, one out of 20 hospitalized patients contract a health care-acquired infection (HAI)?

An HAI is an infection a patient receives while being treated for a medical condition. When an HAI takes place, it can lead to extra time being spent in a hospital, meaning a longer recovery time.

The three most common types of HAIs are (according to the National Patient Safety Foundation):
  • Catheter-related bloodstream infections: Catheter-related bloodstream infections, or CRBSIs, are among the most common infections in patients who are admitted to critical care units. These infections occur when bacteria and other germs travel down a “central line” and enter the bloodstream.
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia: Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is an infection of the lungs that occurs 48 hours or longer after admission to a hospital. This pneumonia tends to be more serious because patients in the hospital are often sicker and unable to fight off germs than otherwise health people. Hospital-acquired pneumonia occurs more often in patients who are using a respirator (machine) to help them breathe. Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) falls into the HAP category. It may occur in patients who need a tube to breathe.
  • Surgical site infections (SSI): A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Surgical site infections sometimes only involve the skin. Others are more serious and can involve tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted material (such as knee or hip replacements).
In any health care setting, remember to:
-Wash your hands carefully after toughing anything soiled.
-Don't be afraid to remind staff members to wash their hands before working with you.
-Make sure all wounds are dry and on tightly.
-If you have any type of catheter or tube inserted, notify a staff member if it feels loose.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Comparing Hospitals

Do you need to get a medical procedure done soon? If you're struggling to decide which hospital to chose, this tool might help you.

Type in your zip code, and select three different hospitals in your area to compare them. Previous patients have filled out surveys about their experience, giving you everything you need to know about the quality of the hospital and services given.

Click here to start comparing hospitals.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Fire Triangle

The fire triangle is made of three things: heat, fuel, and oxidizer. When these three ingredients come together with the correct proportions, a fire is bound to be created.

In an operating room, all three of these are present during surgery. The surgeon controls the heat sources, the nurse controls the fuel, and an anesthesiologist is in charge of the oxidizers.

All fires that happen in an operating room happen on or in a patient. The fires that occur cause damage to equipment and can cause serious injury to patients. When these fires ignite, they come as a complete shock to staff members.

When surgical fires happen, patients are put in serious and life-threatening danger.


Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Top Hospitals for 2011

The Leapfrog Group has recently announced the top hospitals for the year 2011.

The "Top Hospital" designations is based on how hospitals deliver the highest quality care by preventing medical mistakes, reducing hospital readmissions, and lowering mortality for high-risk procedures.

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is composed of three different areas: (1) how patients fare, (2) resources used to care for patients, and (3) management practices that promote safety and quality, according to Leapfrog.

Hospitals that were recognized from the United States are:

Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center

Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center (CA)

Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center (CA)

Mills-Peninsula Health Services (CA)

Stanford Hospital and Clinics (CA)

UC San Diego Health System, Hillcrest (CA)

Baptist Health South Florida Homestead Hospital (FL)

NorthShore University HealthSystem-Evanston Hospital (IL)

NorthShore University HealthSystem-Glenbrook Hospital (IL)

Northwestern Memorial Hospital (IL)

Rush University Medical Center (IL)

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Source: Leapfrog Group
Baystate Medical Center (MA)

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (MA)

Brigham and Women's Hospital (MA)

Anne Arundel Medical Center (MD)

University of Maryland Medical Center (MD)

Detroit Receiving Hospital/University Health Center (MI)

Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital (MI)

Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital (MI)

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (MI)

University of Michigan Health System (MI)

Regions Hospital (MN)

St. Mary's Hospital of Rochester (MN)

University of North Carolina Hospitals (NC)

Hackensack University Medical Center (NJ)

The Valley Hospital of Ridgewood(NJ)
Presbyterian Hospital (NM)

Montefiore Medical Center, Weiler Division (NY)

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (NY)

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OH)

The Christ Hospital of Cincinnati (OH)

University Hospitals Case Medical Center (OH)

Lehigh Valley Hospital (PA)

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System - Downtown (SC)

Vanderbilt University Hospital (TN)

Swedish Medical Center First Hill Campus (WA)

Virginia Mason Medical Center (WA)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hospital Errors to be Made Public

Serious hospital errors could be made public through proposed new state rules in Missouri from Medicaid. 

Missouri hospitals would be required to report hospital mistakes that involve Medicaid patients to the state agency that oversees the insurance program for low-income patients.

"Hospitals have previously been able to report all adverse events to a Jefferson City nonprofit called the Missouri Center for Patient Safety. The reports are confidential, meaning they weren't subject to subpoenas, records requests from disciplinary proceedings or requests from the media," stated

The errors that the Missouri hospitals would have to report are disabilities or deaths associated with contaminated drugs and surgeries being performed on the wrong patient.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.


Adding Windows for Patient Safety

The Department of State Health Services in Texas will be spending more than $100,000 to retrofit 336 doors in 10 psychiatric state hospitals. This comes in hopes to increase patient safety and prevent patients form being abused by staff.

The 2-by-3-foot windows will be installed on doors of treatment rooms where patients receive individual therapy and other services.

Cameras will also be installed in offices where the doors can not be retrofitted.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.


Friday, January 13, 2012

New Dangers with Lymphoma Drug

According to the FDA, there are two new cases of brain inflammation that have been seen in patients who are being treated with the lymphoma drug brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris). The brain inflammation is considered life-threatening.

After taking the drug, there are currently three patients who have been diagnosed with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Symptoms for (PML) include headache, memory loss, vision problems, loss of language ability, and weakness in the arms and legs.

The FDA has now created a new warning on the drug's box that lets consumers see the new dangerous risk associated with it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hospital Mistakes Being Kept Secret

According to an investigation by the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it seems that some hospital mistakes are being kept under wraps in the state of Georgia.

The hospital errors being kept confidential include patient suicides, surgical errors, and sexual assaults.

The Journal-Constitution reported this after a recent patient from a Lawrenceville hospital committed suicide. Whether the hospital is at fault, the public may not know.

The state refuses to show unconfirmed charges of mistakes and wrongdoing, and does not let the public review reports that their hospitals submit following errors that happened, according to the Journal-Constitution.

With information regarding how many and what types of errors the hospitals have done, it makes it difficult for patients to see whether the hospital they are being treated at has a history of complaints or problems.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Click here to read the full article: FierceHealthcare

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reporting Patient-Safety Incidents

According to a new report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), only 14 percent of the patient-safety incidents experienced by Medicare beneficiaries were reported in October 2008.

The remaining 86 percent failed to be reported due to the partial fact that staff does not understand what can constitute as patient harm.

The 189 hospitals that were reviewed use incident reporting systems to help identify and track patient safety incidents. However, workers and administrators admitted to supplying incomplete data about how often these problems occur.

Since the report, the OIG has suggested that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should work closely together to improve the efficiency of the incident reporting systems.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Source: FierceHealthcare

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Clinical Notes Made Available for Patients to See

If you had access to your clinical notes, would you want to view them?

Harvard Medical School researchers came up with the idea to have the notes available for patients to read as an experiment. In 2009, the OpenNotes launched at Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Results of the survey was published in Annals of Internal Medicine in December 2011.

Overall, 92% to 97% of participating patients and 69% to 81% of participating physicians thought it was a good idea to open the clinical notes for patients to see.

Some physicians worried that the notes would be too difficult for patients to understand. Some also thought that they would alter what they wrote if they knew that their patient would be reading it.

Most patients loved the idea of having their notes available to see, and it made them feel more involved and in control of their care.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Source: American Medical News

Power Naps in the Medical Field

A lot of medical errors are caused when doctors and nurses are sleep deprived, so could napping be the answer when it comes to improving certain safety problems in hospitals?  

According to an article on Healthland, "one study found that after 24 consecutive hours of wakefulness, people’s motor skills and judgment are as impaired as if they had a blood alcohol level over the legal driving limit."

When residents need rest, it might not be a bad idea for them to take a quick nap. It would help them think cleary and have a better reaction time, which could lead to less mistakes.  

In other studies, sleep scientists have proven that naps as short as one hour can prevent performance error.  

Tired workers have a higher chance of making more mistakes, thus putting patients in danger. Power naps may be the cure to fatigued and overworked doctors and nurses.


At Snyder & Wenner we strive to keep the community safe when hospital care is involved. We are patient safety advocates who represent patients who have been harmed by hospital error. If you know someone who has been seriously harmed or injured from a hospital error, please contact us. The Snyder & Wenner website can be accessed by clicking the "Patient Safety Advocates" tab above.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Learning Patient Safety in Medical School

How can the trend of increasing mortality due to medical errors be reversed?

Workers at the National Patienty Safety Foundation are working towards reinventing the medical school curriculum, in hopes that patient safety will be taught in medical schools more effectively, and in turn reduce the death rates associated with hospital errors.

A model of education that is based on conflict resolution, mindfulness, communication, and teamwork relating to patient safety would be included.

With changing the curriculum around, clear requirements would need to be set for both terminal competencies for graduating students and with learning cultures in residency programs, as well as patient safety content needing to be included in medical textbooks and licensing exams.

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Source: KevinMD