Physicians News Digest
March 2, 2011:  More features online at PhysiciansNews.com.

In This Issue
Residency Directors Think Work Limits Will Harm Continuous Care
Coalition of Medical Professionals Launch Website About the New Health Care Law
Hospitals Not Taking Advantage of Facebook
Residency Directors Think Work Limits Will Harm Continuous Care
Following up on last year's proposal by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to limit the workday of first-year residents to 16 hours, the Mayo Clinic conducted a survey of directors of residency programs regarding the rules.

The study, which appears in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, covered responses from directors of 464 internal medicine, pediatric and general surgery residency programs. They were asked how they thought the requirements - which weren't finalized at the time of the survey - would affect different aspects of graduate medical education. In a word: badly.  

 

A majority of respondents believe the limits will worsen residents' ability to provide continuous care to patients, to coordinate patient care, to respond to patient needs, to communicate effectively with patients and each other, and to investigate and evaluate their own care. Program directors weren't too optimistic that residents' fatigue will actually decrease, either; 65% said the rules would have no effect and 6% said they'd increase fatigue. Only 14% believed there would be an increase in patient safety and quality of care. (Wall Street Journal

Coalition of Medical Professionals Launch Website About the New Health Care Law
At a time when many Americans are confused about the healthcare overhaul law, a coalition of groups representing doctors, nurses, pharmacists and consumers has launched a website to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act. The new website - HealthCareandYou.org - doesn't delve into the politics behind the law, but spells out what the law means to consumers, depending on the state they live in and their age. The website also provides a timeline, telling consumers when different parts of the law go into effect.

The coalition includes AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network, the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Nurses Association, the Catholic Health Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association.

In a survey released last week, 22 percent of Americans incorrectly believed that the health-care overhaul law had been repealed - and another 26 percent said they weren't sure. "There's a lot of confusion about what the law involves, there's confusion about whether the law is actually in effect and a lot of confusion about the politics of it, what's going on in Congress and what's going on in the courts," said Dr. Cecil Wilson, president of the AMA. (Orlando Sentinel)
Hospitals Not Taking Advantage of Facebook
Healthcare IT News reports that U.S. hospitals are not taking advantage of the opportunities Facebook creates to better engage patients, build healthcare communities or develop their hospital brands, according to a new study. "It appears that hospitals either have yet to grasp the role of Facebook with respect to connecting with patients, or have not yet invested in the medium to be able to use it as a viable marketing communications and healthcare or community development tool," said Andrea Simon, president of Simon Associates Management Consultants and co-author of the study.

The study looks at various types of relevant Facebook activities and tactics for 120 hospitals of various sizes and affiliations across the country. Children's hospitals appear to be clear leaders in the use of Facebook. Key findings from the study are:
  • Only 8 of 120 hospitals (6 percent) had more than 10,000 fans.
  • Less than 40 percent of hospitals posted daily, those who posted on a daily basis had many more encounters with current and prospective patients as well as caregivers.
  • Less than 50 percent used Facebook's event calendar to promote health or hospital events.
  • 80 percent of hospitals did not use Facebook's discussion board, while those hospitals who did were rewarded with a high degree of engagement, adulation and recommendations from members.