The patient, a women in her mid-forties, developed dizziness and vomiting during exercise. Upon presentation to an emergency department (ED), staff noted that the patient was unable to verbally communicate, but she could follow instructions. An examination revealed bilateral nystagmus, and a urine toxicology screen was positive for opiates. Read more
A 47-year-old female presented to her local emergency department (ED) on a Saturday evening with complaints of shoulder and back pain, nausea, dizziness, and chest discomfort. Earlier in the day, the patient reported working in her garden and attending a family picnic. An ECG was ordered, and the results were negative. The patient was not referred for further cardiac testing because the emergency physician determined that muscle strain and acid reflux were the cause of the patient's symptoms. Read more
The concept of quality improvement is discussed frequently among members of the healthcare community. We generally understand that to improve patient outcomes, we must improve performance, or the delivery of care. Read more
Privacy and security of patients' protected health information (PHI) have been at the forefront of healthcare for a number of years. Most healthcare professionals are well aware of their obligations to protect PHI under state and federal regulations. Read more
Electronic health records (EHRs) have revolutionized the documentation of patient care. For a large number of healthcare practitioners, paper records are a relic of the past, replaced by exam room computers and digital interfaces. Yet, no change is without challenges, and EHRs — like many other technologies — have proven to sit at a complex intersection of benefits and risks. Read more
A state medical board received a complaint that an internal medicine physician in a small town was tweeting about specific patients without their knowledge or consent over a 12-month period. The medical board initiated an investigation into whether the physician's actions constituted (a) a breach of doctor–patient confidentiality (b) a violation of laws connected with practice, and/or (c) unprofessional conduct. Read more
Dr. Miller, a general dentist, treated a male patient in his fifties for various dental issues. Although the treatments were successful, the patient was unhappy with Dr. Miller's office staff and the amount for which he was billed. The patient joined an online forum and began posting negative comments about Dr. Miller's billing policies, office staff, and efficacy of care. Read more
Without doubt, the ease, flexibility, and convenience of social media offer various opportunities to enhance the dissemination of health information and communication between patients and healthcare providers.
However, like any type of technology, social media can create safety and risk issues if it is not used responsibly. Additionally, because social media changes rapidly, standards and best practices are not always well-defined.