Don’t let smartphones distract from care

The odds are good that you’re reading this on your phone right now. The overwhelming majority of physicians, residents and medical students own smartphones and many use them to keep up with medical news, communicate with colleagues and consult clinical reference tools that help them deliver better care. But these pocket computers also have the potential to distract from medical care in ways that can be harmful. There are three ways you can ensure wise clinical use of your smartphone.

My lede. The whole shebang.

Lifelong health: Physician-led effort focuses on teens

Did you know that September was National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month? It was also Sexual Health Awareness Month, and National Suicide Prevention Week also took place in September. Throughout the year, there are many such occasions that relate to issues affecting adolescent health, but there is no similar nationwide event that targets teen health as a whole. Physicians are trying to change that.

My lede. The whole shebang.

Precision medicine: When to order somatic cancer panel testing

Somatic cancer panel testing, also called cancer genomic panels or tumor molecular panels, can simultaneously look for dozens or even hundreds of genetic variants driving cancer growth and expand patients’ treatment options by identifying targeted therapies. They represent a major advance in cancer care, but the circumstances under which such tests should be used vary depending on several factors. Discover more about this fast-developing area of precision medicine and test yourself with interactive case studies.

My lede. The whole shebang.

Interoperability breakthrough: 5 things physicians should know

An agreement formed by two health-information connectors represents a major advance for nationwide interoperability, potentially enabling more than 15,000 hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations to share data. This would allow, for example, a Miami physician to access the electronic records of a patient from Seattle who presents at the emergency department while vacationing. Here are five things physicians should understand about what this collaboration will mean for health-data sharing and care delivery.

The lede to my latest story at AMA Wire. The whole shebang.

6 reasons patients avoid flu vaccination

It is likely that most of your patients who have not yet received an influenza vaccination for the 2016 – 2017 flu season simply have not made the time to do so. But there is another group of patients who seem to have a ready set of explanations for why they ought to skip vaccination each flu season. Here are the rationales these patients might offer up and how you can respond.

My lede. The whole shebang.

How Florida has made tough calls in Zika fight

When the first cases of local Zika virus transmission were confirmed in South Florida this summer, physicians, public health officials and policy makers had to make difficult decisions on how best to contain spread of the infection linked to birth defects, Guillain-Barre syndrome and other neurological problems. The Sunshine State experience is especially instructive in light of news from Texas of the first case of mosquito-borne Zika infection there.

My lede. The whole shebang.

Catching up on AMA Wire

Last month, I left the College of American Pathologists to rejoin the American Medical Association. Once upon a time, I worked as a reporter for American Medical News, the AMA’s weekly newspaper. And then I didn’t. And then I joined the CAP, which was a lovely place to work.

But now I’m back at the AMA. To wit:

The job principally involves writing for, and editing, AMA Wire. That is an online-only news site that publishes about 500 stories a year. These stories are included an email newsletter that goes to about 250,000 physician subscribers.

Unlike AMNews, Wire is explicitly designed to promote AMA policies, goals and strategic initiatives among practicing physicians, medical students, residents and fellows. So there is an element of marketing communications to the gig, but the main tools used to do that are news-like storytelling and a fair deal of fact-finding and sharing. It is an interesting challenge, and I am enjoying the chance to work with a kind and talented group of people.

I have been so busy getting up to speed on the job that I haven’t made the time to post many links to my articles, as has been my custom. I’ve now created a page here for my AMA Wire stories.  So far, I’ve covered speeches at the AMA’s interim meeting by its president and CEO, team-based care, gun violence, care for LGBT patients, mobile health appshealth care reform, antibiotic stewardship and statin prescribing.

Stay tuned to this website for more, if you are so inclined. Or follow me on Twitter.