Group #1: Jamie Newman (USA); Guilherme Barcellos (Brazil); Andrés Aizman (Chile); Fernando Rivera (USA); Luiz Rojas Orellana (Chile); Neil Winawer (USA); Esteban Gandara (Canada); Jairo Roa (Colombia)

Group#2 (2010-now): Guilherme Barcellos (Brazil); Jamie Newman (USA); Andrés Aizman (Chile); Daniel Grassi (Argentina); Fernando Rivera (USA); Luiz Rojas Orellana (Chile); Roberto Daniel Martinez (Argentina); Lucas Zambon (Brazil); Neil Winawer (USA); Esteban Gandara (Canada); Fabiana Rolla (Brazil)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Perioperative Management of the Morbid Obese Children

Obesity is the plague of our days. It takes years of life away in an instant. However, despite the knowledge and awareness of its terrible consequences, it seems that parents are blind to the devastating effects of it.

I presented a workshop on perioperative management of the pediatric patient in Kansas City, at the 2011 Pediatric Hospital Medicine meeting, sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society of Hospital Medicine.

A section I focused on, and brought special attention was the management of children with morbid obesity. You can read in further detail here.

HM group at Facebook

I created a group called Hospital Medicine at Facebook. You are invited to join.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Do hospitalists increase costs?

I wrote a post in my blog addressing this very issue. I titled it Do hospitalists boost costs? - a reality or fiction? This is based on a fresh-from-the-oven article written in Annals of Internal Medicine where it was shown in a large cohort of Medicare patients that care associated with hospitalists yielded a shift in the healthcare expenditure from inpatient to outpatient.

Nobody can deny the impressive statistical methodology behind this article, however, not because I want to be irrationally defensive or be the devil's advocate, I do think there are multiple limitations in the study that should make the general reader cautious and avoid taking precipitous assumptions and conclusions.

It is important to acknowledge the value of this article in the current state of USA economy - a substantial amount (~40%) of the budget goes into insurance (which includes Medicare and Medicaid). Therefore when the authors conclude that Medicare admissions cared by hospitalists may represent and additional 1.1 billions in Medicare costs per year, it is a very serious and frightening statement.

In the search for the perfect model of healthcare, so far it has been assumed that hospitalists decrease costs; but if this is proven otherwise, it may be a hard bite to swallow.

I have several thoughts in my blog post. First of all, the study period is quite far away, and practices have shifted and evolved. In addition, there are more and newer markers of quality of care that are definitely not included in this article. Third, the healthcare system ion USA is living a paradigm shift where the evolution toward a Patient-centered medical home is an ongoing process and where bundled payments may in fact become the standard of cost containment methods and create very different situation than the one which the article concludes.

I think that in the search of transparency and accountability, and search for self-improvement, this article is a breath of fresh air - it should give place to reflection and careful analysis - we can show our value and newer studies may need to be done including newer metrics of quality and patient outcomes. This should not trigger a defensive attitude, but rather an analytical and philosophical one. We can in fact, appreciate it as an opportunity to look into newer ventures for improvement. This is how this movement was created, and this is what drives our movement - the continuous insight to become better and add increased value to healthcare and society.