Letter from the Editor

What exactly does patient-centeredness mean in practice?.

There's a lot of talk about patient-centered care in medicine—for example, The Joint Commission began including patient-centered standards in accreditation decisions in July. The benefits of such care include, of course, gains in patient satisfaction, but research also suggests it can reduce readmissions. But what, exactly, does patient-centeredness mean in practice? Our cover story looks at the concrete steps hospitals and hospitalists can take to ensure care is focused on the desires and best interests of patients and their families. It also discusses how to handle the discord that can arise when the wishes of doctors clash with those of patients.

Respect for the patient is a topic that's also explored in our Perspectives piece by medical student Farzon A. Nahvi. He argues that there is a “privilege gap” in U.S. medicine, since students mainly come from high-income families. This makes it difficult for them to relate to some of their patients' health barriers once they become doctors. Read Mr. Nahvi's innovative solution to the problem.

In our clinical coverage this month, we have two inside features about topics that tend to be overlooked—by physicians in one case, by patients in the other. The latter involves hepatitis C, public awareness of which is unacceptably low. About 70% of patients aren't treated for hep C because they don't know they have it. Learn what you can do to put patients in the know. Our second feature examines the oft-overlooked connection between atrial fibrillation and stroke, and encourages hospitalists to be aware that having one condition is good reason to check for the other. Our MKSAP quiz also focuses on atrial fibrillation.

Finally, we look at a subject that's not covered in medical school, but can make or break a career—the ability to give a good presentation. Public speaking guru Scott Litin, MD, MACP, offers tips on how to wow the crowd, whether it be at a national meeting or in the halls of the hospital during rounds.

Got some tips of your own to share? Please write to us any time. We're always happy to hear from you.

Jessica Berthold Editor
ACP Hospitalist