Drug companies and physicians often have had an uneasy relationship. Although drug representatives provide product samples and information (and sometimes free lunches), they also come with additional baggage: the potential for conflict of interest. Some say doctors can't be influenced by free food and inexpensive trinkets like mugs and pens, but others—and some research—suggest otherwise. As a result, some institutions, mainly academic medical centers, are taking a newer, hard-line approach to physicians' relationships with pharma. In our cover story, Stacey Butterfield looks at some of these new policies as well as the potential impact of this growing movement.
Pain management in orthopedic patients can require both awareness and finesse. Diane Shannon, MD, reviews ways to control pain in younger patients coming in for elective surgery as well as in older patients undergoing fracture repair.
If you're new to academic hospital medicine, there's a good chance you're also new to teaching. So how do you handle the responsibility of being ward attending for a group of residents, interns and students who are looking to you for education and guidance? Two veteran ward attendings, Robert M. Centor, FACP, and Lisa L. Willett, ACP Member, offer practical tips for making the transition from student to teacher and developing your own teaching style.
Hospitalist groups often struggle with the best way to minimize the potential for errors during patient handoffs. While standardization is the answer for many, David J. Yu, FACP, director of the hospitalist program at Decatur Memorial Hospital in Illinois, took a different tack: He developed a scheduling model that requires only one signout session per week. Read about why he thinks his model works, and what he'd recommend to other program directors trying to tailor scheduling to their facilities' and physicians' needs.
Finally, as always, we welcome your feedback. Keep sending us your suggestions and ideas at acphospitalist[EACHAT]acponline.org.
Jennifer Kearney-Strouse Editor