Letter from the Editor

This month's issue includes articles on ransomware attacks at hospitals, aspirin overuse in afib, communication skills training, and more.


The usual risks of clicking on a strange e-mail or link are fairly minor—your contacts receive some spam or unwanted windows open in your web browser. But for anyone who works in a hospital, the potential consequences have gotten much more serious. Opening an e-mail attachment from a hacker can disable a health system's electronic health record, with the risks of impaired care and identity theft for patients and ransom demands and legal consequences for hospitals. Our cover story reports all the worrisome details but also offers helpful tips for protecting yourself, your patients, and your hospital. acph-201610-ransomware-hospitals

Hospitalist programs are finding that it takes more than a few tips to truly improve your communication with patients, according to our story. acph-201610-communication-training Communication skills training sessions for clinicians are gaining popularity, thanks to their potential to improve patients' satisfaction and adherence. Training may include activities varying from lectures and videos to role-playing and improv, and they're often followed up with individual coaching. Sound appealing? Learn how to get hospital leadership and individual physicians to buy in with advice from experts who've successfully led such programs.

On the clinical side, other experts advise hospitalists to take an active role in making sure atrial fibrillation patients taking anticoagulants and/or aspirin are treated according to evidence and guidelines. According to recent research and our story, many are taking one when the other would be more effective, or both when only one is appropriate. acph-201610-aspirin-overuse-afib Read the story, and then check your knowledge with a related Test Yourself from MKSAP 17. acph-201610-mksap-anticoagulation

This issue's Success Story focuses on a career issue—getting new hospitalists up to speed after hiring. acph-201610-success-story-training-new-hires Learn how one program aced this task, and remember to let us know if you have any successful interventions to share with colleagues in this section. We'd also like to hear from you about this month's Newman's Notions. acph-201610-newman Do you have an answer to the ethical dilemma posed by a hypothetical patient's special medication request? E-mail us.

Sincerely,
Stacey Butterfield
Editor-in-Chief