CME NOTES Yet another study has been released showing that physicians are not communicating acceptably with patients. Audiotapes of 1,057 patient-physician discussions, made by Clarence H. Braddock, MD, for the University of Washington in Seattle, show that in only 9 percent of the 3,552 clinical decisions made during these discussions did physicians provide adequate information for patients to make informed decisions. Surgeons were slightly better at giving information than primary care physicians because, according to Braddock, they are accustomed to obtaining written consent from patients for surgery. Study results were published in the December 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Videotape is as good a teaching tool for surgeons as it is for athletes, according to a study published in the January 2000 issue of Urology. "Surgeons who don't have good outcomes will benefit from videotaping their operations," says Patrick Walsh, MD, director, Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins Medical School and lead author of the study. "When they have a success, they can go back and see if they can find what makes the difference in their technique." He suggests that swapping tapes among institutions will improve surgeries. The study consisted of videotaping the radical prostatectomies of 62 men, following up on their outcomes, and studying the tapes to see where procedural differences affected the quality of outcome.
Hamot Health Foundation, Penn. State College of Medicine, and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center will soon begin partnering to produce joint programs in CME. "This affiliation truly will allow Hamot's residents, physicians, and staff to better share information and, most importantly, knowledge with their counterparts in Hershey," says John T. Malone, CEO of both Hamot and Hershey.
The Institute for Functional Medicine has received accreditation as sponsor of continuing medical education for physicians by the Accreditation Council for CME. The IFM was founded in 1993 and advocates a science-based approach to health that assesses and treats underlying causes of illness through individually tailored therapies to restore health and improve function. The IFM is a HealthComm Company, based in Gig Harbor, Wash.
WEB NOTES The percentage of physicians using information from the Web as part of their practice has nearly doubled in the past two years, to 37 percent in 1999 from 20 percent in 1997, according to a study released by the American Medical Association in December. Note that the percentage of physicians who say they use a computer remained unchanged, at 41 percent. But physicians who do use computers and don't have Web access say they plan to get it within six months. Upshot: The AMA expects a coming wave of Web usage by physicians. An area of rapid growth in usage of the Web for physicians is to set up dedicated Web sites to promote their practices and disseminate information to patients.
The First International Kidney Cancer Symposium, held in Chicago in early October of last year, can now be seen in its entirety at www.cancereducation.com, a Web site operated by MedClips.com Network, Inc. MedClips specializes in providing health care information in audio and video formats online. "I am pleased that this valuable information will now continue to stir scientific debate over the Internet," says Carl F. Dixon, president of the Kidney Cancer Association, which sponsored the meeting. The cancereducation.com Web site has one section devoted to information for patients and their families, and a second for oncology professionals.
The Kidney Cancer Association was founded in 1990 as an organization for both physicians and patients.
ALLIANCE NOTES The Alliance for CME will hold "The CME Summit: Practices, Opportunities, and Priorities for the New Millennium: The Learner, The Provider, The Results" from April 12 to 16 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, Calif. Themes include education in the workplace for physicians, preventing information overdose, and using theory and research to shape continuing professional development. Visit the Alliance's Web site at www.acme-assn.org for more information