President's Column

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

In the Search for Measures that Matter, Star Ratings Miss the Mark

By Darrell G. Kirch, MD, AAMC President and CEO

From restaurant and movie reviews to websites that rate professors and real estate agents, it sometimes seems as if every aspect of our lives is facilitated by reviews and ratings.  Ratings can be a useful shortcut when deciding where to go to dinner or what movie to see, but the complex nature of health care makes developing a reliable ratings scale for hospitals a fraught proposition.  The AAMC strongly supports transparency of data and meaningful information for patients searching for their best options for care.  Unfortunately, the AAMC and our constituents are deeply concerned that, due to the flawed methodology underpinning the recently published Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) “Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings,” this new system could have very serious consequences for patients, possibly steering them away from the best hospitals for their condition. 

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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

CMS Hospital Star Ratings First Step in Effort to Improve Quality Measures

By Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, and Patrick Conway, MD, MSc

On July 27, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings on the Hospital Compare website. This is a first step in a longer journey to improve the underlying measures and ratings system over time.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Creating a Safety Net: Preventing Physician Suicide

By Christine Moutier, MD, Chief Medical Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

With higher rates of suicide among physicians than in the general public, the academic medicine community must work together to create a culture of safety that encourages doctors and trainees to seek mental health treatment when facing depression, anxiety, or burnout.

About a decade ago, Mitchell Lunn, MD, noticed he was receiving little instruction on providing care to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community while a student at Stanford University School of Medicine, even though these patients faced documented disparities in disease burden and access to care. So, he did something about it.

In 2007, Lunn and fellow students approached Stanford faculty about adding more LGBT care topics to the curriculum. In response, faculty asked them to research what other medical schools were doing. Lunn and his classmates began searching, but the literature was slim. So they designed their own study, surveying medical education deans in the United States and Canada.

The results, published in 2011 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found a median of five hours devoted to LGBT care in the medical school curriculum. More than one-third of survey respondents reported zero hours on LGBT care during students’ clinical education.

“I’m gay myself, and I don’t know a single LBGT person who hasn’t had to educate their doctor about their needs,” said Lunn, now an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and cofounder of Stanford’s LGBT Medical Education Research Group.

Over the last few years, however, medical schools have started to make an earnest effort to incorporate LGBT patient care into their curricula and to help close LGBT health disparities.

“This is patient-centered care,” said Lunn, “but it requires a lot of practice and skill to make sure you’re opening up the doors for those sensitive conversations.”

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Academic Medicine in the News

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spanish-language Classes for Health Sciences Students

University of Arizona Health Sciences introduces Spanish-language to pre-health students and those at the College of Medicine and College of Public Health.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New department focuses on Interventional Radiology

After eight years of growth in research and clinical applications, the University of Miami has created a Department of Interventional Radiology, demonstrating its leadership in this versatile therapy.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Crowdsourcing Effort Takes Aim at Deadliest Breast Cancers

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project, run by Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists, uses big data to evolve treatment.