New England Baptist
Say your knee hurts. Or you’ve got a shoulder injury your doctor says may need surgery. Where do you turn for help?
If you’re like most Americans, you consult Dr. Google, or her colleague Dr. Yahoo. But the answers these search engines turn up vary widely in quality, a new study of the 10 most common sports medicine diagnoses concludes.
Writing in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Dr. Madhav Karunakar and colleagues from the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC, report that nonprofit sites and academic sites were better than news-related or personal sites when it came to the completeness, clarity, and accuracy of information on typical knee, shoulder, elbow, or other joint injuries. Commercial sites, with the notable exception of WedMD and eMedicine, were the worst, they said, promoting their products and omitting references to complications that could come from using them.
The poor showing was no surprise to Dr. Brian McKeon, an orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital and team physician for the Boston Celtics. He advises his patients to know who’s behind a site, steering them to nonprofit sites sponsored by professional societies such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
While McKeon embraces the Internet, he’s also wary of the printout-wielding patients who may have already diagnosed themselves based on what they’ve read online.
“The bottom line is, these sites don’t know what their MRI looks like,” McKeon said. “What they in particular have, and the intricacies of their particular problem, don’t fit on any web site. Nothing ever is as solid as a physical exam.”
He tells patients to use web sites for a general understanding of the issues involved with their injury. Most of all, he said, learn the anatomy.
“Anatomy is everything in life. If you understand anatomy, you understand your doctor’s visit so much better,” he said. “It’s kind of like understanding a car. You need to know what brake pads are to understand when the mechanic says your brake pads are worn down three-quarters and do you want to replace them?”
In the battle against dangerous infections contracted through tubes delivering treatment to seriously ill patients, seven Massachusetts hospitals had perfect records while others were much better or much worse than the national average, according to an article published today in Consumer Reports.
Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, Faulkner Hospital in Boston, Holyoke Medical Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Signature Health Brockton Hospital, and Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro all had no central-line infections in 2008. Ten hospitals had infection rates worse than the national average. There were variations across the state and within hospital systems.
Central-line infections occur when germs travel through catheters threaded into a patient's vein in the neck, chest, or arm so that blood, fluids, or medications can be quickly infused. About 90,000 patients a year die from infections they contract while they are in hospitals or other health care facilities, national estimates say, and a third are blamed on central-line infections. Reducing bloodstream infections has been a focus of state and national movements to improve the safety of patients in the hospital.
Certain Boston Celtics season ticket holders will pick up concierge access to New England Baptist Hospital doctors along with their courtside seats, the Boston Herald reports today.
Courtside Club members will now be able to call a special number at the hospital to speak to a nurse who can coordinate their care, perhaps with the same personnel who treat the Celtics, the story says. The hospital is known for its orthopedic services, including surgery performed by Dr. Brian McKeon on Celtics star Kevin Garnett's knee. New England Baptist has been the Celtics' official hospital for 23 years.
That begs the question about another hospital-team relationship.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox, but as with all teams, players are free to see doctors elsewhere, including Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill of Massachusetts General Hospital. Beth Israel Deaconess has a presence at Fenway Park, providing first-aid in the park and supporting the Red Sox Scholars program in the community.
Would Beth Israel Deaconess offer Red Sox season ticket holders anything like Courtside Club access to its doctors?
"This is not something that we're considering," hospital spokesperson Judy Glasser said in an interview. "The goal is to give everyone the same level of access and quality care."
Boston hospitals made a strong showing in the newest US News & World Report rankings.
Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital both scored high on the honor roll for hospitals with top scores in at least six of the 16 specialties rated. Mass. General was fifth and the Brigham was 10th on the 21-member list.
The rankings are based on patient outcomes, reputation, and care-related measures. Out of 4,861 hospitals in the country, 174 scored high enough to be included on the specialty lists.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center made the top 50 in eight specialties and Boston Medical Center was ranked in three.FULL ENTRY
By Kay Lazar, Globe Staff
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will likely be out of action at least six to nine months after suffering a season-ending knee injury Sunday, according to orthopedic surgeons, but the good news is that quarterbacks typically return to pre-injury form more quickly than other athletes.
The Patriots announced yesterday that Brady will miss the rest of the season because of the the injury to his left knee. Coach Bill Belichick declined to release any further information about the injury, but Brady is believed to have torn his anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, because of the angle of the tackle and the amount of time the team said he would miss.
The ACL is a fibrous band of tissue that runs from the thigh bone to the shin bone and provides stability for the knee during jumping, cutting and pivoting maneuvers. It is one of four major ligaments in the knee, and an ACL tear is one of the most common knee injuries suffered by athletes. It's possible Brady also suffered other damage to his knee, which could lengthen his recovery.
The federal government wants you to know how your local hospitals stack up, so today it is running newspaper ads in all 50 states -- including in the Boston Globe -- comparing local hospitals on two measures of quality and patient satisfaction.
In the Boston area, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital -- Needham rated last in both categories. The hospital said today it has made improvements since the data were collected, from July 2006 through June 2007.
The numbers aren’t new, but the $1.9 million public push to get consumers onto the web site is.
“This is really trying to create a conversation over dinner tables in America and also in the community about how you choose a hospital,” Kerry Weems, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a teleconference with reporters. “The goal is to drive the quality of healthcare up, drive costs down, and give consumers choice.”
A state hospital trade group has endorsed an educational program for hospital trustees designed to help them monitor and improve quality at the institutions their boards oversee.
The Massachusetts Hospital Association said in a statement today its six-hour curriculum for trustees focuses on mission, culture, performance, leadership, and resource allocation. It was developed with the American Hospital Association and was supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Hospitals, health systems and medical centers may become eligible for incentives from the insurer’s pay-for-performance programs after their trustees complete the course, the hospital group said.
Six organizations took part in a pilot project to test the program, which is tailored to each healthcare setting. They were Emerson Hospital in Concord, HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster and Fitchburg, New England Baptist Hospital in Boston, North Shore Medical Center in Salem, North Adams Regional Hospital, and Atrius Health, a Newton-based alliance of physician groups, including Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.
Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital held on to their honor roll positions in the annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report called "America's Best Hospitals." Nine Boston hospitals are featured in the guide.
Mass. General finished fifth in the standings, down one rung from last year, and the Brigham took tenth place, up one from last year. Once again, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Mayo Clinic finished first and second. UCLA Medical Center moved up to third from fifth and the Cleveland Clinic slipped to fourth from third.
The magazine evaluated 5,462 hospitals in 16 specialties, excluding pediatrics, and came up with 173 hospitals that met standards in one or more specialties based on reputation, care-related factors such as nursing and patient services, and mortality rate. Eighteen hospitals scored at or near the top in at least six specialties to make the honor roll.
Other hospitals were ranked in the specialty areas, but not in a cumulative score. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was in the top 50 for 10 categories: diabetes (in conjunction with the Joslin Clinic); digestive disorders; respiratory care; heart and heart surgery; cancer care; kidney diseases; geriatrics; gynecology, urology; and ear, nose and throat care.
Boston-area hospitals known for their specialties also made the top 50. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute placed fifth in the list for cancer care. Joslin Clinic, with its partner Beth Israel Deaconess, was ranked 12th for endocrinology. New England Baptist Hospital was 17th for orthopedics and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital ranked eighth for rehabilitation. Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary placed fourth in ophthalmology and in the ear, nose and throat specialty.
Boston Medical Center was ranked 41st in geriatrics.
Mass. General's winning specialty areas were cancer; digestive disorders; ear, nose and throat; endocrinology; geriatrics; heart and heart surgery; gynecology; kidney disease; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; respiratory disorders; urology; psychiatry; and rheumatology.
The Brigham's top specialties were cancer; digestive disorders; ear, nose and throat; endocrinology; geriatrics; gynecology; heart and heart surgery; kidney disease; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; respiratory disorders; urology; and rheumatology.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and New England Baptist Hospital will work together on a suburban expansion. Tufts-New England Medical Center had planned to build a $300 million suburban hospital with New England Baptist but will now proceed alone.
Harry Spence, commissioner of the Department of Social Services, defended how his agency handled the case of 4-year-old poisoning victim Rebecca Riley but said his department needs more medical expertise to help social workers review the diagnoses and drugs prescribed by doctors treating children overseen by the agency. JudyAnn Bigby, secretary of Health and Human Services, said she would appoint an independent physician in the next few days to be on call to help DSS, until the agency develops a medical review system.
About 1 in 150 American children has autism, an urgent public health concern, said US health officials yesterday who reported on the largest study done so far on the disorder. The new numbers, based on 2002 data from 14 states, are higher than previously reported.
Babies conceived through fertility treatments have higher rates of birth defects, but the overall risk is so small that it should not keep couples from having children this way, doctors are reporting.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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