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Tag: Westby Fisher

How My iPhone Prevented an ER Visit

It’s one of those calls you never want to get as an electrophysiologist:

“Doc, I got four shocks from my device yesterday.”

“What were you doing at the time?”

“Working outside.”

“Wasn’t it about a 100 degrees and humid then?”

“Yes.”

“Were you lightheaded before the event?”

“Not too bad… I stopped what I was doing and got better. Should I come in to the ER?”

“This happened yesterday?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you come in then?”

“Well I started to feel better…”

“Do you know how to upload the information from your device at home?”

“You mean using that thing next to my bed?”

“Yes.”

“I think so.”

“Okay, why don’t you go do this and we’ll call you right back after we have a chance to view the information you send us.”

“Okay. Thanks, doctor.”

So I waited about 15-20 minutes, then checked the Medtronic Carelink app on my iPhone.

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Love and Measurement

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Many of us recall the final scene of Mad Men where Machiavellian dealmaker, philanderer, and ad mogul Dan Draper sits in lotus position finding either true inner peace or the next cynical direction from which to profit. This scene came to mind as I read another apparent conversion experience by Robert M. Wachter, MD in his recent opinion piece in the New York Times on how the metric measurement business fails physicians and teachers.

Remarkably, Dr. Wachter, once the Chairman of the  American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) that is responsible for “continuously” measuring, re-testing, and re-certifying US physicians, seemed to pivot from his former self by quoting a few of Avedis Donabedian’s words on quality assessment suggesting “the secret of quality is love.” Unfortunately, Dr. Wachter conspicuously failed to acknowledge the full context of Donabedian’s words.

“I think that commercialization of care is a big mistake. Health care is a sacred mission. It is a moral enterprise and a scientific enterprise but not fundamentally a commercial one. We are not selling a product. We don’t have a consumer who understands everything and makes rational choices — and I include myself here. Doctors and nurses are stewards of something precious. Their work is a kind of vocation rather than simply a job; commercial values don’t really capture what they do for patients and for society as a whole.

“Systems awareness and systems design are important for health professionals but are not enough. They are enabling mechanisms only. It is the ethical dimension of individuals that is essential to a system’s success. Ultimately, the secret of quality is love. You have to love your patient, you have to love your profession, you have to love your God. If you have love, you can then work backward to monitor and improve the system. Commercialism should not be a principal force in the system. That people should make money by investing in health care without actually being providers of health care seems somewhat perverse, like a kind of racketeering.” Avedis Donabedian

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