The PMD Critical List: America's 'Germiest' Hospitals

A new study looks at the rates of bacteria, superbugs, and other unwanted dangers at America’s hospitals. Some of the names topping the list might surprise you. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also on the list, why doctors care about happiness, and why the stethoscope might soon become a thing of the past.

A new study looks at the rates of bacteria, superbugs, and other unwanted dangers at America’s hospitals. Some of the names topping the list might surprise you. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also on the list, why doctors care about happiness, and why the stethoscope might soon become a thing of the past.

Which Are America's Germiest Hospitals? (NBC News)

The answer is surprising … many are flagship teaching hospitals, like Johns Hopkins University, Harvard Medical School, and the Cleveland Clinic. “Despite years of warnings, federal fines and embarrassing statistics, America's hospitals still teem with infectious bacteria, including drug-resistant superbugs,” according to the independent Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

The End of the Stethoscope? (The Atlantic)

A worthwhile debate about the needs and uses of this renowned doctor tool. Some “worries that a whole generation of doctors is learning to rely too much on technology.” Does the medical profession still need “first-line tools that are safe, effective, and cheap”?

Medicine, Marriage and Geography (Becker's Hospital Review)

Seeking a better understanding of where doctor elect to practice medicine, JAMA is out with a new study. Some challenges: Researchers found that “nearly 55% of doctors are married to a “highly educated spouse” but also found “across the board, physicians with well-educated spouses weren't as likely to practice in rural areas.”

Medal of Honor Winner Saves a Doctor (US Navy)

The week’s most inspiring story—the heroic actions of a US Navy SEAL. Edward Byers was awarded the ultimate prize for valor—the Medal of Honor. And he got it for rescuing an American physician during a Taliban gunfight. Dr. Dilip Joseph was medical director for a faith-based group building medical clinics in Afghanistan.

Why Doctors Care About Happiness (The New York Times)

A timely essay from a clued-in physician, author, and medical professor. Today’s doctors must ask the patient about happiness. “Doctors, of course, can’t solve the economic, societal and interpersonal challenges that cause unhappiness, but attention to the inner sense of suffering is helpful above and beyond our treatments for the disease itself.”

Veterans Need More Doctors (KRGV.com)

An imperfect but still quite troubling report about the serious lack of access to physicians for many Texas veterans. In 2015, the average wait time to see a doctor was about a month. “This has been going on forever, since I started going to the clinic. It’s on and on and on,” said one sick and dissatisfied vet.

5 Things Physicians Want from Mobile Technology (Insights)

“Physicians are technophiles” and “healthcare is late to the game when it comes to technology because of its risk-averse culture and unique regulatory and business models,” explains a rare doctor tech geek. This “trusted thought leader in digital health,” suggests ways “mobile can improve the way doctors deliver care.”

Why Doctors Buy Bigger Homes (The Washington Post)

A new National Bureau of Economic Research study “suggests that the threat of malpractice lawsuits may shape behavior well beyond the clinic, pushing doctors to buy fancier, more extravagant homes in states where those assets are excluded from bankruptcy.”

Doctors Being Killed All Over the Middle East (Foreign Policy)

A most disturbing report from a serious news organization. “Attacks against hospitals and clinics from Afghanistan to South Sudan and Yemen have grown distressingly common in recent years, killing hundreds, forcing the shuttering of numerous medical facilities, and adding to the misery of already war-torn nations.”

Considering the Role of Medical Scribes (MedPageToday)

An informative Q&A with physicians on the growing use of medical scribes. Some highlights: “I could refer to myself as a ‘clickster rather than a doctor’” and “scribes help providers who are not comfortable with EMRs” and “a scribe in the room may inhibit certain patients from opening up.”