The PMD Critical List: Hospitals Struggle to Help Depressed Doctors

A new study finds fully one-third of medical residents experience depression, yet few talk about it and their employers generally have few resources to help. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Data-mining aims to help limit lawsuits and improve patient safety; and a scientific answer to why boys seems to be more interested in sports.

A new study finds fully one-third of medical residents experience depression, yet few talk about it and their employers generally have few resources to help. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Data-mining could help limit lawsuits and improve patient safety; and a scientific answer to why boys seems to be more interested in sports.

Hospitals Struggle to Help Depressed Doctors (STAT)

A new study published in Academic Medicine finds that 35% of medical residents experience clinically significant depression—and seldom talk about it. “We don’t have good infrastructure … That’s why we can’t screen for residents who are depressed or suicidal. Because if we find them, we wouldn’t have anything for them.”

Old Malpractice Lawsuits Offer Clues (The Wall Street Journal)

“Malpractice insurers and medical specialty groups are mining thousands of closed claims from suits that have been tried, dismissed or settled over the past few years. Their goal is to identify common reasons that doctors are sued and the underlying issues that threaten patient safety.”

Knowing if Patients are Skipping Pills (Fox News)

“Many doctors don't have a good way of knowing whether patients are skipping medication doses, according to new JAMA research. “Doctors may need to explicitly ask patients if they ever skipped medications over the past month in order to get an accurate picture of their adherence.”

Tylenol: Kills Pain & Kindness (The Washington Post)

“Acetaminophen, the most common drug ingredient in the United States, can reduce a person's capacity to empathize with another person's pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional,” according to new research in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Scientific Reasons Men Like Sports More Than Women (Time)

“A thoughtful new study in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, finds that the hard hand of evolution plays at least as much of a role in sports interest and participation as policy does—and quite possibly a greater one. And that, like it or not, tips the balance in favor of males.”

Why Doctors Still Need Stethoscopes (The Atlantic)

A solid essay by a physician about an instrument that “may have outlived its use, but it hasn’t lost its power.” For many physicians, “the stethoscope exam has become more ceremony than utility” but if a stethoscope helps patients continue to look at their doctors with reverence, the author says, he’ll be hesitant to give up the device.

The Tangled Hospital-Physician Relationship (Health Affairs)

The report addresses “the economic power balance between hospitals and physician communities, and the policy levers that influence this complex relationship—a relationship that is evolving in a way that could increase financial pressures on both hospitals and the American health system.”

No Place for Rampant Capitalism in Healthcare (Los Angeles Times)

American healthcare “is capable of many wonderful things, but not all of them are about health or care. It is just as often about selling you things you probably don't need at a ridiculous price,” says a California doctor. Driving this “are businesspeople—executives that run hospitals, pharmaceutical concerns and insurance companies—using healthcare as their instrument to make money.”

Doctors Must Maintain Their Digital Reputation (Diagnostic Imaging)

As the online reputation of physicians fast becomes as important as their real-life reputation, it can be more difficult to control. With Yelpification—the phenomenon of people becoming more aware of a business through online reviews—gaining momentum in healthcare, physicians must employ these tips “to harness the power of reviews to grow their practice and build brand entity.”