By Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, April 01, 2014
Welcome home after the Academy meeting! Hope that you had an enjoyable time and feel that you learned a bit while you were at it. While I always enjoy myself, the truth is that I am very happy to get back home after the time away. Even the rainy days of Philly this time of year don’t diminish this feeling. Besides, after the cold and snow that this past winter brought, anything else the weather throws our way seems like a wonderful reprieve.
As usual there are definitely some articles that should be put in the must-read column this month. Start with Alex Miller’s column on pathology billing. While we often focus more on the billing practices of our clinical efforts, those whose practices include the reading of slides will appreciate this column. The coding of pathologic services is also ripe for scrutiny when auditors come looking, so take advantage of this article; brush-up to be sure that you haven’t missed any points.
Dr. Munavalli’s article this month really reminds me of the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Anyone who is e-prescribing will want to read this. The assumption that all technological changes will be beneficial is nearly universal. However, this piece takes a look at that presumption, and like the emperor’s new clothes, it highlights some shortcomings. Gilly acknowledges that there are some benefits to e-prescribing, for example eliminating handwriting errors. However, he also points out the limitations and problems. It certainly can be frustrating to search the databases for a particular pharmacy — sometimes it feels like I am looking for a needle in a haystack. Or take the issue of retracting an erroneous script...if this software were designed by physicians you could be sure that we could electronically correct such mistakes. My personal complaint is how to handle e-prescribing for the patient that doesn’t need the script now, but will before they return for follow up. Pharmacies often harass those with awaiting scripts....how is it that there is not an option to hit prescribe but put on hold till the patient contacts the pharmacy? And Gilly points out that there are different levels of e-prescribing software. Shouldn’t we all need the same features?
The third piece that I’d like to highlight is the Acta column this month. I interviewed Peter Shumaker about the role of fractional lasers in managing scars. This technique began as an effort to try to assist our wounded warriors. However, the potential value for all those with traumatic scars is obvious. How wonderful that research that began with the military is now available to help ameliorate disfiguring scars.
In addition to these pieces, this month’s magazine also has really interesting articles on medical missions to Africa, dermatology in Mexico, and the “empowered patient.” We also have information for you on what the update to the notice of privacy practices requires. Hopefully there will be some rainy days to help fit in your review of the whole magazine.
Enjoy your reading.