Dr. Sherry Glied is dean of the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Dr. Mark Pauly is a professor of health care management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Stephen Morrissey, the interviewer, is the Executive Managing Editor of the Journal. S. Glied. Health Policy in a Biden Administration. N Engl J Med 2020;383:1501-1503. M.V. Pauly. Health Policy after a Trump Election Victory. N Engl J Med 2020;383:1503-1505.
New England Journal of Medicine (Aug 13, 2020) – In this small, single-center, nonblinded trial involving patients with chronic edema of the leg and cellulitis, compression therapy resulted in a lower incidence of recurrence of cellulitis than conservative treatment.
The researchers have conducted a single-center, randomized, nonblinded trial that aimed to find out an association between the compression therapy and controlled incidents of chronic edema of the leg and people with cellulitis that can be defined as an infection of the skin that involves subcutaneous tissues or the innermost layer of the skin. Cellulitis can be caused by trauma or scratching of other lesions due to animal or human bites that result in fever, extreme pain, and redness of the skin.
I have been using compression stockings for decades, since the discovery of the difference in color of my feet. An evaluation by a vascular surgeon revealed incompetence in the valve of my left popliteal vein. It wasn’t long before I developed small varicose veins.
Comfortable with PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE after a career in ALLERGY, I started wearing Jobst compression stockings, with 30-40 mm of constrictive force. After a decade or so of daily wearing, my big toes started to overlap my second toes, and I began using toe-spreaders; scissor-toe and hammer-toe were my worry, and I wanted to prevent this discomfort.
After a while, I began to notice that the Jobst stockings tended to bunch my toes together. Also, with the developing arthritis in my fingers, it was increasingly hard to get the 30-40mm stockings on without straining my arthritic hands. I now wear OPEN-TOE 15-20mm compression Medi stockings, which are easier to get on, and don’t bunch up my toes.
I still use the visco-elastic toe spreaders. Now, back to the compression stockings for treatment of cellulitis complicating ankle swelling. Of course it works. Beta Hemolytic Streptococci and Staph aureus like nothing better to feed on than a warm pool of interstitial fluid, which is the juice that comprises the ankle swelling.
And BLOOD CLOTS tend to form in the stagnant pools of blood which aggregates in varicose veins, particularly when you are sitting for a long time, such as during a long airline trip. By all means, use compression stockings if you have ankle edema, or even a condition predisposing to ankle edema like varicose veins. Don’t wait for the complication to develop. Be PROACTIVE, and STAY HEALTHY.
NEJM (Aug 13, 2020) – Population-level mortality from NSCLC in the United States fell sharply from 2013 to 2016, and survival after diagnosis improved substantially. Our analysis suggests that a reduction in incidence along with treatment advances — particularly approvals for and use of targeted therapies — is likely to explain the reduction in mortality observed during this period.
“The survival benefit for patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with targeted therapies has been demonstrated in clinical trials, but this study highlights the impact of these treatments at the population level,” said Nadia Howlader, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, who led the study. “We can now see the impact of advances in lung cancer treatment on survival.”
In this audio interview conducted on June 3, 2020, the editors discuss two new studies: one comparing test swabs collected by health care workers with swabs collected by the patients themselves and one assessing hydroxychloroquine treatment in people who had been exposed to Covid-19 but weren’t yet ill.
The continuing spread of SARS-CoV-2 remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. What physicians need to know about transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of Covid-19 is the subject of ongoing updates from infectious disease experts at the Journal.
Eric Rubin is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal. Lindsey Baden is a Deputy Editor of the Journal. Stephen Morrissey, the interviewer, is the Executive Managing Editor of the Journal.
CLICK ON PATIENT BELOW TO LAUNCH “VIRTUAL PATIENT SIMULATION”
This interactive simulated case of Covid 19 (SARS CoV-2) is remarkable: a unique opportunity to stand in the shoes of a ER Doctor without any risk, except to our egos.
This is meant for doctors, but the intellectually curious Guests of this site might enjoy the experience, especially Doctor Lisa Sanders fans. The vocabulary is full Medical, and will give a foretaste of the words I will slowly be exploring. I believe that patients should not be intimidated by their lab reports.
I’ll start the vocabulary journey with FERRITIN which is a marker for IRON STORES in the body. You can have too much iron, which is dangerous (iron overload), in which case the ferritin is high.
There was a time when I had too little iron ( was anemic, with a hemoglobin of 8.6, and felt terrible) and my ferritin was low. I now check my ferritin every 6 months to make sure I am taking enough iron to offset my blood loss, which is another story I will tell when I start go through my medicine cabinet and discuss the Meds one at a time.
The reason for testing ferritin in our interactive Covid 19 case was because ferritin is markedly elevated in cases of inflammation/ infection. It is an “acute phase reactant”, and may reflect the “cytokines storm” that may be a contributor to the lethality of Covid 19.
There is another way to benefit from this simulation: the train-wreck of a patient serves as a cautionary tale of what you wish NOT to become. Our present medical profession is so DISEASE oriented. How much better if our society and our medical profession were HEALTH oriented instead.
Direct-to-consumer (or on-demand) telemedicine, a 21st-century approach to forward triage that allows patients to be efficiently screened, is both patient-centered and conducive to self-quarantine, and it protects patients, clinicians, and the community from exposure.
It can allow physicians and patients to communicate 24/7, using smartphones or webcam-enabled computers. Respiratory symptoms — which may be early signs of Covid-19 — are among the conditions most commonly evaluated with this approach.
Health care providers can easily obtain detailed travel and exposure histories. Automated screening algorithms can be built into the intake process, and local epidemiologic information can be used to standardize screening and practice patterns across providers.
Disasters and pandemics pose unique challenges to health care delivery. Though telehealth will not solve them all, it’s well suited for scenarios in which infrastructure remains intact and clinicians are available to see patients. Payment and regulatory structures, state licensing, credentialing across hospitals, and program implementation all take time to work through, but health systems that have already invested in telemedicine are well positioned to ensure that patients with Covid-19 receive the care they need. In this instance, it may be a virtually perfect solution.
Until recently, there were several barriers preventing widespread adoption of telemedicine. The two broad themes were:
Providers, health systems, and payers were slow to embrace change
A failure to appreciate that telemedicine is not a new type of medicine, but rather simply a care delivery mechanism that can be utilized with some patients, some of the time, to provide high-quality care
Addressing the Telemedicine Myths
Myth 1: Telemedicine is “too hard.”
This was not true before Covid-19 and we have further demonstrated that it is not true now. Almost every provider and the great majority of patients in the U.S. already possess the technology needed to conduct a telemedicine visit — a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
It turns out that when fear of catching a potentially fatal disease strikes, telemedicine is no longer too hard.
Myth 2: Patients prioritize existing relationships with their provider over transactional episodic care.
Data argues otherwise: The majority of times, patients just want care. Falling primary care visits rates, coupled with growing emergency department and urgent care visit rates, suggests convenience as more important than an established relationship.
Myth 3. You cannot do a physical examination.
It turns out you can. A new 21st-century physical exam utilizing telemedicine emphasizes the importance of general appearance (sick or not sick, weight, distress), respiratory effort, and environmental factors including a visual assessment of the home that is not something that can be accomplished at an office visit.
The majority of times, patients just want care.
Myth 4: Virtual visits are less effective than in-person visits.
Focusing on the comparison in diagnostic accuracy between virtual and in-person visits sets up a false dichotomy. Focusing on actionable information is more important than diagnostic accuracy.2 Actionable information recognizes providers might not always make a diagnosis within a single visit, whether in-person or telemedicine.
Like every other new challenge, you have to try telemedicine to get comfortable with it.
Myth 5. There is not a payment model supporting telemedicine.
While it is true that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (pre-Covid-19) had limited reimbursement based upon site of service and geography, since the Covid-19 outbreak, to the credit of the federal government and commercial payers, telemedicine is now covered.