January 2008

Editor's Note

Readers will notice many changes in our January 2008 issue, which will relaunch as ACP Internist with a new look and expanded content. ACP Internist will feature the same high-caliber reporting that readers have come to expect from ACP Observer, with some notable additions and improvements.

Mindful Medicine: Critical thinking leads to right diagnosis

Jerome Groopman, FACP, author of the bestselling “How Doctors Think,” and his wife, endocrinologist Pamela Hartzband, ACP Member, discuss the art of medical diagnosis and decision making through a series of case studies suggested by readers.

Examining ethical dilemmas that occur in everyday practice

A Harvard expert moderates a new column on ethical case studies and suggests some practical strategies for handling and preventing conflicts. Case study: How should a physician react when an elderly patient refuses life-saving treatment contrary to the wishes of her family?.

Staffing can make or break a small practice

In a quest to unveil common problems for small practices and offer solutions, the College's Center for Practice Innovation visited 34 practices across the U.S. over a two-year period. Part one of the six-part series looks at the unique staffing issues faced by small offices.

Physicians practice putting mind over matter

Meditation techniques help physicians maintain an open outlook.

Gastroenterologists face consequences of obesity epidemic

Obesity seemed to be the topic on everyone's lips at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in October.

Assessing BMI, waist size vital to prevent worsening obesity

Body mass index and waist circumference are at the core of diagnosing obesity, yet these measurements are often bypassed in the typical office visit.

Obesity is heaviest in the South and Appalachia

Two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese, a rate that grew from 15% for 1978-80 to 32% in 2003-04.

Infectious disease doctors tackle bad bugs with fewer drugs

Annual meeting unveils research, techniques that could help stem the tide of resistance and disease, particularly with the increase of ‘C-diff’.

The Colonoscopy Conundrum

Studies suggest the importance of screening, but convincing patients is another matter.

New research evaluates RA patients' cardiovascular risks Rheumatologists also mull advances, complications of drug therapy

Much of the research presented at the 71st annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology focused on cardiovascular and other non-rheumatological consequences of the disease.

In-office research can trip up even the most ethical doctors

Brian J. McMahon, MACP, took pride in adhering to the highest ethical standards during a sponsored practice-based research study on a hepatitis vaccine.

Letters to the Editor

Readers respond about retail clinic guidelines and EMRs.

Personalized medicine with a genomic twist

Personalized medicine with a genomic twist.

2008 CPT codes clarify billing for phone and electronic E/M

My staff just got their new CPT books. Is there anything in particular that I should notice?.

An efficient form-ula for documentation

Good documentation is critical, and in today's environment it must be performed quickly, accurately and efficiently.

The Campaign Trail: Health care plank builds presidential platforms

Where do the presidential hopefuls stand on health care?.

Web Watch: Living in the brave new world of medical wikis

To those who know their way around a keyboard, the buzz these days is all about “wikisâ€ï¿½â€”communal Web sites that anyone can help create or edit.

ACP issues recommendations for heath care system reforms

In its policy paper, ACP made eight major recommendations based on comprehensive analyses of eight pluralistic systems and four single-payer systems.

Congress needs to rewrite script for fixing payment system

Washington, D.C. is once again playing its own version of the film “Groundhog Day.”.


Eduardo de Alba, FACP | James W. Haviland, MACP | Merle A. Sande, MACP.

Special Focus: Diagnosing Pulmonary Embolism

Evidence-based recommendations about care.