Archive for July, 2009

Pain Management as a Fundamental Human Right

by Daniel Carr, M.D, FABPM, Founding Director PREP program Tufts University School of Medicine and Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
As the healthcare system has become more patient-centered, one sees increasing reference to patient rights to aspects of care, such as pain care. What does it mean for something — in particular, pain management
– to be a “human right”?
Do entitlements evolve into rights, or are rights something that have always existed but whose formal recognition may be slow to come? How is the human right to pain management operationalized within national legislative, judicial and regulatory systems, and healthcare policy? Dr Dan Carr, Founding Director of the PREP program, explores whether there is a fundamental human right to pain management in a comprehensive review available at
http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.com/cgi/reprint/105/1/205. Co-authored with two distinguished international authorities, this article was published in the official journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society along with an unprecedented four editorials including a very affirming one from the World Health Organization. Those with a deeper interest in this important topic may wish to read the white paper prepared by Human Rights Watch, available at http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/health0309web_1.pdf .
What are your thoughts about pain managment as a fundamental human right? Please share your thoughts and comments.

1 comment July 29th, 2009

Attending Local Conferences and Seminars: Financial Help for Students is Available

by Lisa Neal Gualtieri, PhD, Adjunct Clinical Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine and Pamela Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP student and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
We went to the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council meeting in June on Healthcare & Social Media: Don’t Do It Alone – How to Leverage Social Media to Power Behavior Change . It was a fascinating session that included an excellent presentation by Dan Pallestant, MD, founder and CEO of Sermo, the best known physician online community. But the point here is not the seminar itself, but that there any many conferences and seminars in Boston on healthcare and attending them takes a committment of both time and money. The time issue comes down to a determination of how beneficial the content or the networking will be. The cost issue is one where there is help. Stay In MA is designed to support students’ attending local conferences and seminars and the application process has a quick turnaround. We recommend you try it the next time you see an announcement.

Add comment July 19th, 2009

Declaration of Health Data Rights

by Lisa Neal Gualtieri, PhD, Adjunct Clinical Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
We just celebrated Independence Day and can easily see how, in the US, we have rights that we often take for granted until we compare our lives with those of people in other countries. However what are the rights of patients? Loosely modeled after the Declaration of Independence, is a new Declaration of Health Data Rights which states:
In an era when technology allows personal health information to be more easily stored, updated, accessed and exchanged, the following rights should be self-evident and inalienable. We the people:
1. Have the right to our own health data
2. Have the right to know the source of each health data element
3. Have the right to take possession of a complete copy of our individual health data, without delay, at minimal or no cost; if data exist in computable form, they must be made available in that form
4. Have the right to share our health data with others as we see fit
These principles express basic human rights as well as essential elements of health care that is participatory, appropriate and in the interests of each patient. No law or policy should abridge these rights.
This was created by patient advocates, caregivers, health care professionals, technology and policy experts, and entrepreneurs. It is both controversial and timely given government initiatives and the wealth of technology available, as well as recently announced initiatives, such as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s,pilot program to allow patients to see notes written about them by their doctors.
What do you think about the Declaration of Health Data Rights and the potential impact?

Add comment July 7th, 2009

FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Restrictions on Acetaminophen

by Pamela Katz Ressler, RN, BSN, HN-BC, MS-PREP Student, and PREP-AIRED blog moderator
On June 30, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted to recommend restrictions on both over the counter and prescription acetaminophen and acetaminophen combination products. Citing the danger of acute liver failure due to overuse of acetaminophen containing products by consumers, the committee voted to recommend reducing the maximum single adult dose of acetaminophen to 650 milligrams from 1000 milligrams. The advisory committee also recommended removing from the market frequently prescribed combination prescription pain relievers, such as Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) and Vicoden (hydroocodone and acetaminophen).
How does this recommendation affect patients, healthcare providers and pain management specialists? If patients switch to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because of fear of liver failure, are they setting themselves up for increased complications related to gastric bleeding, cardiovascular or kidney function? The American Association of Family Physicians published an interesting review of the recommendation by David Mitchell (click here to read).
What are your thoughts about the FDA advisory committee’s recommendation?

Add comment July 2nd, 2009


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