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February 23, 2015 / E.

Why intelligent people disbelieve science.

Came across this excellent article that discusses why in the age of well-educated individuals with easy access to information (both reliable and unreliable), so many well-meaning people still doubt scientific facts and expert consensus.


The conclusion is eye-opening, and is in line with other studies like this one that demonstrates solely using logic and scientific facts on disbelievers will likely be ineffective in changing their minds. Even in the face of outbreaks, antivaxxers appear even more vocal about their stance on conspiracies and general mistrust of leading experts.

Read more…

January 8, 2015 / E.

Daily “Disaster” Medicine.

Guest post by George M.

Bed pressure: anyone who has worked in the Emergency Department has felt it. I make a routine practice to come in for my shifts 15 minutes early and find a dark corner of the ED where I can “take the temperature of the department” and get a sense of the day’s pressures. On a day with heavy bed pressure there’s a frenetic buzz in the air, a tension that is almost palpable – everyone knows we are working in a crisis situation, and you can feel it.


Recently, I worked a shift where we had 3 available beds in our 20-bed module within the ED, and about 8 available beds out of 60 department-wide. That’s serious bed pressure. In my corner before my shift starts, I see the charge nurse pass by and he looks just a bit more harried than usual. The department board has an overall look resembling a highway at rush hour. The Emergency Physician on the outgoing shift mentions to me that she is “trying to tidy up” and handover might be delayed, because she doesn’t want to burden me with risky follow-ups when she already knows the state of the place and what I’m going to be facing over the next nine hours. On this particular day, our nurse manager even had 5 admitted patients waiting in the departmental boardroom to try to free up space.

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October 28, 2014 / E.

Sick Notes off Work/School.

The health care professions have finally begun to revolt.

Over the recent years, medical associations have mustered up the courage to publicly denounce the value of having employees and students alike dragging their sick bodies into a doctor’s office (or *gasp*, an Emergency Room!) for the sole purpose of obtaining a sick note. The Ontario Medical Association officially issued their plea early this year, and Doctors Nova Scotia quickly followed suit.


And for the first time, an individual physician has started to take action by attempting to charge employers for sending their employees into the office for sick notes off work.

Read more…

October 16, 2014 / E.

Quit Stressing About Ebola, We’ve got Bigger Problems.

Guest post by Shahbaz S.

John Arnold, in Jurassic Park likely said it best; “Hold on to your Butts”. This is going to be a long rough winter inside Canadian Hospitals, because Ebola isn’t likely to kill Canadians, but Influenza certainly will.


In Medicine we rely heavily upon the media to help disseminate information and policy to the public, but unfortunately I suspect that they are currently doing more harm than good. The current Ebola crisis has taken over international news, and seems to be on the forefront of everyone’s minds; but are they setting us up for a potential disaster?

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October 11, 2014 / E.

Our health care system works.

In the ocean of criticism and negativity around our health care system – ranging from escalating cost to wait times – once in a while you come across an island of refreshing positivity and reality.


If you haven’t read this article published in the Ottawa Citizen, I highly recommend it. It should be mandatory reading material placed in waiting rooms across the nation, to serve as a reminder that things work, well, “pretty damn well”.

August 28, 2014 / E.

The real challenge with the #IceBucketChallenge.

Social media went a little bit nuts recently. Newsfeeds on multiple platforms were flooded with short video clips of individuals dunking ice-cold water onto themselves (or variations of), all in the name of raising awareness and funding for ALS.

And like all viral trends, the skeptics and critics weren’t far behind. Check out this opinion article published in the Canadian national magazine Maclean’s, where the author questions the wisdom of such sudden generosity given to a disease that affects so few people. Or more drastically, see here for the first mortality linked with performing the ice bucket challenge.


Unsurprisingly, a counter-criticism of sorts has since started in response, accusing the naysayers of being bitter whiners who complain for the sake of complaining, and that anything that helps ALS awareness and research is worthy of praise.

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August 12, 2014 / E.

Slippery Slope of Physician-Assisted Death & Euthanasia.

Physician-assisted death and euthanasia is not a new topic of discussion, but is creeping to a tipping point in Canada with recent legislative decisions (see Bill 52 in Quebec, and other bills tabled). Anyone who has had experience with end-of-life care, whether personally or otherwise, would understand the complexity of the issues involved. If you haven’t already, have a read through this article published on HealthyDebate which nicely summarizes some of the key issues in the debate.


What struck me most from the article are the following points:

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July 25, 2014 / E.

We aren’t so different afterall.

Came across an interesting piece in the paper recently, which nicely summarized many of the key challenges our healthcare system is facing. While the ultimate point of the article is to question the wisdom of increasing privatisation in our current system, I think the even more profound realisation is that:

Canada and the United States share a much more similar healthcare system than most would like to believe.


Read more…

July 13, 2014 / E.

The CPSO’s Consultation on Telemedicine: Getting #hcsmca’s feedback on the new draft policy


Telemedicine, in its various forms, is coming. It is good to see our regulatory bodies being proactive and tackling this new emerging field, instead of waiting on the sidelines for too long.

However, coming to a consensus on exact policies and regulatory rules might prove to be extremely difficult; we’ve already explored one potential form of telemedicine in a previous post and it’s inherent problems.

We have to start somewhere, but let’s hope there will be mechanisms built into any policy to allow for continued modification in reaction to what will certainly be an ever changing field.

Originally posted on Colleen Young:

By The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (@cpso_ca)

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) recently released a new draft version of its Telemedicine policy for external consultation and is looking to the #hcsmca community to provide feedback on it. The draft policy sets out the CPSO’s expectations of physicians who practise telemedicine. Given the evolution of technology and the increased use of telemedicine in diverse practice settings, the draft policy contains a number of new or revised expectations to ensure it is clear, up-to-date and comprehensive.


The CPSO is committed to ensuring that the draft policy reflects current practice issues, embodies the values and duties of medical professionalism, and is consistent with the CPSO’s mandate to protect the public. But in order to do this, we need to gather opinions and insights from a wide variety of interested parties. That’s where #hcsmca comes in…

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July 9, 2014 / E.

What Healthcare should or shouldn’t learn from other industries


Interesting discussion – there are absolutely lessons that can be learned from other industries like aviation…but are we taking it too far at times? Transferring “solutions” too literally and directly into healthcare?

Originally posted on hcldr:


Learning and adopting best practices from others is often sage advice. After all, why invent from scratch when you can stand on the shoulders of those who have done it before? No matter what industry you work in you will hear repeated calls to “look beyond the border” to other industries for inspiration and innovation. Healthcare is no exception.

Just by the sheer number of articles and blog posts, it appears that the aviation industry is the most popular choice for healthcare inspiration. Everything from the way pilots are trained to the way that the FAA investigates incidents seems to have an equivalent in healthcare. Indeed many healthcare “innovations” appear to have been adopted from aviation including: checklists, standardized incident reporting and simulation training.

In an MedCity News interview, Robert Szczerba, founder of X Tech Ventures, expands on the concept of simulation…

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