Friday, May 4, 2007

How Do We Reward the Great Work of Geriatricians at BigU?
(We close the geriatrics division and they move to Johns Hopkins...)

From a recent New Yorker:

Annals of Medicine

The Way We Age Now
Medicine has increased the ranks of the elderly. Can it make old age any easier?

Atul Gawande in The New Yorker

April 30, 2007

Several years ago, researchers in St. Paul, Minnesota, identified five hundred and sixty-eight men and women over the age of seventy who were living independently but were at high risk of becoming disabled because of chronic health problems, recent illness, or cognitive changes. With their permission, the researchers randomly assigned half of them to see a team of geriatric specialists. The others were asked to see their usual physician, who was notified of their high-risk status. Within eighteen months, ten per cent of the patients in both groups had died. But the patients who had seen a geriatrics team were a third less likely to become disabled and half as likely to develop depression. They were forty per cent less likely to require home health services.

Little of what the geriatricians had done was high-tech medicine: they didn’t do lung biopsies or back surgery or PET scans. Instead, they simplified medications. They saw that arthritis was controlled. They made sure toenails were trimmed and meals were square. They looked for worrisome signs of isolation and had a social worker check that the patient’s home was safe.

How do we reward this kind of work? Chad Boult, who was the lead investigator of the St. Paul study and a geriatrician at the University of Minnesota, can tell you. A few months after he published his study, demonstrating how much better people’s lives were with specialized geriatric care, the university closed the division of geriatrics.

“The university said that it simply could not sustain the financial losses,” Boult said from Baltimore, where he is now a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

And we compete with Hopkins?

As OurLeader said in this year's state of the university address:

"The inscription on Northrop captures this beautifully: It expresses the spirit of a great University, its commitment to excellence, and its service to the greater good."

Walking the talk is long overdue at BigU.


1 comment:

Mr. B. said...

Thank you for the link.