Isabel Healthcare Blog

Improving Diagnosis - a “moral imperative” says IOM report.

Posted by Jason Maude on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

It is a sad fact of life that industries often need to be shamed, bullied or told to do the right thing rather than do it on their own accord.

The IOM landmark report “To Err is Human” in late 1999 shamed the healthcare industry into starting to tackle medical errors with the image of a jumbo jet full of people being killed every day through medical error.

Over fifteen years on, and this week the IOM has published another landmark study in its Quality Chasm series on diagnosis entitled “Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare”. Hopefully it will have a similar impact in shaming the healthcare industry into finally addressing the serious issue of diagnosis quality.  As the report states at the outset: “Improving the diagnostic process is not only possible, but it also represents a moral, professional, and public health imperative”. The report’s visceral image was the committee’s conclusion that “most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, sometimes with devastating consequences”. Although far less visual than a jumbo jet plummeting to earth in a ball of flames, the probability of each of us experiencing such an event should concentrate minds including hospital leadership who will all, one day, be patients too.

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Topics: diagnosis error

Spotlight on Oliver Sacks MD (1933-2015) An Eminent Neurologist

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

On August 30 2015, renowned British neurologist Oliver Sacks passed away at the age of 82. Sacks felt that the brain was the “most incredible thing in the universe” and devoted his life to studying it.  Most of his professional life was practiced in the United States, and he became an author of thirteen best-selling books consisting of case histories about his patients’ brain disorders.  Some of these fascinating books were adapted for film and stage, such as Awakenings starring Robert de Niro and the late Robin Williams. In this week’s blogpost, we’ve taken a look back at Oliver Sacks’ life and achievements in honour of his contributions to the medicine.

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Why We need to Improve our Differential Diagnosis Processes

Posted by Jason Maude on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 @ 12:23 PM

Within the medical industry, a staggering 30-40% of all malpractice claims come down to a misdiagnosis. Why do people get it wrong? Because they’re just that: people. Clinicians and medical professionals have years and years of training - and most likely experience too - behind them, so there’s no doubting they’re the ones to be around when you’re unwell. But humans make mistakes, and the human brain is vulnerable to error. According to Mark Graber in 2005, cognitive error contributed to 74% of all diagnostic errors studied. There is a virtually endless list of the cognitive biases that affect humans, and medical professionals are unfortunately no exception to these biases. Arguable the main sticking points for those trying to diagnose a patient, or indeed find a solution to any question, are:

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Topics: Differential diagnosis, differential diagnosis tool

Physician Associates: Differential Diagnosis Tools are key

Posted by Jason Maude on Wed, Sep 09, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

The looming shortage of doctors in the UK looks as though it’s finally driving some different thinking.  In Wales, which faces even more of an acute shortage and many primary care practices at risk of closure, students on a new post-graduate Physician Associate course will be guaranteed a full time position in General Practice at the end of their course. According to a recent article in Pulse, NHS England has recruited 200 Physician Associates (or Assistants as they called in the USA) from the USA on an annual salary of £50,000.

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Why is water so important? Water is the best medicine

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Wed, Sep 02, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

How often have you visited the doctor with a minor illness and been prescribed water? “Keep your fluids up and get plenty of rest.” It’s one of the most underestimated medicines, and it’s absolutely free! No health insurance needed, no hidden costs for prescriptions. What’s more, in our westernised modern world, we can rest assured our water is safe, accessible and drinkable, and can come from thousands of taps across the city we live in. But what is it that makes water the best medicine? How does it help us to keep healthy, and to get better when we are ill? We’ve got some great information about water and it’s endless benefits that will have you drinking a load of the good stuff from the moment you finish reading this post.

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Swollen Glands | Lymphadenopathy | 1 Minute Read

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

Lymph glands (also known as lymph nodes) are pea-sized lumps of tissue which contain white blood cells.  The white blood cells filter the lymphatic fluid through the body and protect you by destroying any viruses or bacteria that they find.  They are an important part of the immune system and are found throughout the body.

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Topics: Sore Throat, Isabel 1 Minute Read

Rare Diseases and Misdiagnosis - An Isabel Infographic

Posted by Jason Maude on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

There are between 6,000 and 8,000 known rare diseases - defined as a disease affecting less than 5 in 10,000 people - and every week more are being discovered. Many rare diseases are hard to diagnose, both because there isn't as much research available on them, and also because they often present similar symptoms to much more common conditions. Rare diseases can go un- or mis-diagnosed for too long, sometimes proving fatal for the patient. Isabel Maude, the inspiration for Isabel Healthcare, was lucky, but not everyone is. The best way to combat misdiagnoses of rare diseases is to improve the diagnostic process of the physician, helping them to consider the rare diseases they may not have thought of themselves. That's where Isabel comes in, of course. We've made an infographic of some facts and figures of rare diseases and misdiagnosis, and the ways in which Isabel can help combat against misdiagnosis.

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Online Symptom Checkers - What do they really do for consumers?

Posted by Don Bauman on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

Several recent publications and articles have referred to online symptom checkers as tools that help consumers self-diagnose, and some even further suggest that these tools should recommend self-treatment as an alternative to seeking professional care. As consumers become more engaged and informed about their healthcare and, in turn, healthcare organizations and providers drive consumers to be more engaged, consumers are turning to the to the internet to get health or condition information.  Framing the conversation correctly for consumers and more accurately representing online symptom checkers is a necessity if we are to embrace the future of medical care.

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World Breastfeeding Week (WBW2015) - Breast Feeding Questions Answered

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Wed, Aug 05, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

All this week over 170 countries worldwide will be celebrating the benefits of and the right to breastfeed, with a campaign run by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). For World Breastfeeding Week in 2015 (WBW2015), the focus is very much on combining a working day with feeding your baby. The week kicked off with a mass public feeding called “The Big Latch On” to show the importance of women everywhere being able to feel comfortable feeding their babies wherever and whenever required. To help support WABA Breastfeeding Week, we’ve put together some FAQs on breastfeeding, both in terms of the many health benefits to breastfeeding, and your rights as a nursing mother.

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Topics: breastfeeding

Narcolepsy Sleep Disorder | 1 Minute Read

Posted by Mandy Tomlinson on Wed, Jul 29, 2015 @ 11:30 AM

What is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder defined as recurrent attacks of daytime sleepiness. It is a chronic neurological condition caused by the brain’s inability to regulate sleep-wake cycles normally. The condition usually occurs with a triad of:

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Topics: sleep difficulty

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