NAHSL 2012 Wrap-up

December 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Posted in NAHSL Annual Meeting 2012, Professional Development | Leave a comment

NAHSL 2012 was a whirlwind this year, and, thank goodness, it had nothing to do with the weather, although the threat of interesting meteorological events did keep some people away. This was the first NAHSL conference I had been able to attend in a few years. Any opportunity to be back in Vermont works for me, too. 

Elaine Alligood’s Diagnostic Error class was excellent and very well-attended. A number of people shared experiences, both their own and those of friends or relatives with serious problems relating to incorrect or delayed diagnoses. The discussions were lively, and I suspect the class could have easily lasted all day. To say that the video that we saw, Jess’s Story, was moving would be a serious understatement. It should be required viewing for medical students and practicing doctors. I have taken classes at conferences in the past that did not have much staying power; this class has changed my perspective and thinking on this subject, and the effect will, I believe, remain with me for a long time. Shortly after I returned home to unaffected Maine, I borrowed What Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman. The patient safety manager has been a friend since the day I started at Togus, and I hope to work more closely with him around this topic. 

Lisa Schwartz’  and Steve Woloshin’s talk dovetailed wonderfully with Gary Schwitzer’s presentation and, again, are likely going to remain with me for some time. It has been interesting to see how often articles by Gary Schwitzer appear in MedPageToday, an email I have subscribed to for several years.  If the value of any learning is whether and how it affects our lives long term or maybe permanently, then these presentations were of value. I doubt that I will hear statistics about a procedure or medication without mentally taking a step back and thinking about what is not being told, or thinking about it more critically. We all know the expression that ignorance is bliss. Many years ago I decided that meant that my ignorance was someone else’s bliss, something I try to avoid. These presentations along with the class have helped me be a bit less ignorant. 

I am very grateful to the Professional Development committee for giving me the opportunity to attend the conference. It was difficult to keep up with new things when I was unemployed. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss much, and I don’t think I did. Thank you.

Submitted by Chris Fleuriel, VA Maine Healthcare System

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