NYTimes: Her Various Symptoms Seemed Unrelated. Then One Doctor Put It All Together.

Follansbee, William follansbeewp at UPMC.EDU
Wed Feb 21 19:18:16 UTC 2018


Thank you Joe. I agree with what both you and Art have said. I have read Larry Weed’s book, and have been a supporter of his approach dating back to the late 1970’s. I am particularly passionate about problem lists but have taken them to the next level but chronologically integrating a one line summary of every major diagnostic test or therapeutic intervention directly into the problem list. That is an enormously empowering tool which allows one to see in one place chronologically what has happened with a given diagnosis, and how it relates to other diagnoses that are active. It greatly facilitates pattern recognition and helps reduce redundant testing. I have no question in my mind that this has allowed me to improve my diagnostic decisions quite significantly.

Best,
Bill


William P. Follansbee, M.D., FACC, FACP, FASNC, FAHA
The Master Clinician Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
Director, The UPMC Clinical Center for Medical Decision Making
Suite A429 UPMC Presbyterian
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-647-3437
Fax: 412-647-3873
Email: follansbeewp at upmc.edu<mailto:follansbeewp at upmc.edu>

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From: Joe Graedon [mailto:jgraedon at gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 8:44 AM
To: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine <IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>; Follansbee, William <follansbeewp at upmc.edu>
Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] NYTimes: Her Various Symptoms Seemed Unrelated. Then One Doctor Put It All Together.

Bill,

You are a very insightful mentor and teacher. The problem is that in our time-challenged environment “discordant data” are often ignored or overlooked. Please take time to read Larry Weed’s brilliant book, Medicine in Denial. You will quickly appreciate that Art has brought Dr. Weed’s vision to reality.

On another note, we were thrilled to see that patient engagement is now a priority for ImproveDX. When patients and family members are considered equal players in the diagnostic process we could see real advances in what has been a challenging dilemma.

Joe Graedon
The People’s Pharmacy
Sent from my iPad

On Feb 19, 2018, at 12:14 PM, Follansbee, William <follansbeewp at UPMC.EDU<mailto:follansbeewp at UPMC.EDU>> wrote:
Art,

I agree with your thoughtful comments. I would also add, however, that for a disease like cellulitis, which I agree is frequently over diagnosed and treated unnecessarily, the answer is not going to be in decision support tools. Clinicians are just not going to consult them for such a common diagnosis. It is also to teach them how to be a little more thoughtful and analytic in their bedside decision making.   We teach trainees to use small groups of common sense but not uncommonly overlooked questions at appropriate times in the diagnostic process in a systematic fashion. In this context, one question we emphasize that they should ask themselves when considering a diagnosis is, “is there any discordant data?” Cellulitis is rarely bilateral yet many patients admitted and treated for apparent cellulitis have red and swollen legs bilaterally, ie discordant findings.  If their illness script for cellulitis includes bilateral disease, then that is a knowledge problem that also has to be addressed.

Best,
Bill


William P. Follansbee, M.D., FACC, FACP, FASNC
The Master Clinician Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
Director, The UPMC Clinical Center for Medical Decision Making
Suite A429 UPMC Presbyterian
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-647-3437
Fax: 412-647-3873
Email: follansbeewp at upmc.edu<mailto:follansbeewp at upmc.edu>

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From: Art Papier [mailto:apapier at VISUALDX.COM]
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 11:17 AM
To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG<mailto:IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>
Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] NYTimes: Her Various Symptoms Seemed Unrelated. Then One Doctor Put It All Together.

Likewise VisualDx had Schnitzler’s at the top of the differential, but as much as I agree that all physicians need to understand and use point of care diagnostic decision support, we should recognize that relatively rare diseases like Schnitzler are uncommon and relatively easy for decision support to “pick up”.   The real need is to handle the cases when clinicians do not know they need help, but do need help.  How do you know what you don’t know?  Uncommon diseases are uncommon, and therefore variants of common are much more common that rare diseases.   Our real challenge in decision support is to provide tools that also provide useful and valuable content around the common, and more particularly with the variants of the common so clinicians have decision support top of mind.  80-20 rule:  If 80% of diagnoses are common, then it is reasonable to assume that variants of the 80% dwarf the super rare diseases in number.  It is also safe to assume that clinicians who are in a constant rush, and bogged down by mind-numbing EHR charting exercises, will question the efficiency of using these tools.  We are focused on variation in disease presentation in our work with the goal of expanding the use of decision support beyond use for seemingly rare presentations.  We belive that the memory based training and care delivery system creates self-fulfilling prophecies where clinicians ask questions around the “classic presentation disease” scripts they memorize, but do not know the questions to ask around the related variants.  As an example,  over 100,000 people are admitted to hospitals each year for cellulitis when they do not have cellulitits.  This is a boring “story” for decision because cellulitis is common, but there is so much harm happening just from error around this single diagnosis.  How do we bend this curve and reduce unnecessary admissions while recognizing all true positives?   By focusing on commn diseases and their variants we can expand the use of decision support.

Thanks to Lisa for another wonderfully written great case and prompting discussion at SIDM !
Art

Art Papier MD
CEO VisualDx
Associate Professor of Dermatology and Medical Informatics
University of Rochester
From: Edward Hoffer [mailto:ehoffer at GMAIL.COM]
Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2018 6:40 PM
To: IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG<mailto:IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>
Subject: Re: [IMPROVEDX] NYTimes: Her Various Symptoms Seemed Unrelated. Then One Doctor Put It All Together.

This story makes a very good case for the use of computer-based diagnostic decision support systems. I entered the findings into the one with which I work, DXplain, and Schnitzler's came in ranked #1 I did not try Isabel, but would not be surprised if it also had the correct diagnosis near the top. Much easier than spending the reported "hours" in PubMed that the hero expended to arrive at the correct diagnosis.
Ed
Edward P Hoffer MD, FACC, FACP

On Sun, Feb 18, 2018 at 9:16 AM, Joe Graedon <jgraedon at gmail.com<mailto:jgraedon at gmail.com>> wrote:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/14/magazine/her-various-symptoms-seemed-unrelated-then-one-doctor-put-it-all-together.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

Chills, sweats, hives, achey bones — the older woman was sick for years before someone figured out the unusual disease that ailed her.


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