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May 15, 2012
There is an app for that

You know you are old if you remember the days when your clinical acumen was in direct proportion to the number of reference books you could stuff into a white lab coat. Today, of course, all that knowledge and more is found in one of my many apps. While I may otherwise be a Luddite, I readily admit that I love my apps and certainly don't miss the days of hurriedly flipping through worn spiral bound books.

Being two clicks away from even the most obscure medical fact has in no small way changed the way we practice, and probably for the better. The challenge has shifted from the laborious task of becoming a human encyclopedia to the more nuanced skill of becoming someone who can integrate all this omnipresent information into the clinical picture unfolding in front of you. I can't help but believe that we are better clinicians in this new age of medicine.

And although I no longer do attending rounds with students, I suspect it must be daunting to have them armed with the most current answer to everything. I used to bank on the fact that if I were wrong, the students would be too tired to prove me wrong. Today, I suspect I would feel like I was being deposed in a malpractice suit as they tapped on their phones to discredit my 1990's knowledge. Or are they just texting a joke to each other at my expense?

But I have digressed into rare introspection, reminiscence and paranoia. So what apps does such an esteemed hospitalist such as myself recommend? Lets have some fun.

Angry Hospitalists App: Much like its namesake Angry Birds, the Angry Hospitalist is catapulted into the ER with the goal of trying to knock down as many admissions as possible in one toss. A great time killer when I am trying to physically put off going to the ER and doing those three admissions.

Pregnancy Wheel App: Essential for any medical director of a large program. How will staffing be in six months? Wheel says: Four docs will be out—yikes!

Fruit Ninja App: Lets face it. Secretly, all of us medical docs envy the surgeons. I mean, how cool is it that they can actually do something? Even cooler is the fact that they do it with a knife. Fortunately, after five minutes of deftly dicing up fruit, the only thing I feel for surgeons is pity.

WebMD App: Love the symptom checker function. Put in cough, fever and shortness of breath, and it suggests you might have pneumonia. Who knew?

Facebook App: Nothing is better than defriending a cardiologist. And friending patients … can’t imagine that would lead to any problems.

Twitter App: If I have learned anything from athletes, politicians and celebrities, it is that this app is a recipe for regret and/or remorse. Yet it is so irresistible to have an app that means you are only 140 characters or less away from these emotions—and, as added bonus, unemployment.

LinkedIn App: I am linked to all of the hospital's senior administrators. Am I just trying to network, or am I shopping myself in hope of landing another job … perhaps the later? Are they, more likely, hoping I find one?

YouTube App: Shout out to ZDoggMD. "Hard Doc’s Life (Hospitalist Anthem)" is the way I roll out of sign out every morning.

Open Table App: Yes, I am listening to you. Your head hurts and your belly aches, and I have some medicine for that, which should cure you. But, I have to add, I somehow just got a table at my favorite restaurant on a Friday night!

Nike + GPS App: Start on the second floor, code on the third, left my stethoscope on second, patient to stat discharge on the seventh, admission in the ER, family to meet on the third … you get the drill. My current PR is 24 miles in 12 hours. I believe that might even qualify me for the Boston Marathon.

Today's Hospitalist App: To date, only in my dreams. I can only imagine how great it would be to always be only one tap away from all my blogs.

The Monster at the End of this Book App: Actually, this one is my son’s. Crucial for distracting him whenever perpetual motion is to be discouraged. Spoiler alert: Grover is the monster. I fall for it every time.


Click here to add your comment

3 Comment(s)

Pam Bensen wrote:
As an ED doc of 40+ yrs and mom of a hospitalist, I make a plea for a ceasefire!

I am graded on speed, not accuracy. And I know some peds, ob, surgery, ortho, derm, psych, addiction and trauma (not to mention malingering and drug-seeking), so I didn't study IM in depth in four yrs of EM residency. I send home over 90% of the IM cases I see and call you for the rest. I am not THE enemy, but I feel like it, especially when the Angry Hospitalist is busy with his/her namesake app.

So, how can we live in peace, or at least in piece? We need to work together locally to solve our mirror image frustrations, which contribute to early burnout on both sides. How about it guys? Let's unite and become proactive to solve this perceived EMP-hospitalist problem!
Buffalo Junction, Va. | Fri, Jun 15 2012 15:17 PM

Erik DeLue wrote:
Couldn't agree with you more. Where I work, we don't need a ceasefire as the ER docs are our colleagues and friends. A lot of mutual respect--and I wrote much more about ER docs and hospitalists here.
Mt. Holly, N.J. | Fri, Jun 15 2012 16:13 PM

ZDoggMD wrote:
Yo Erik, hilarious post and mad luv for the shout out! I agree, ED ain't the enemy, but it's fun to pretend they are! Keep representin'!
Las Vegas, NV | Thu, Jun 21 2012 06:15 AM

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About Erik DeLue, MD
Erik DeLue, MD, examines the challenges of running and reinventing a hospitalist program. He is medical director of the hospitalist program at Virtua Memorial, a hospital in Mt. Holly, N.J.

This is the third community hospital program that Dr. DeLue has worked for in his nine years as a hospitalist. Join in the dialogue on issues that range from compensation and 24/7 scheduling to how to work with competing hospitalist groups.

The opinions expressed by Dr. DeLue are his own and do not necessary reflect the opinions of his employer or Today's Hospitalist.
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