From #MeToo to troponins: Updates in hospital medicine


How do you summarize a year’s worth of hospitalist-relevant research in an hour? If you’re Cynthia Cooper, MD, and Barbara Slawski, MD, MS, SFHM, you do it with teamwork, rigor, and style.

When the two physicians signed on for the 2018 “Update in Hospital Medicine” talk, they knew the bar was high. The updates talk is a perennial crowd favorite at the Society of Hospital Medicine annual conferences, and this year’s talk, which touched on topics from #MeToo to kidney injury, didn’t disappoint.

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Dr. Barbara Slawski

Among the highlights of the 20 studies reviewed in concise fashion by Dr. Cooper and Dr. Slawski was work that revealed a startling amount of gender bias when speakers are introduced at medical grand rounds. “One of the things that made the news a lot this last year is gender bias, so we thought we’d start out with that,” said Dr. Slawski, chief of the section of perioperative medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

In a retrospective observational study, the investigators looked at archived grand rounds video to see how often speakers with doctoral degrees were introduced by title, rather than by first name. Mixed-gender evaluators found that females were much more likely than were males to introduce either females or males by title (P less than .001).

“Have any of you ever had this experience? Me, too,” said Dr. Slawski, to wide and prolonged applause.

Females introducing males were almost twice as likely to use the speaker’s title as when males introduced females (95% vs. 49%; P less than .001). These revelations, said Dr. Slawski, present an “opportunity for improving professional interactions in an environment of mutual respect,” a comment that the room again greeted with a round of applause.

The inpatient syncope evaluation was made a little easier with another top study presented by Dr. Slawski. Using a large multinational database, investigators looked at a subgroup of patients with syncope who were admitted to the hospital. They found that fewer than 2% of patients with syncope were diagnosed with pulmonary embolus (PE) or deep venous thrombosis within 90 days of the index admission. For Dr. Slawski, this means clinicians may be able to relax their worry about thromboembolic events just a bit: “Although this diagnosis should be considered, not all patients need evaluation,” she said.

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