Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dr. Lamar Duffy Appointed CMIO of USA Health

Dr. Lamar Duffy, an adjunct professor of family medicine at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, recently was appointed chief medical information officer (CMIO) of USA Health.

“A CMIO represents our physicians’ needs in the information systems department and also manages workflow,” said Mark Lauteren, chief information officer of USA Health.

Dr. Duffy, who joined USA Health in 2007 as a family medicine physician, described a CMIO as “the liaison between an organization’s information systems department and its physicians and other clinicians. He says the process of converting the USA Health records from paper or partially electronic records to a completely electronic system is a “monumental task.”

“In the early stages, electronic medical record (EMR) implementation is generally an all-consuming task. We’re trying to unify medical records and work processes for two hospitals, a cancer institute and numerous outpatient venues. It’s not just a matter of technical hurdles. It’s a total re-engineering of work flow,” Dr. Duffy said. To optimize the use of the EMR system at USA Health in the future, he acknowledges the inefficiencies present in the system.

“Clinicians struggle with needless inefficiencies that are currently present in EMR systems,” Dr. Duffy continued. “The products are still in their relative infancy, and they’re improving, but there are many aspects of the program that do not work the way a provider would use it. When the front office has recorded a patient’s marital status, why isn’t that passed into the history? If the nurse records the dates of the last pap smear, shouldn’t that update when the next pap smear is due? Any time you have to enter something twice, you’re wasting time,” Dr. Duffy said.

Although Dr. Duffy understands the current limitations of EMR, he also sees the potential for EMR to dramatically improve health care and consequentially quality of life. “When we optimize the system, patients should spend less time in the waiting room while doctors and nurses should be able to get home on time. We want to leverage what should be the strengths of an EMR such as data search and retrieval, care reminders, patient access and engagement, quality improvement, wasteful expense reduction and population health management. Those goals will never end.”

“To date, EMRs have so often been workflow impediments that we have not been able to realize their potential to make our lives better. Optimal use of the EMR system should help us move to a system where we spend money on quality, safety and positive outcomes. We need to demand that our tools be consistent, intuitive and unobtrusive. I figure my best chance to live to see that day is to do some of the work myself,” Dr. Duffy said.

Dr. Duffy earned his medical degree at the USA College of Medicine and completed his residency training at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Gadsden, Ala. He is board-certified in Family and Medical Informatics and has experience in electronic medical system information. 

Dr. Scott Patterson Receives Award for Research on Electronic Cigarettes

Dr. Scott Patterson, a burn and surgical critical care fellow at the University of South Alabama, recently received an award for best poster at the 2016 American Burn Association (ABA) 48th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nev.

Dr. Patterson was awarded best poster in the public health category for his presentation titled “E-Cigarette Explosions in the USA: A Case Report and Classification of Injuries from the Literature.” The purpose of his study was to review and classify burns caused by electronic cigarettes.

Dr. Patterson believes electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity because they are trendy, convenient, and many people mistakenly believe them to be a healthier substitute for smoking regular cigarettes. However, the potential health risks of electronic cigarettes are not well characterized and the devices are not universally regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). “Health care providers should be aware of the distinct injury patterns caused by electronic cigarettes as they increase in popularity,” Dr. Patterson said.

Dr. Patterson conducted an internet search on the phrases ‘e-cigarette burns’ and ‘electronic cigarette burns’ using various search engines. Incidents occurring in the United States between Jan. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2015, were included in the reports. He then created a numeric classification system to distinguish the injury patterns found on the reports.

Dr. Patterson found the injuries to occur in four distinct patterns - on the hand, face, waist or groin and in house fires caused by charging the device.“Carrying the device in your pocket has led to fires in an individual’s pocket and burns to the legs and hands,” he said. “Most people that were burned from the electronic cigarette had no idea they were at risk.”

Dr. Patterson said injuries may occur when the electronic cigarette’s lithium-ion batteries overheat and become an ignition source, resulting in fires and explosions. “This means anything with a lithium battery could cause similar injuries,” Dr. Patterson said.

“Up until the first of this month, electronic cigarettes were not regulated by the FDA,” Dr. Patterson said. The new FDA regulations on electronic cigarettes treat the device like other traditional tobacco products.

According to a recent news release by the FDA, “these actions will help the FDA prevent misleading claims by tobacco product manufacturers, evaluate the ingredients of tobacco products and how they are made, as well as communicate their potential risks.”

Dr. Patterson said he hopes the new FDA regulations will help improve the devices and educate individuals about the risks associated with electronic cigarettes.  Dr. Patterson’s manuscript is currently under review. If accepted it will represent one of the first published series of electronic cigarette injuries in medical literature.

Click here to view Dr. Patterson’s presentation abstract.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Department of Emergency Medicine Hosting Lecture

The University of South Alabama Department of Emergency Medicine is hosting a lecture featuring Dr. Peter Viccellio, vice chair of the department of emergency medicine and associate chief medical officer at State University of New York in Stony Brook, N.Y.

His lecture, titled “Hospital Flow as a Lethal Weapon,” will take place on June 23, 2016, at the USA Medical Center Second Floor Conference Center. The lecture begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by 30 minutes of open discussion and questions.

Dr. Viccellio is a national author on issues of patient flow, overcrowding, boarding and hospital efficiency.

Support for Dr. Viccellio’s presentation and visit was provided by the Dr. Richard Goldhamer Endowment.

For more information, call 470-1649.

Class of 2018 Students Cloaked with White Coats

The USA College of Medicine held its annual White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2018 on Sunday. It was an exciting day for rising third-year medical student Thomas Lunsford (center), who also celebrated his first Father’s Day.
USA College of Medicine student Winston Crute poses for a portrait holding his white coat with his wife Taylor and their 5-month-old son Charlie.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine held its annual White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2018 on Sunday. During the ceremony, rising third-year medical students were cloaked with white coats, the traditional dress of physicians for more than 100 years.

The day was particularly special for rising third-year medical students who also celebrating Father's Day this past Sunday. Among them were Winston Crute and Thomas Lunsford.

Crute’s five-month-old son, Charlie, was christened hours before the White Coat Ceremony began. “It was definitely an exciting and packed day,” Crute said.

The White Coat Ceremony, according to Crute, is a representation of his hard work thus far. The white coat serves as a reminder of the importance and responsibility he takes by dedicating himself to the care of patients. “It shows I am getting closer to a goal that I have had for a long time,” he said. “Now that I have a son, it is good to know that I will be able to make a living and support him by doing something I love.”

As his third year of medical school approaches, Crute understands the challenges that come with balancing school and family obligations. He credits his wife, Taylor, for making their lives as smooth as possible. “My wife tells me very clearly what she needs from me as a dad; she is a wonderful mother and team player,” Crute said. “Medical school keeps me busy, and making the most of my off-time is very important to me.”

Sunday was an exciting day for rising third-year medical student Thomas Lunsford, who also was celebrating his first Father’s Day. Six months ago, Lunsford and his wife, Mignon, welcomed their son Gray.

Like Crute, Lunsford said it is often challenging to balance his academic life with his personal life. He credits his family for his determination and perseverance. “Gray and Mignon keep me focused,” Lunsford said. “They are the reason I am in medical school and the reason I get up and work hard every day. I know I have to show up for them.”

Lunsford refers to the White Coat Ceremony as “one of the most important days in medical school” and says he is excited to apply what he has learned during the past two years. “So far, learning has been abstract,” he said. “Now, I get to practice firsthand what I learned.”

During the ceremony, the students in unison took the Medical Student Oath, a promise to uphold the human aspects of medicine, such as sensitivity, compassion and respect for patients.

Select rising seniors from the class of 2017 as well as residents and faculty were inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society at the ceremony. Inductees are selected for practicing patient-centered medical care with integrity, compassion and altruism. Election to this organization is by vote of medical students.

Each year, the USA Medical Alumni Association sponsors this event.

Click here to view more photos.

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Dr. T.J. Hundley Appointed Assistant Dean for Medical Education, Student Affairs

Dr. T.J. Hundley recently was appointed assistant dean for medical education and student affairs at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

“Dr. Hundley is an outstanding clinical educator and mentor for our students,” said Dr. Susan LeDoux, associate dean for medical education and student affairs at USA. “He is consistently recognized with teaching awards both individually and for the Internal Medicine Clerkship, which he directs. Additionally, he has played an important leadership role in our curriculum redesign as chair of the Clerkship Directors Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee.”

Dr. Hundley, who also serves as associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine and associate program director for the internal medicine residency program, will be responsible for overseeing the curriculum for the third year of the undergraduate medical education program as well as assisting in curriculum development across the entire four-year program.

“I hope to continue to develop and implement innovative educational strategies in the third year of medical school. Our goal is to continue to prepare students to be successful as they move on into residency,” Dr. Hundley said. “I look forward to working with students and faculty as we continue to prepare students to be successful life-long learners and leaders in today's health care environment.”

Last month, Dr. Hundley was honored with a teaching award at the TeamUSA Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) annual celebration of success for his accomplishments with the TeamUSA QEP. Dr. Hundley participated in USA’s initial launch of the TeamUSA Quality Enhancement plan in 2012.

Dr. Hundley earned both his bachelor of science degree in biomedical sciences and his medical degree from USA. In addition, he completed residency training in internal medicine at USA, where he served as chief medical resident. Dr. Hundley joined the USA faculty in 2008 as an assistant professor of internal medicine and was later promoted to associate professor.

Dr. Hundley said he was very fortunate to have been a student and resident at USA. “The education and mentorship were excellent, and it has played a pivotal role in being where I am today,” he said. “I am excited about the opportunity to help serve the institution that has been generous to me and my family. Moving forward, I hope to help students the way faculty helped me.”

“T.J. is an outstanding faculty member and a rising star in the field of medical education," said Dr. Samuel J. Strada, dean of the USA College of Medicine. "I expect him to play a significant and greater role in our educational program in future years.”

Medical students have awarded Dr. Hundley with the Red Sash Award, which is given to those faculty members who students believe have had the most meaningful impact on their medical education. He has received numerous awards including Best Overall Clinical Educator, Best Clinical Teacher, Best Clerkship Director, Best Third-Year Clerkship, and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

Dr. Hundley serves on several USA College of Medicine committees. He is a member of the Student Affairs Taskforce; faculty representative of the USACOM Medical Executive Committee; chair of the Scholarship Committee and the Clerkship Directors Committee; member of the USA College of Medicine Curriculum Committee; and member of the Graduate Medical Education Committee. He is faculty advisor for the ACP Internal Medicine Interest Group.

Dr. Hundley also is involved in regional and national committees, including the Governor’s Council of the American College of Physicians - Alabama Chapter and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), where he serves as USA’s institutional representative to the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies for the AAMC.

USA Medical Students Present at Internal Medicine Conference

From left: Brenden Ingraham, Cady Beedy, Umair Savani and Ben Nunley
Four rising fourth-year medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine recently presented at the American College of Physicians (ACP) Alabama and Mississippi chapter meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

The students – Brenden Ingraham, Benjamin Nunley, Umair Savani and Cady Beedy— had the opportunity to present a case report in the form of a poster presentation to members of the ACP.

“It was a great experience,” Ingraham said. He chose the topic “Coronary Vasospasm Following Anesthesia Induction in a Patient without Coronary Atherosclerotic Disease” because he found the case interesting and unusual. His poster discussed recognition of coronary vasospasm, risk factors and management of cardiac arrest in a patient with coronary spasm.

Dr. T.J Hundley, assistant dean for medical education and student affairs and associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine, worked with Ingraham on his poster presentation. Ingraham said Dr. Hundley’s guidance made him feel infinitely more comfortable to prepare presentations in the future. “Dr. Hundley helped me with the flow of the case, condensing the information and laying out the poster to have the greatest visual impact,” he said. “Our conversations throughout the process were extremely informative, and I was really happy with the finished poster.”

The experience helped Ingraham to see the importance of participating in and presenting research while in medical school. “The lectures were quite informative, and it was reassuring to see that the knowledge I have obtained at the USA College of Medicine is more than sufficient for what is being taught at continuing medical education lectures geared toward practicing physicians,” Ingraham said.

Together, Nunley and Savani won the poster competition. Their topic, “A case of Bilateral CN VII Palsy: Where have you been hiking,” explained a unique case about a patient diagnosed with Lyme disease. “I chose this case because the patient had an interesting and unusual presentation for his disease,” Nunley said.

“This case taught me that diseases do not always present in the classic form and may not follow the course described in medical textbooks,” Nunley added. “It also highlighted how important a detailed history and physical exam can be.”

Savani said learning how to dive into medical literature and apply it to patients is very rewarding. “However, when you get an opportunity to contribute to the medical community, it is a privilege because you get to share extremely valuable information,” Savani said. “It also shows us different avenues we can be involved in academically as we continue further in our training.”

Dr. Hundley and Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology at the USA College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group, assisted Savani and Nunley with their case. USA medical student, Sean Carter, was also involved in making the poster but was unable to attend the conference. “Dr. Minto gave us invaluable advice on the clinical aspect of the patient’s course and led to the decision to treat the patient for Lyme disease,” Savani said.

Beedy, another USA medical student, presented “A Complex Case of Cryptococcal Meningoencephalitis.” The case examined a HIV-negative patient with cryptococcal meningitis. Beedy said the case is rare because the patient did not have HIV or any other apparent cause of immunodeficiency, but somehow he developed this opportunistic infection usually seen in patients with HIV.  

Beedy believes it is important to discuss and investigate rare cases because oftentimes rare cases are the norm. “We learn the textbook presentation of disease while in medical school, but very rarely does disease present that exact way,” Beedy said. “Investigating this case, developing a presentation and talking about it with other physicians really pushed me outside of what we are used to doing as medical students.”