Is that thing on?

This issue covers patients who record physician visits, early interventions for hepatitis B, and the use of standardized patients in medical education.

Smartphones are everywhere these days, including in the doctor's office, and patients may be using them to record visits, with or without their physicians' knowledge. While this may be legal in most states, it raises questions involving ethics and confidentiality and affects the patient-physician relationship. But the practice can also have some benefits, too, including potentially making it easier for patients to remember and therefore follow their doctors' instructions. Staff writer Mollie Durkin talks to experts about discussing recording with patients, knowing your rights and responsibilities, and setting ground rules up front.

Earlier intervention for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is vitally important but doesn't happen nearly as often as it should, according to recent expert guidance. Those who have HBV but don't know it, estimated to be about 565,000 people in the U.S., are at risk for transmitting the disease to others as well as developing liver damage, including cancer. Primary care physicians can help by taking a proactive approach to screening and vaccination, experts say. Read our story for more, including advice on using the “rule of three” to determine whether a patient has been exposed to HBV, has chronic infection, or is immune to the virus.

Getting a new internal medicine residency program off the ground in Nepal takes hard work and dedication, as a group of physicians at Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS) can attest. Last September, PAHS held its first entrance examination and selected its three first-ever internal medicine residents. As part of PAHS's mission of developing socially responsible physicians, the new residents will spend a three-month rotation caring for patients at rural government hospitals, and graduates of the program will be required to serve in government hospitals for a minimum of three years. Internal medicine in Nepal is only about 50 years old, so the residency program represents an exciting step forward, said the Nepali and U.S. physicians involved in its development.

Standardized patients have been part of medical education for 55 years, but advances in training and technology have helped to make them even more patient-centered. Read about how, and to learn about an installation, “Standardized Patient,” that will appear at Internal Medicine Meeting 2018 in New Orleans later this month, from April 19-21. And speaking of the meeting, our staff will be there too, bringing you all of the latest news. Check our Twitter feed and our daily email dispatches to stay up-to-date, and go online for more meeting information, including registration. Let us know what coverage you'd like to see by emailing us.


Jennifer Kearney-Strouse
Executive Editor, ACP Internist