February column from the Editor-in-Chief
Joseph I. Sirven, M.D.
Happy February and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day is always a time that we remember those around us who we care dearly about whether it be a patient or caregiver. We all want and strive towards good quality of life and epilepsy.com wants to help you help your patients achieve that goal. February is an exciting month for us as the Epilepsy Therapy Project will be holding its annual Epilepsy Pipeline Update Conference at the end of month in San Francisco. At this meeting, investigators will be highlighting the latest in drug treatment, device trials and any other potential therapies that can be aided by support from the Epilepsy Therapy Project in order to reach the market place faster and help health professionals such as yourself provide the highest quality care to your patients with epilepsy.
Quality medical care has become a rallying cry by government payers and all stake holders in the healthcare debate. Epilepsy specialists recently proposed eight quality metrics that will be recommended to be included in all encounters with patients with seizures by all physicians in the United States. The neurology community is now taking this process one step forward in including these metrics in maintenance of certification for all neurologists. As part of a project entitled “Performance in Practice (PIP)” the American Academy in Neurology is introducing an electronic survey system, for physicians to be able to assess their own medical charts for documentation that the measures deemed indicative of quality care in epilepsy are indeed being performed on a daily basis. The concept is to not only to help improve patient outcome by making certain that these outcome measures are being addressed in patient encounters, but also helping the physician be educated as to the latest guidelines, treatment strategies, and other opportunities for improving the quality of life of individuals with frequent seizures. The epilepsy PIP will be available in the second half of 2010 and will be soon followed by performance measures in a number of other common neurological conditions outside of epilepsy. The goal is for physicians who care for epilepsy patients lead by example in providing and documenting quality care to best help our patients.
During the month, we have scheduled two Hallway Conversations which will be most informative. On February 15th Dr. Elson So from Mayo Clinic Rochester joins us to discuss the latest in physiological imaging for epilepsy. How has SISCOM improved outcomes? What are the latest improvements for that particular procedure and how can that help patients with refractory epilepsy. On February 10, Dr. Elizabeth Waterhouse from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA joins us for a discussion on status epilepticus management. She will be specifically addressing new medications that have been introduced for the management of partial epilepsy. Will they be useful in the management of status epilepticus? She will discuss that and many other issues with regards to this emergency. We look forward to these interviews, to the pipeline conference and to the many other initiatives that are ongoing in the epilepsy community. To all of readers out there – Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope that it is a special month, one that is memorable, pleasant, and we are able to help as many people as possible.
Joseph Sirven, M.D.
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