Federal Officials Seek Stronger Workforce Safety Standards For Health Workers

News outlets focus on developments related to the physician workforce -- such as work-hour rules and online health information.

Scripps Howard News Service/The (Montgomery County, Pa.) Times Herald: "Federal officials of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced this month they will consider proposals from advocacy, labor and student groups that contend work-hour rules proposed by an accreditation council's task force don't go far enough. They're pushing for new caps [on how long medical residents can work] including: No more than 80 hours in any week, compared to current standards that allow for an average of 80 hours. A limit of 16 hours in a single shift, which now can be as much as 24 hours, plus another six to transfer care to another resident. One day off every week and at least two consecutive days every month, compared to an average of one day off a week over four weeks. Studies show that residents who work marathon overnight shifts make more medical errors" (Kisken, 9/21).

Charlotte Observer: "Today's Internet-loving, Google-dependent world is giving some doctors headaches as patients increasingly turn to the Internet for medical advice. … But at a panel discussion on the subject Tuesday, one participant unveiled statistics suggesting patients put almost as much faith in Web search results as they do in their doctors' advice. … A study last year by the Pew Research Center's Internet in American Life Project found that 61 percent of adults look online for health information, up from 25 percent a decade ago. Despite the exploding popularity of social networks, the study found that it's not where seekers usually turn for information; most access blogs, commentary, rankings or reviews from other patients" (Frazier, 9/22).

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