CDS=Cat decision support?

I’m sure the national media are jumping all over a “Perspective” essay in the July 26 New England Journal of Medicine about a cat named Oscar (at right) at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R.I., who has “an uncanny ability to predict when residents are about to die,” the report says.

“His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families,” writes David M. Dosa, M.D, a geriatrician at Rhode Island Hospital.

According to an Associated Press/Yahoo story, Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his “compassionate hospice care.”

I guess if you don’t have advanced information systems with full clinical decision support, you rely on the innate talents of the animal kingdom. Hey, if a method works, don’t knock it!

When doctors actually do turn to computers, it’s often for educational purposes. For what it’s worth, Manhattan Research now has a ranking of the top 10 pharmaceutical product Web sites that primary care physicians are visiting in 2007:

  1. Januvia
  2. Singulair
  3. Advair
  4. Chantix
  5. Adderall XR
  6. Byetta
  7. Gardasil
  8. Vytorin
  9. Avandia
  10. Concerta

In other news, URAC has a new competition to reward best practices in consumer empowerment and protection, with a related conference. The organization is taking applications through Aug. 15 at The awards will be presented at the first conference, set for next March in Orlando, Fla.

And finally, we come to the self-flagellation section of this post. My latest feature story on personal health records is out.