Flea Bytes: Enhancing Teaching Effectiveness

Enhancing Teaching Effectiveness and Vitality in the Ambulatory SettingKelley M Skeff, MD, PhD

The Stanford Method

Seven-component Framework to Enhance Teaching Effectiveness

1. Establishing a Positive Learning Climate
-Reflects the degree of stimulation, enthusiasm, comfort, and excitement
-Demonstrate enthusiasm for the content being taught and for teaching itself
-Assess if the setting is conductive to teaching

2. Control of the Teaching Session
-Task-management approaches a teacher uses to focus and pace a session
-Time is limited, need to organize the session to manage time well
-Focus on several areas including ongoing disease processes, cost of care, and health maintenance (outpatient). Also need to evaluate and supervise house officers. can’t focus on all aspects and need to respect the time limitations for learners and patients.

3. Communication of Goals
– Expectation setting: educational experiences they should have, attitudes, knowledge and skills that should be acquired.
– Define specific observable behaviors you’d like to see

4. Enhance Understanding and Retention
– Attitudes: learners should have opportunities to consider and discuss their present attitudes, conceptualize their role, and discuss and set their own goals in a supportive environment.
– Knowledge: present material in clear and organized manner, emphasize key points to be remembered, and actively involve the learner in the process.

5. Evaluation
– Formative evaluation – conducted throughout education experience – helps plan future education experiences to help the learn master desired goals
– Summative evaluation – assessing learners final competence.

6. Feedback
– provide information to improve performance.
– inform, reinforce, or praise when performance is acceptable to excellent
– inform and constructively criticize when performance is needing improvement
– referencing stated expectations can provide the standard for feedback
– ensure time for feedback

7. Self-directed Learning


Flea Bytes: Hepatic Cysts

More common in women, 1.5:1 female to male ratio. 5% of people have cysts on autopsy and 5% of these are neoplastic. The majority of liver cysts (90%) are asymptomatic. Found incidentally on US or CT. Neoplastic cysts are mostly solitary. US imaging is most helpful and CT scan are used in specific cases. US helps determine content of the cysts. Certain cysts are responsive to estrogen.

Location in the liver does not help differentiate neoplastic from non-neoplastic.

Non-neoplastic cysts: wall is smooth, no septa, and no debris. Presence of these suggests the possibility of biliary cystadenoma or cystadenocarcinoma.

Liver tests are normal. In cases of congenital polycystic liver disease alkaline phosphatase maybe elevated.

Surgical removal and histologic sectioning is the only way to determine if neoplastic or not.

First must rule out Echinococcus – endemic worldwide and associated with rural areas with sheep. Test with ELIZA which is 90% sensitive. If surgery is not an option can consider aspiration. Mucin in cystic fluid is concerning for malignancy, but absence does not rule out malignancy. Also can check CEA and CA 19-9 in the aspirate, but inadequate NPV.

Monitor cysts that are 1-2cm, but if they grow to 2-5 consider, and definitely > 5 cm must consider surgery.

If all of the cyst tissue is removed, recurrence is unlikely, however if any part of the cyst wall is left behind recurrence can be up to 50%.

Advances in Hepatology: Current Developments in the Treatment of Hepatitis and Hepatobiliary Disease: Managment of Heaptic Cysts – Jorge L Herrera

Tidings from the Citadel: Accuracy of Lung Ultrasonography in the Diagnosis of Pneumonia

16 studies were included – significant heterogeneity, but of 2359 patients. Heterogeneity was assessed graphically and with a Q test. The Q test should only be used once in a data set to exclude outliers. The reference standard, we considered it to be of high quality if based on CT alone or when it consisted of a final diagnosis made by experts using an integrated synthesis of radiology and laboratory or microbiological data (or both).

The highest risk of bias stemmed from the flow of patients within each study because of an uneven application of the reference test (differential verification bias).

The dispersion of studies in the ROC plane suggests marked heterogeneity.
The 95% CI of the overall effect indicates a sensitivity of approximately 80% to 90% and a specificity of 70% to 90%.

Accuracy of Lung Ultrasonography in the Diagnosis of Pneumonia in Adults: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Ana M. Llamas-Álvarez, MD; Eva M. Tenza-Lozano, MD; and Jaime Latour-Pérez, MD, PhD; . Chest 2017; 151(2):374-382

Flea Bytes: Antibiotics or Surgery for Spinal Epidural Abscess

Baseline rates of treatment failure have varied in studies and rates have ranged from 8.5 to 17% in the best case scenarios to 43-75% in other studies. So even at baseline, we know that a significant number of patients will fail antibiotics and require surgery. Risk factors include diabetes mellitus, leukocytosis greater than 12.5, positive blood cultures, and C-reactive protein greater than 115. One risk factor increases failure rates for to 35.4%, two risk factors increases failure to 40.2%, and three or more risk factors increases failure rates to 76.9%.

So basically, most patients should ideally managed with surgery and barring that we should advocate for surgery in patients who have risk factors. 

Flea Bytes: Duration of Antibiotics for Intra-abdominal Abscess

STOP-IT trial: In patients with intraabdominal infections WITH source control, outcomes were similar between fixed duration (4 days) vs. duration guided by clinical improvement – 2 days after the resolution of fever, leukocytosis, and ileus (mean 8 days). Both intention to treat and per-protocol analysis found no difference. However, the study was terminated early due to funding, and only enrolled half the intended patients.



N Engl J Med 2015;372:1996-2005

Tidings from the Citadel: Duration of therapy for vertebral body osteomyelitis

6 weeks of antibiotic treatment is not inferior to 12 weeks of antibiotic treatment for clinical cure at 1 year in pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis.

This was a study where the attending decided which antibiotic to prescribe. Some concerns of bias were allayed by the similar antibiotic prescription between the 2 groups. Clinical cure was defined as the absence of fever, pain, and inflammatory syndrome at 1 y after treatment. 19% of patients were lost to follow up. Only 18% of patients had MRSA, in some centers this number is much higher, so keep that in mind when using the results of this study. The authors found similar rates of clinical cure, clinical cure + alive, and clinical cure without needing more antibiotics. Adverse events rate were similar between the groups. Thus they deemed 6 weeks non-inferior to 12 weeks.

This was a pragmatic study design with adequate retention of participants. Similar antibiotics were prescribed and the adjudicators were blinded. It seems logical that fewer antibiotics would lead to cost savings and decrease drug resistance (though this study did not show either), 6 weeks of antibiotics is typical unless there are compelling reasons otherwise.

Antibiotic treatment for 6 weeks versus 12 weeks in patients with pyogenic vertebral osteomyelitis: an open-label, non-inferiority, randomised, controlled trial. Bernard, Louis et al. The Lancet , Volume 385 , Issue 9971 , 875 – 882. 7 March 2015


Flea Bytes: Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (HAP)

  • Definition: pneumonia that occurs 48 hours or more after admission and did not appear to be incubating at the time of admission.
  • HCAP Removed because many patients who met criteria were in fact not at increased risk for multi-drug resistant organisms, MDROs
  • Recommended antibiotics: anti-pseudomonal +/- double pseudomonal coverage +/- MRSA coverage
  • MRSA Risks: abx use IV abx in past 90 days, unit where prevalence of MRSA among S. aureus isolates is not known or >20%. No recommendations regarding use of MRSA swab to guide need for MRSA coverage.
  • Non-invasive Sputum cultures recommended to guide therapy
  • Duration: 7 days
  • New CAP guidelines (to include patients from nursing homes) are pending.