Neil H. Baum, MD, presented “’Hand Size’ and Healthcare” for the Grand Rounds in Urology audience in March 2022.

How to cite: Baum, Neil H. ‘Hand Size’ and Healthcare.” March 2022. Accessed Apr 2024.

‘Hand Size’ and Healthcare – Summary

Grand Rounds in Urology Contributing Editor Neil H. Baum, MD, Professor of Urology at Tulane Medical School, considers how common healthcare metrics can be faulty, much like the idea that larger hand size signifies a better quarterback. He explains that many in the football industry have long assumed that small hands result in fumbles and bad throws, and have therefore used hand size as a metric when drafting quarterbacks. However, as a recent article about successful, small-handed quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow demonstrates, this metric is inherently flawed. Dr. Baum suggests that this is a useful story to keep in mind when considering certain common healthcare metrics and concepts that are not as infallible or relevant as they seem. For instance, he notes that urologists commonly measure erectile dysfunction post-retropubic radical prostatectomy or external radiation therapy, but patients are actually far more interested in continence than sexual function. Dr. Baum also argues that common metrics like resting heart rate and body-mass index actually provide less useful health information than heart rate variability and waist circumference, respectively. He then observes that even one of the most widely-held beliefs in healthcare—that doctors have to see and touch a patient in order to properly treat them—has proven inaccurate with the rise of efficient, affordable telemedicine. Dr. Baum concludes that healthcare professionals should challenge conventional wisdom, and that doing so may help with finding new metrics and new methods for treating patients.

For more commentary on practice management from Dr. Baum, visit his Improving Your Urology Practice page.