My take: Preventive care, geriatricians, lifestyle

1) 80% of preventive care occurred outside of yearly physicals.

My take: Interesting study questioning the usefulness of a routine physical. In many cases, unnecessary tests are performed during these visits, driving up health care costs.

However, I find a routine preventive health visit helpful. It is a way to consolidate a patient’s screening status in a setting where preventive care takes priority. This enhances the probability that the patient is up to date with the appropriate screening tests, rather than tacking it on at the end of an acute visit.

2) The number of geriatricians declined 22 percent since 2000.

My take: That’s a pretty frightening statistic considering we are on the cusp of the Medicare baby boom era.

Primary care physicians are already under siege. Geriatricians are compensated even less. Hard to believe the short-sightedness going on here.

3) Jacob Goldstein, who runs the WSJ Health Blog, has a front page article discussing the priority new physicians place on lifestyle. Older physicians are resentful:

“It really gets on your nerves when you get these young guys coming in and interviewing and they say, ‘I’m not doing this, I’m not doing that.’”

My take: Deal with it. Placing an emphasis on lifestyle makes for happier doctors who are less prone to burnout. With physicians being held in lower regard these days, it is no wonder more are seeing medicine simply as a job, not a calling:

Walter Cheng, 32 years old, is in the profession’s new guard. Upon graduating from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2004, he bristled at the notion espoused by some senior physicians that a doctor should put medicine above all else. “I thought, ‘I don’t really want to be that kind of doctor.’… My family is as important, if not more important, than my career.”

Well said.

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