Every year, according to a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine, a typical physician has about a 7% chance of being sued for medical malpractice. Surgeons almost certainly will face a malpractice claim sometime during their career.  Neurosurgeons, for instance, have a 19.1% chance of being sued in a given year, while that number is 18.9% ...

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Darshak Sanghavi recently wrote an excellent piece in the New York Times summarizing the controversy over resident work hours. The topic has been discussed here frequently, with ramifications ranging from the fact that errors arising from patient handoffs negate any benefit gained from restricting work hours, to surgeons not accumulating enough experience during their work hour-restricted training. I've ...

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With the patent for Lipitor expiring, Pfizer is considering selling an OTC version of the statin. It's generated a firestorm of debate, with doctors speculating on the impact for patients. According to Pharmalot, "an OTC version would allow Pfizer to capture some of the sales that will be lost when the Lipitor patent expires in November. In fact, Pfizer execs recently ...

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Hospitalists save money.  Until the patient leaves the hospital, at least. A recent study from the Annals of Internal Medicine ignited debate over the cost effectiveness of hospitalists. Looking at Medicare patients from 2001 to 2006, researchers found that "those who were followed by a primary care physician spent about half a day more at the hospital, costing ...

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If you're a physician or hospital that relies on Medicare payments, grim times are ahead.  Yes, even worse than the scheduled 29% payment cut that's scheduled to go into effect in 2013.  Emergency physician Shadowfax calls the debt deal "a terrible deal for health care providers." Under the contentious debt ceiling agreement, significant cuts in Medicare dollars will be ...

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The following op-ed was published on June 5, 2011 in USA Today. A patient recently asked me if I had heard about the new "wonder drugs" used to treat skin cancer. Indeed, I had. In a widely reported story in early June, two novel cancer drugs were found to benefit patients with advanced melanoma, a devastating form of skin cancer. ...

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Whenever I talk about the cost of medical education, I like to bring up this chart. It starkly illustrates just how expensive it is to train a doctor in the United States, compared to Canada and France. New York Times contributor Pauline Chen wrote a column on the issue recently.  Most doctors graduate with a debt exceeding $150,000, and ...

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Speed dating to find the next generation of doctors? Well, yes, in a way. The New York Times recently wrote about the admissions process at Virginia Tech Carilion, where students are chosen as much for their interpersonal qualities as their academic aptitude. Using the so-called "multiple mini interview," prospective medical students are ushered in a series of 9 interviews, each designed to ...

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Health care is a team sport, and one of the most important members is the office receptionist. Receptionists are often the first people patients see when the visit the clinic.  And those first impressions count. In a recent piece from the New York Times, Pauline Chen notes a study of the responsibilities of the medical receptionist, and finds they ...

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently released their recommendations for breast cancer screening. Previously, they had recommended a mammogram every 1 to 2 years for women between the ages of 40 to 49. Now, they recommend more intensive screening:

Due to the high incidence of breast cancer in the US and the potential to reduce deaths from it when ...

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