Because hospitals are expensive and often cause harm, there has been a big focus on reducing hospital use.  This focus has been the underpinning for numerous policy interventions, most notable of which is the Affordable Care Act’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), which penalizes hospitals for higher than expected readmission rates.  The motivation behind HRRP is simple:  the readmission rate, the proportion of discharged patients who return to ...

Read more...

Last year, several scandals unfolded involving the Veterans Health Administration. Close to home, the Fort Collins VA hospital falsified its wait times for clinic appointments. To meet the VA goal of clinic appointments within 14 days, the hospital instructed its clerks to “cook the books,” falsifying appointment records to give the illusion that the vets were being seen in a timely manner. Farther away in Phoenix, the local VA hospital had ...

Read more...

Just as the U.S. health care system is about to make performance measurement a central feature of … well, just about everything doctors do … some prominent and highly influential physicians are asking for a pause and reassessment. Writing for the New York Times, Dr. Bob Watcher argues that, "Two of our most vital industries, health care, and education, have become increasingly subjected to metrics and measurements. Of course, ...

Read more...

I’ve been following Marissa Mayer’s tenure for nearly four years at Yahoo.  Not just because I was initially tapped to lead athenahealth’s integration of another mature advertising-driven mobile company -- Epocrates -- but because Yahoo, with its complexity and technology legacies, and highly competitive, fast-paced market environment, reminds me of many of the country’s largest health care delivery systems. Both are facing significant headwinds to stay relevant in their respective industries ...

Read more...

The title of Noam Scheiber’s January 9, 2016 New York Times piece on hospitalists, “Doctors Unionize to Resist the Medical Machine,” skirts the bigger issue for doctors, which has less to do with contracts, salaries and labor relations, and much more to do with the question, “Is health care just another business, and if so, can physicians be managed that way?” I’m a silverback hospitalist, and when I started ...

Read more...

The American health care system is set up to care for a certain subset of the population -- sick people -- people with chronic disease, acute illness, acute injury, and complex disorders like cancer or metabolic issues. The problem is, this set up doesn’t create market incentives to care for the well effectively, or to identify those at risk for disease and efficiently and reliably intervene, at scale. To reconcile this cognitive dissonance ...

Read more...

Part of a series. Primary care needs to change. That change will need the concerted efforts of patients, doctors, and other constituents. Many are cynical and believe that no worthwhile change can ever occur; others are simply resigned. But optimism can be realistic with intense advocacy and simply taking the initiative to make change. This may surprise you, but change will only happen when patients along with doctors become ...

Read more...

All hopes were abandoned.  In theory, it was supposed to jump start medical care and provide access to the uninsured.  It was the promise of a new day. Every American would have access to good, quality (I really have learned to hate that word), affordable medical care. I’ll never forget that day.  It was raining hard, and my clothes were soaked through. The air felt particularly raw against my skin. The ...

Read more...

Supply chains and other service industries, like telecom, worry about "the last mile" -- the final step in delivering a product or service to customers. Like other industries, health care must connect most meaningfully to the patient, and the nurse is almost always part of (if not the sole manager of) that last mile. The analogy of the last mile defines a deeply rooted issue about nursing’s criticality (and that ...

Read more...

Health care in America is fracturing right down the middle, and doctors are going to have to figure out if or how long they can straddle the divide between what patients want and what the government and corporate America want them to have. Up until this point, the momentum has been with the payers, Medicare, and the insurance industry. But the more heavy-handed they become, the more inevitable the public backlash ...

Read more...

Most Popular