All physicians know the scenario. You want to reassure the patient; the patient wants another (usually expensive) test. In our new metric age, we may have a conflict between overuse and patient satisfaction. The article provides some hospitalist data: "Hospitalists know guidelines but overuse tests to reassure selves, patients." How do we balance making our best evidence-based decisions with patient demands? Some experts will tell us that we really have a ...

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You should know that medical documentation has gone awry. But you really just have no idea. If you’ve been to the hospital or to the doctor’s office even once this year, I’m willing to bet that at least a portion of your medical information is now found somewhere within an electronic medical record (EMR). An EMR is really just some mega-computer that stores your health information. Lots of it.  And, I guarantee you that ...

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Of all the radical changes affecting health care that have sent providers reeling, we are about to experience the knockout punch: the effort to change health care reimbursement from a quantity-based to a quality-based system. Of all the changes to health care, I can't think of any other that has been based on more false assumptions. Given the fact that there is always low hanging fruit, supporters of the quality-based ...

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Why is it so hard to make a dent in the huge volume of unnecessary health care? In the U.S., about 20 to 30 percent of the medical interventions American patients receive are useless and often harmful, and waste hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Insurers have known this for decades. These days, many more doctors have begun to see the big picture, along with policy makers.  But the ...

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shutterstock_66058726 Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an ambitious goal to have 85 percent of payments made to doctors linked to clinical quality measures within the next two years. HHS believes that incentives should be weighted almost entirely toward quality of care instead of volume of care. I guess if you're a patient, you could ask yourself the ...

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Rural hospitals are fighting for their lives. Over the past five years, more than 40 rural facilities have closed their doors due to lack of funding. And because the majority of their funds come fromMedicare and Medicaid -- two government programs facing potential cutbacks in 2015 -- many rural hospitals may be fighting a losing battle.   Understandably, small-town residents fear hospital closures or downsizing may leave them vulnerable when serious ...

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We all know that the U.S. system of paying for health care is tremendously complex and inefficient: a multitude of insurers, thousands of insurance plans, innumerable medical bills, countless incorrect and denied claims. But just how much do we waste on this administrative morass? I led a research team that recently reviewed all the available evidence and published our findings. The resulting numbers are staggering. Compared with countries that have a single health ...

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As we enter year two of the Affordable Care Act, we have seen many issues arise during implementation.  Through both executive order and executive memorandum, President Obama has unilaterally changed the law more than 100 times in order to advance his political agenda. When it became important to publicize enrollment and increased coverage of the uninsured, the president, and the ACA provided for an increased payment scale for patients with Medicaid. ...

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shutterstock_97190261 In his popular tome, The Innovator’s Prescription, Clayton Christensen proposes several cures to health care’s cost disease, known as disruptive innovations. One is the replacement of physicians by advanced practice clinicians (APCs). That is, by nurse practitioners and physician assistants. APCs meet the requirements for Christenson’s disruptive innovators: They cost less (than physicians) and are good enough. There is little doubt that APCs ...

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You may not be ready to admit it even to yourself, but you know it’s changing. Permanently. Some say it’s for the better. Others say it’s for the worse. Most don’t really care much one way or the other. After all, health care has been evolving and changing over thousands of years, and the experts best positioned to evaluate the health care turmoil of our times are yet to be ...

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