Interesting study from New Scientist. Human surrogates only get it right 68% of the time; could a computer do better?

The data suggested that most people want life-saving treatment if there is at least a 1% chance that following the intervention they would have the ability to reason, remember and communicate. If there is less than a 1% chance, people generally say they would choose not to have ...

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John Edwards

Why he is so despised within the medical community:

John Edwards, being neither a woman nor a racial minority, isn't doing especially well in his campaign to become the Democratic Party's candidate for the U.S. presidency. Alas for him, if he were half as successful in campaigning for America's top job as he was as a trial lawyer, he might be sworn in tomorrow. Edwards won, according to Lawyers ...

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The newest trend in the hospital construction boom. Dr. Wes with his take:

For it is the woo, not "evidence-based" design, with its attractive architecture, pleasant lighting, etc., that patients demand "“ and hospitals, after all, are entering a period of unprecedented competition between centers to attract well-to-do patients with money (and insurance). In this era of declining revenue, and increasingly savvy patients who can check out "hospital ...

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Honoraria for doctors

An internist defends the practice:

"Drug companies are like lions," Grimm says in the story. "For lions, it's their nature to kill zebras and eat them. For drug companies, it's their nature to make money. They're not really trying to improve anybody's health except if it makes them money "¦ On your side, you're making a bit of money, but you're also trying to educate the doctors. And in ...

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A law firm is unable to blog because of their malpractice carrier. Will the same thing happen to medical blogs?

A physician group in Boston calls itself Atrius Health. Here's the thought process that went into this decision:

"'A' is first in the dictionary and easy to recall. The 'T' sound is very strong, solid, abrupt, but balanced by the beautiful i-u-s," Smith said. "Atrius sounds nice. It is a pleasant word to say."

Duct tape for warts

A new study has come out, conflicting with previous research. Dr. Charles with a summary.

A survey suggests that the public thinks so:

About 52% of respondents said physicians overtreat patients because of concerns about medical malpractice lawsuits, 45% said "to make more money" and 44% said "to meet patient demands," the survey found.
My quick estimates of the reasons why physicians overorder tests would be 70-80% due to defensive medicine, 20-30% due to patient demand - although there is overlap here with defensive medicine ...

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Couz discusses adult circumcision with a patient:

Due to my anti-circumcision bias, I admit to often emphasizing the risks and the complications associated with this elective, cosmetic procedure. I also explained that as this is no medical indication for circumcision, he would be required to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket.

Two different headlines shows how the media can interpret the same financial report.

retired doc with more insight, as always:

Dr. Brett does not elaborate on what the process would be to decide which interventions are or are not effective but one can assume that would not be done by the individual physician in consultation with the individual patient.Those decisions would be made by committees appointed by the one party payer (which Dr. Brett favors) either directly or indirectly. Ironically, the egalitarian ...

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Blowout

An orbital blowout fracture that is. (via Radiology Picture of the Day)

Two Women

A single-payer cautionary tale.

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Statin box office

WSJ on the statin wars. Lipitor is in the lead, but losing ground. I normally prescribe simvastatin (for a potent statin), or pravastatin (if there is a history of muscle toxicity) first. Lipitor comes a distant third.

Groopman on Colbert

Jerome Groopman was on The Colbert Report earlier this week.

Why can't they get it right? I guess it's better to have too many than too few.

Too bad physician-unfriendly UnitedHealth is a major part of the problem.

Fearful of liability, some hospitals are restricting the use of birthing balls. Patients lose again:

. . . [the nurse] took things one step further, telling her she can't use a birthing ball because she might fall off, and it's a liability issue . . .

. . . "Instead of simply risk-managing the things that might help women in labour, surely what we really need to ...

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The new ad campaign for Metamucil:

"Just add Metamucil to your already diva-conscious diet, and your insides will be haute, haute, haute," say the print ads that will start this spring, featuring a young, slim model with the caption, "Drop-dead gorgeous guts."
(via Dr. Wes)

Finding a solution is infinitely harder. Until fee-for-service is completely revamped, the problem will never go away:

The problem is not that doctors don't know that the system is poorly run. The problem is not that the hospitals don't like to be organized. The problems with healthcare stem from a multitude of self-interested parties who are all fighting for their part of the pie. The money in healthcare is huge ...

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