The bipartisan debt commission appointed by President Obama recently released its recommendations on how to pare the country's debt. Of interest to doctors is the suggestion to change the way doctors are paid.  Physician lobbies have been advocating for removal of the Sustainable Growth Rate formula -- the flawed method by which Medicare, and subsequently private insurers, pays doctors. According to this method, physicians are due for a pay cut of ...

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When patients undergo medical treatment -- like radiation therapy for prostate cancer, for instance -- little is reported about the lifelong side effects that can arise. That's because outcomes have disproportionally focused on survival.  Whether a patient has incontinence, impotent, or blood in the urine stemming from prostate cancer therapy has largely been overshadowed. In a recent New York Times' column, Pauline Chen highlights the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  According to ...

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Having more primary care physicians doesn't necessarily improve the quality of care. That may come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog, but that's one of the findings that came from a recent analysis of the Dartmouth Atlas. As reported by the WSJ's Health Blog,

having regular primary-care visits isn’t a guarantee of receiving recommended care. There was “no relationship” between rates of breast cancer screening for women age 67-69 ...

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A social media manager is becoming an imperative position for hospitals. Medical institutions are waking up to the fact that they need to engage their patients and physicians online. No where is there more fertile growth than in the various social media platforms that are prevalent today -- like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. American Medical News recently profiled the phenomenon, highlighting the position of social media manager, which some institutions pay ...

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Lung cancer screening has been an area of considerable controversy.  Before today, there had been no evidence that screening patients for lung cancer, either with a CT scan or chest x-ray, saved lives. For years, doctors have been waiting for the results of the large, randomized National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), conducted by the National Cancer Institute. This morning, it was announced that the trial was stopped early, with a ...

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Hospitals nationwide are racing against the clock to ensure their health IT systems meet meaningful use guidelines. The incentive?  Money, of course. Systems that meet certain criteria make doctors eligible for up to $44,000 in bonus money from the government. As mentioned on this blog previously, implementing an electronic health system is difficult. The usability of the current generation of EHRs is still relatively primitive, especially when compared to other industries, and ...

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Doctors: if you're sick, don't go to work. The stereotype of doctors is that they go to work, despite whatever symptoms ail them. Calling in sick places strain on colleagues. Especially in residency, where team members are expected to pick up the slack. In a recent column, the New York Times' Pauline Chen discusses the image of self-sacrifice that a sick doctor going to work portrays:

Hacking, febrile or racked with the ...

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Is the doctor-patient relationship really more sacrosanct than the nurse-patient relationship? That's the provocative question asked by Theresa Brown in a recent column from Well, the New York Times' health blog. She discusses an instance when she had a disagreement with a physician over a patient care issue.

I couldn’t believe that this doctor, who had always worked well with the nurses on my floor, had just suggested, at least in my ...

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Ezra Klein calls Peter Orszag's proposal in a recent New York Times column a "new idea on medical malpractice reform." Except it's really not. The idea of immunizing doctors who follow strict clinical practice guidelines was floated by the AMA back in May of 2009. I supported the idea back then, saying the AMA is

acknowledging and embracing the data that is very influential in the White House, as well ...

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Authors of a recent study from the Archives of Internal Medicine are unlikely to endear themselves to specialists. As reported by Reuters, and provocatively titled, Do specialist doctors make too much money?, the study gives a per-hour breakdown of how much doctors make. I think this is a good approach, since annual salary figures do not account for the number of hours doctors work -- and in the case of primary ...

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