As a nation, we are constantly monitoring and appraising the economy and our financial health.  We gather a tremendous amount of information to assess this. The Census Bureau randomly selects 60,000 households each month, unleashing a swarm of 2,000 field representatives to track down the selected participants and assess their employment status. The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys 500,000 businesses to estimate job creation.  Approximately 5,000 “consumers” are surveyed ...

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Comcast recently announced it is merging with Time Warner, the 2nd largest cable company in the US. Together, this deal nets Comcast an estimated 57% of the cable subscriber marketplace and heralds a new oligarchy in US media and entertainment. It’s big news for Comcast, but  aren’t as excited. Why? Because both Comcast and Time Warner have been consistently rated the worst providers of customer service in the cable industry. Now as they ...

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If you’re a practicing provider, chances are you still feel some anxiety about several issues related to the ICD-10 transition that are critical for maintaining the health of your practice. These probably include reimbursement, documentation workflows, potential audits, and claims denial. As a family medicine provider, what I hope to see develop is the opportunity for providers to encourage payers to be more transparent about topics like the level of coding ...

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There are over 58 million references to "patient engagement" if one conducts a Google search. The term has been diluted and changed in the past couple of years and has become a buzz phrase, used more from a business than clinical benefit perspective. The Center for Advancing Health defines patient engagement as “actions individuals must take to obtain the greatest benefit from the health care services available to them.” This implies ...

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The past few months I have joined thousands of individuals hoping to match into a residency program in 2014. I have had interviews all over the country and spent way too much time living out of a suitcase. For many students, residency interview season is exciting. For others, it’s stressful and exhausting. But for me, more than anything else, the interview trail was inspiring. I am currently applying to internal medicine-primary care ...

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As an internist (yes, I am a specialist, just not a subspecialist), I do no procedures.  Patients pay me (albeit mostly indirectly) for my cognitive skills.  But we live in a culture that seemingly rewards procedures more that pure cognition.  Now I understand that procedures are not mindless.  Physicians doing procedures must think prior to the procedure, during the procedure and after the procedure.  But cognition without procedures seems undervalued. The ...

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Next in a series. We have a real paradox in American health care. On the one hand we have exceptionally well educated and well trained providers who are committed to our care. We are the envy of the world for our biomedical research prowess, funded largely by the National Institutes of Health and conducted across the county in universities and medical schools. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries continuously bring forth ...

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A few months ago, I spent 15 minutes filling out a detailed health data form at the doctor’s office. The paper form contained multiple questions about my health, family history, medications and basic demographic information. I assumed that an administrative specialist would code it into the practice’s electronic medical record (EMR) to be put to use. So it came as a surprise when I spent another 5 minutes reviewing the ...

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During an afternoon seminar on a new paradigm for lung cancer screening in primary care, my phone chirped announcing the latest MedPage Today bit of breaking news: "Medical Homes May Not Be the Answer." A study in JAMA reported that cost per month per patient had actually increased, and only one marker of improved care was found to have improved after thousands of patients were followed in a large group of patient-centered medical ...

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When you go shopping, everything has a price tag. Buying a new car is challenging, but ignoring dealership costs may result in sticker shock when you receive the first payment notice three weeks later. Few of us would ignore costs this way. In actuality, this happens everyday in health care as we interact with medical professionals, have an examination, and are given treatment without knowing the price. Headlines alert us how health ...

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