Physician salaries are always a sensitive topic. A common view among health reforms is that doctors, in general, are paid too much. Various progressive pundits point to statistics showing that American doctors are the highest paid in the world. For many specialists, that may be true. But not for primary care. A recent Tweet by Ves Dimov pointed me to an article from the UK, stating that primary care doctors working in ...

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There's little question that medical school debt is rising rapidly, affecting the career choice of medical students. It's one of the main reasons why the disparity between the number of specialists and primary care doctors is widening. There have been a variety of proposed solutions -- most recent of which are medical schools completely subsidizing their tuition. I think that's a good step forward, but so far, has only been ...

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How effective is direct to consumer drug advertising? Some think that drug ads should be banned altogether, saying that it encourages patients to ask their doctors for expensive, brand name prescription drugs. It turns out, their fears may be overblown. NPR's Shots blogs about a recent study looking at the effectiveness of these ads. The numbers, for the pharmaceutical companies anyways, are not encouraging:

Overall, about 8 percent of the people who were ...

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Remember when I wrote, way back when, that expanding health coverage without a concurrent increase in primary care access will only worsen emergency room waits? For instance, consider this, from CNN.com:

What good is having health insurance if you can’t find a doctor to see you? ... ... The Massachusetts Medical Society reported that the average wait time for a new patient looking for a primary care doctor ranged from 36 to ...

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Should doctors face consequences if they run late? From the New York Times' health blog, Well, comes a story where a medical group promises, “same-day appointments and longer, more personalized visits that start on time.” Sounds good, right? But it comes with a caveat, namely, a $199 annual membership fee. A tremendous amount of primary care can be bought with that amount of money, and if patients were willing to pay that, ...

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The following op-ed was published on June 7th, 2010 in CNN.com. "I read all about my condition on the Internet," a recent patient proudly told me. Like other doctors, I'm seeing more patients research their symptoms thoroughly before setting foot in the exam room. Patients are using the Web in unprecedented ways for their own health empowerment. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 61 percent of American adults ...

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Should drug and device makers fund continuing medical education courses? That's a question medical schools and academic medical centers have recently been grappling over. Now, the University of Michigan has taken the controversial step to completely divorce the industry from physician education. According to the New York Times,

the University of Michigan Medical School has become the first to decide that it will no longer take any money from drug and device makers ...

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It's well known that patients Google their doctors, a practice that's performed with increasing frequency. But what about doctors researching their patients on the web? It's an interesting idea that I hadn't thought of. I have never Googled a patient, and can't see any reason to in a primary care setting. But the context of the piece, which I first saw in the WSJ Health Blog, was in psychiatry. It would ...

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