We can’t un-bungle our nation’s COVID-19 response. Political leaders acted too slowly; health agencies committed unforced errors with testing kits and, amid the confusion, an information fog settled over the land. Americans remain afraid, perplexed, and ...

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) is the single-most important topic on the minds of Americans, and it remains the subject of regular updates from health officials. And yet, despite the abundance of scientific facts and guidance surrounding the disease, misinformation abounds as confusion persists. Avoiding many of the worst consequences and doomsday predictions will depend, in part, ...

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In a shocking development that could transform the medical profession, the International Journal of Health Services published the findings of a study titled, “Primary care, specialty care, and life chances.” Using multiple regression analysis, the researchers concluded that “primary care is by far the most significant variable related to better health status,” correlating with lower mortality, fewer deaths from heart disease and cancer, and a host of other beneficial health outcomes. By contrast, ...

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A recent study published in Science, one of the world’s leading academic journals, found that a predictive health care algorithm discriminated against black patients. The tool, created by Optum, was designed to identify high-risk patients with untreated chronic diseases, thereby helping administrators re-distribute medical resources to those who’d benefit the most. But there was a glitch in the algorithm, according to researchers. Rather than ranking the needs ...

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Burnout is a big and burgeoning problem in the United States. According to a recent Mayo Clinic report, it affects 28% of the general working population. Among physicians, however, the rate is markedly higher, ranging from 44% to 54% in most studies.

More concerning are the consequences: Doctors who report burnout symptoms are twice as likely to ...

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Over the past 40 years, the number of U.S. hospitals declined by 12 percent, from more than 7,100 in 1975 to 6,200 in 2017, according to the latest American Hospital Association survey. And, yet, despite shuttering nearly 1,000 facilities, hospitals remain the nation’s largest source of health care spending, accounting for $1.1 trillion annually (or 33% of all national health care expenditures). Much of that money goes ...

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I’ll admit it. I’m a medical-TV junkie, addicted to 21st-century doctor and hospital dramas (most of which are now streaming on Netflix and other services). Although some physicians are bothered by sensationalized depictions of their profession, I appreciate these shows for what they deliver: equal parts entertainment and insight. On the one hand, medical dramas are made for our amusement. They’re theatrical escapes from reality, meant to be enjoyed from comforts ...

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Health care remains the nation’s top voting issue ahead of the 2020 elections, just as it was during the 2018 midterms. Surveys show voters remain frustrated with high drug prices, growing out-of-pocket expenses, and skimpy health-insurance benefits.

The leading candidates have publicly promised to fix these problems, but all are omitting certain details about their health care plans. To help voters ...

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Why does the most expensive health care system on the planet do such a poor job protecting the lives of pregnant women? More important, what can be done about it? The United States continues to lead the world in health care spending yet it has the highest maternal death rate among wealthy nations. Researchers have found that maternal mortality in the United States 
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Physicians nearing the end of their careers often mourn the loss of the hospital as it once was -- the undisputed center of the health care universe. They remember a time when every community doctor rounded on patients in the morning, and every surgery was performed in one of the hospital’s main operating rooms.

Times, like hospitals, have changed. This article looks at how the changing role of the American ...

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At the end of a long table covered with hors d’oeuvres and a birthday cake, I struck up a conversation with three primary care physicians.

I was hungry for their opinions. Inside the crowded apartment, we spoke for some 20 minutes about the systemic and cultural causes of burnout in primary care—a conversation that informed the first article in this series. As I was about to leave, I ...

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According to a recent Harvard report, physician burnout is “a public health crisis that urgently demands action.” Half of all doctors report troubling symptoms: depression, exhaustion, dissatisfaction, and a sense of failure. These physicians are twice as likely to commit a serious medical error, research finds. Experts predict that if left unaddressed, burnout will further erode the mental health of doctors and radically undermine ...

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Each year, Medical Economics surveys physician readers to find out what irks them most. Topping the latest list: insurance paperwork, followed closely by electronic health records (EHRs). The reason is the same for both. Insurers and EHRs get between doctors and their patients. When it comes to medicine’s computer problem, the obstacle is literal. Doctors sit behind a screen, focused on the EHR and not the patient. ...

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To help then-candidate Bill Clinton remain focused on the No. 1 voter issue ahead of the 1992 presidential elections, political strategist James Carville coined an unforgettable mantra, which he posted inside Clinton campaign headquarters. It read, “The economy, stupid.” The quote became famous both for its edginess and wisdom, reminding us to separate the big picture from everything else. In health care, it can be hard to define the “big picture” issue when ...

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With the recent FDA approval, Zolgensma became the world’s most expensive medication. Priced at $2.125 million per patient, the one-dose gene therapy is a potential life-saver for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Now, the treatment is at the center of an intensifying debate over the rising price of medications.

Industry watchdogs are outraged. They say Zolgensma is merely the ...

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These are trying times for health care optimists. Despite all the hype surrounding breakthroughs in clinical practice and technology, American medicine is stuck in in neutral. Though the engine is revving loudly, little progress is being made. This unfortunate truth came into clearer light last week when I was preparing lesson plans for the health care strategy course I teach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. During the first class of ...

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As first reported by The Wall Street Journal late last month, the war against anti-vaccination propaganda now has a new battlefront. Pinterest, the social-media platform where users discover images and information, has begun blocking vaccine-related search terms on its site. Anti-vaccine content contradicts evidence-based science and established research, the company told WSJ, while cautioning that the search ban is only 
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Imagine you’re a CEO in charge of a health care organization with thousands of physicians and 19 hospitals. Overall, the quality of care delivered is good. Prices and costs are low. But there is a problem: Patients rate your service below average. Making matters worse, a swarm of low-priced competitors have moved in, challenging your market share. You’re going to need to improve patient satisfaction to survive. What do you do? About ...

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Like prep sports or prime-time television, medical meetings have seasons. In the spring and fall, my calendar fills with invitations to speak. I try to get to the venue a few hours before I’m scheduled to speak, so I can “take the pulse” of fellow doctors, asking them about their practices, patients and the future of medicine. Figuratively speaking, the industry’s pulse is racing with fear. I’ve observed that in just the past ...

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While walking through the duty-free at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, I happened upon the price tag of an imported French purse. Looking around, I wondered how many travelers could afford a $2,000 handbag.At the gate, I found a seat and logged on to the internet, where I happened upon a story about the CEO of Nostrum Laboratories, Nirmal Mulye. In an interview, Mr. Mulye explained why he raised the ...

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