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 patient care. At ...

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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 latest example ...

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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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