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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Have you ever been the only customer in your local supermarket? Although the experience can be a bit unnerving, at first, you soon start to notice the advantages: No line at the deli, no pushy shoppers, no carts jamming up the produce section. As you breeze through checkout, you think to yourself, “Gee, I could get used to this.” Now, imagine walking into an empty waiting area at your local emergency ...

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When news broke that Dr. Atul Gawande had been named CEO of the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan Chase health care partnership, industry insiders were quick to raise doubts about his credentials. Some pointed to his limited administrative experience, questioning how someone who has never managed a hospital or health system could oversee the care of some 1 million patient-employees. They also noted that the surgeon and bestselling author doesn’t know much ...

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About 30 miles east of LA, on the quiet tree-lined campus of Claremont Graduate University, sunlight pierces the ornately covered windows of a lower-level classroom in Harper Hall. A glow is cast upon the 25 students of Dr. Debbie Freund’s health policy course; PhD candidates and practicing physicians among them. Many of these bright young scholars will go on to take leadership roles in health policy, public health, IT and medical research. I ...

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Physicians have a love-hate relationship with the electronic health record (EHR). On the one hand, doctors know they can't provide the best possible medical care without them. And on the other, today's EHR systems are cumbersome, clunky and slow physicians down. Indeed, there's much to love and much to hate about today's EHRs, alongside a variety of ways to address the problems they create. One solution may lie in blockchain, the technology currently ...

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Hospitals serve as the economic lifeblood of their communities. They are the second-largest source of private-sector jobs in the United States, employing 5.4 million Americans who, together, embrace a virtuous mission to heal and help others in need. And yet, every year, more and more of them are forced to shut their doors. With soaring costs, eroding margins and mounting pressure from competing providers, the American hospital industry is on life ...

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All eyes are on interest rates as investors look for more signs of trouble ahead. If their concerns over higher-than-expected inflation prove accurate, many players in the U.S. economy will suffer the burden of higher costs. But perhaps no sector would feel the strain more than health care. Higher costs would be just the start of many problems to come for providers, insurers and, eventually, patients. Surging inflation would create a vicious ...

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In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” It was a clarion call, a full-throated warning against national complacency in an era of great prosperity. It was during this same period that community hospitals stood as the dominant force in American health care. By the mid-20th century, some 6,000 inpatient facilities had spread throughout the country, often serving ...

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A strange thing happened last year in some the nation’s most established hospitals and health systems. Hundreds of millions of dollars in income suddenly disappeared. This article, part two of a series that began with a look at primary care disruption, examines the economic struggles of inpatient facilities, the even harsher realities in front of them, and why hospitals are likely to aggravate, not address, health care’s rising cost issues. According ...

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