For several years, Medicare has tied hospital reimbursement to its definition of quality of care. Poorly performing hospitals can be penalized as much as 2% of their Medicare payments. As part of Medicare’s assessment of quality, surveys are used to measure patient experience and satisfaction. One of the components of the Medicare survey is pain management, which Medicare describes as follows: I’m not sure who, if anyone, ...

Read more...

The committee that plans and oversees medical care for the county of Hertfordshire, England announced recently that unless obese patients lose a specified amount of weight and smokers quit smoking for at least eight weeks, they will not be allowed to undergo elective surgery. Patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 must lose 15 percent of their weight within nine months, and patients with a BMI over 30 ...

Read more...

Recently, Dr. Ashish K. Jha, a Harvard internist and health policy researcher, published an opinion piece in JAMA, advocating public reporting of individual surgeon outcomes. I have followed Dr. Jha for many years on Twitter and have enjoyed his blog posts and papers. However, I must respectfully disagree with much of what he wrote this time. He tries but fails to refute the arguments that critics of individual surgeon reporting ...

Read more...

A surgical resident is suing St. Louis University, its surgical residency program director, and its trauma service chief for what she claims is an unjustified decision requiring her to repeat her fourth year of training. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about this has a link to a 42-page PDF describing the details of the suit. Because I suspect you won’t read that PDF and maybe not even the article, I ...

Read more...

I recently asked, “Who’s to blame?” for patients not taking their medications and cited a couple of papers describing the poor state of medication adherence. I concluded nonadherence was a huge problem, and doctors failing to educate their patients was not a major cause. To support my contention that physicians are not the reason why patients do not take their medications as ordered I submit the following new information. A 
Read more...

An article in Newsweek magazine says, “Artificial intelligence will cure America’s sick health care system” using data and automation to “drive down the costs of health care while increasing effectiveness.” According to Newsweek, it will work like this for diabetes. A company called Virta Health has come up with a smartphone app that is like “a live-in doctor and diabetes coach.” Type 2 diabetics who enroll will enter data such ...

Read more...

The New York Times says nonadherence to prescribed medications is “an out-of-control epidemic” in the U.S. and quotes a review in Annals of Internal Medicine, which found “20-30% of medication prescriptions are never filled, and approximately 50% of medications for chronic illness are not taken as prescribed.” For example, “a third of kidney transplant patients don’t take their anti-rejection medications, 41% of heart attack patients don’t take ...

Read more...

Here's a question that has been debated for several years: Should radiologists talk to patients about their imaging results? Citing several issues, I came down solidly on the "no" side in a 2014 blog post. Two major radiology organizations have committees looking into the concept, and New York Times article said, "they hope to make their case [for it] by demonstrating how some radiologists ...

Read more...

A comparison of appendectomy outcomes for senior general surgeons and general surgery residents revealed no significant differences in early and late complication rates, use of diagnostic imaging, time from emergency department to operating room, incidence of complicated appendicitis, postop length of stay, and duration of post-op antibiotic treatment. The only parameter in which a significant difference was seen was that attending surgeons completed the procedure significantly faster by 9 minutes -- ...

Read more...

I received these emails recently. The writer gave me permission to publish them. They have been edited for length, and some details have been changed to protect his anonymity.

I'm a third-year medical student at an allopathic state medical school. I've always wanted to do surgery. My problem is I failed USMLE Step 1 the first time and got a 207 on my second attempt. I hadn't failed anything else throughout first ...

Read more...

14 Pages
Don't miss out!

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Subscribe. It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 130,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get exclusive content
✓ Never miss an article
Subscribe. It's free.
close-image