Theater and medical education

Should drama be a requirement to teach empathy?

Doctors taught empathy techniques by theater professors show improved bedside manner, according to a pilot study by a Virginia Commonwealth University research team.

The findings may help in the development of medical curriculum for clinical empathy training. Clinical empathy skills allow doctors to recognize a patient's emotional status and to respond to the patient's needs. Patients often identify empathy skills, ...

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Nonphysician providers are reporting healthier pay increases:

Doctors are increasingly squeezed by soaring costs and declining payments from insurers and Medicare. The slipping salaries came as primary-care physicians reported a 3.7 percent increase in gross charges, while specialists charged 2.3 percent more.

"Patients can expect to feel the pinch right along with practices as physicians in some specialties see more patients each day for incongruous pay," said William Jessee, ...

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What's the point of enjoying the scenic living if you're on call all the time?

Typical was what one primary care doctor who recently left for an out-of-state job and a 50 percent salary hike told Mundy: "I came here knowing I'd make less money, but I did it for the rural lifestyle. I never had time to enjoy the mountains. I'll leave, make a lot more more money and ...

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Physicians will respond to financial incentives. So clearly, this makes sense:

Patients seeking an appointment with a dermatologist to ask about a potentially cancerous mole have to wait substantially longer than those seeking Botox for wrinkles, says a study published online today by The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Researchers reported that dermatologists in 12 cities offered a typical wait of eight days for a ...

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Is UnitedHealth playing the ACP for a bunch of fools?

UnitedHealth Group is simply responding to the request by the ACP for a "new model" of primary care by giving them what they want. But you can put lipstick on a pig all day long and it's still a pig. Whether you call it medical home, pay for performance, or just plain managed care, as long as the big insurers ...

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So says the misinformed NY Times. Trust me, I have had many more than a "few hours" of training in diabetes. It is poorly-researched articles like these that push patients towards unnecessary specialist care.

There should be no reason why most cases of diabetes cannot be treated appropriately in a primary care setting - without a referral to an endocrinologist. (via Medpundit)

Teaming with UnitedHealth

Our primary care leaders gets in bed with UnitedHealth. Smart, or a deal with the devil?

The ER: One-stop shopping

Panda's back, and wonders why people with good insurance still go to the ER. The answer is simple:

So you see, Emergency Medicine is a victim of it's own success and, as Emergency Departments begin to look more and more like self-contained hospitals-within-hospitals complete with admitted patients (waiting for rooms, you understand) and even critical care patients being managed for most of the initial five or six hours in ...

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Is depression over-diagnosed?

Numerous articles suggest that depression is under-diagnosed in primary care.

This psychiatrist says otherwise:

Professor Gordon Parker claims the threshold for clinical depression is too low and risks treating normal emotional states as illness.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, he calls depression a "catch-all" diagnosis driven by clever marketing.

The "medical home"

Medpundit on the latest foray by our leaders to give primary care the respect it deserves:

In short, "medical home" is the newest craze in medical euphemisms. It's what used to be called a "primary care provider" in the heyday of HMO's. But the phrase "primary care provider" has gotten a little ambiguous what with retail clinics staffed by nurses claiming to be primary care providers and what not. ...

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