Physician

Patient satisfaction scores improve when doctors sit

Patient satisfaction, as I wrote previously, is being increasingly focused upon.

Doctors are often pressed for time, and appear rushed — which can potentially lead to unhappy patients.

I saw this small study showing that the simple act of sitting down while talking to patients can have a profound effect. Many doctors I know already do this, but now there’s some data to support sitting.

According to the study, performed at …

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Primary care needs better physical exam skills

by Joseph Biundo, MD

Not long ago, primary care physician Rob Lamberts did a blog post about the economics of seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients, stating that doing so was bad business. While I agree with most of his points, I have a quarrel with his statement that primary care physicians keep down the cost of care by keeping people healthy, away from specialists, and out of the hospital.

That may be …

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Primary care is the loss leader of medicine

Medicare’s sustainable growth rate, or SGR, has been the bane of doctors for years now.

To encapsulate, this is the reason for Medicare’s annual threat to cut doctors’ fees by 20% or more, only to be staved off at the last minute.

Emergency physician Shadowfax has a nice take on it, explaining why it has devastated primary care:

Primary care has many fixed expenses in addition to those we bear: they pay …

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CRNA salaries surpass those of primary care doctors

I received several requests asking me to comment on this CNN story, “Some nurses paid more than family doctors.”

This isn’t really news, as CNRA salaries have been on a trajectory surpassing primary care physicians’ for a few years now. In fact, I wrote about it back in June of 2008.

According to the latest numbers, “Primary care doctors were offered an average base salary of $173,000 in …

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Tips for doctors who negotiate reimbursement rates with insurance companies

Originally published in HCPLive.com

by Ed Rabinowitz

When it comes to negotiating fees with health plans, practices and physicians have more leverage than they realize. The problem, says John Schmitt, a managed care expert with EthosPartners Healthcare Management Group, is that practices often don’t even try. “Groups negotiate an agreement with a payor and then, for whatever reason, just fi le it away. Most medical groups do not have a good, proactive …

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Physician burnout in the operating room and emergency department

It’s no secret that burnout is prevalent among primary care doctors, with 30 percent wanting the leave the field within five years.

It gets no better in other specialties.

I recently read that, frighteningly, almost 9 percent of surgeons admitted to a lapse in medical judgment within the past 3 months, in part due to the fact that nearly 40 percent admitted to burnout.

The author of that post, an emergency physician, …

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Op-ed: Humor can be healing for both doctors and patients

A version of this op-ed, co-written with Doug Farrago, was published on October 26th, 2009 in Medscape.

It’s tough to be a doctor these days. Whether it’s listening to the difficulties of our medical colleagues as they try to best care for their patients, or engaging other health professionals about the uncertainties surrounding health reform, we’ve noticed a tense, sometimes gloomy, atmosphere among physicians.

A recent survey from the Annals of Internal …

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Two nurses face jail time for reporting a doctor to the Texas Medical Board

There’s a disturbing case in Texas, involving two whistle-blowing nurses who reported a physician to the Texas Medical Board (TMB).

Apparently, they took offense at the physician who was peddling herbal medications in the emergency room, among other deeds. Unable to convince hospital administration to discipline him, they reported him to the Board.

And here’s where it gets disturbing.

Angered by the action, the physician then filed a criminal complaint, …

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Should doctors be paid to e-mail their patients?

by Michael Kirsch, MD

This is a less controversial issue than patients ‘friending’ their doctors on Facebook, which I oppose. Although most physicians’ offices are not e-mailing with patients, perhaps they should. There are several obvious advantages.

* Decompress phone lines, which are suffocating nearly every medical practice in America.

* Relieve patients of the cruel and unusual punishment of languishing on ‘hold’ listening to elevator music or dead air.

* Allow office staff …

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A doctor in Cuba becomes a nurse in the United States

When physicians in other countries come to the United States, they often become nurses or lab technicians, rather than re-taking rigorous board exams to remain doctors.

One example includes doctors from Cuba. According to this story in The New York Times, “6,000 medical professionals, many of them physicians, have left Cuba in the last six years.” Cuban doctors, who often earn $25 per month, find it significantly more …

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Robert Ricketson and the surgical screwdriver medical malpractice case: The medical records revisited

Robert Ricketson is a spine surgeon who was involved in a high profile 2003 medical malpractice case in Hawaii where a surgical screwdriver was implanted into a patient’s back. This is his account of the ordeal.

by Robert Ricketson

I am writing today out of frustration and anger, as I am frankly quite tired of passively going along as my name appears year after year in malicious “medical blogs” and …

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