Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Physicians

Physicians
The doctor is in ...

Until Death (or Recertification) Do Us Part

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By RICHARD DUSZAK, MD 

The online membership forum of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) blew up this week in response to an email announcement by the American Board of Radiology (ABR) that it will effectively be doing away with lifetime diagnostic radiology certificates for interventionalists whose original certificates pre-dated the introduction of time-limited certificates. Interventionalists were given two choices:

1.     You can keep your lifetime diagnostic certificate if you give up your (earned) interventional subspecialty certification, or

2.     You can keep your interventional certification, if you give up your lifetime diagnostic certification.

Talk about choice.

The Best Part Of The Health 2.0 Fall Conference Agenda

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There’s still time to secure your ticket before prices increase to this year’s Health 2.0 11th Annual Fall Conference. Whether you’re a Health Provider, Entrepreneur or Investor; the Fall Conference is the place to see the latest health technology, to hear from some of the influential innovators impacting the landscape, and to network with hundreds of health care decision makers. Click here for the full agenda.

Health Providers Agenda Highlights 
Entrepreneurs Agenda Highlights 
  • MarketConnect: A live matchmaking event designed to accelerate the health tech buying and selling process by curating meetings between pre-qualified healthcare executives and innovators.
  • Exhibit Hall: Gain access to 90+ exhibitors, including Startup Alley, is the premier gathering of innovative companies and individuals. The exhibit floor is also home to MarketConnect Live.
  • Developer Day: Expect your day to be filled with strong technical sessions in relation to interoperability and user testing as well as opportunities to network from others in the industry.
  • 2 CEOs and a President Session: Three top health tech executives sit down for separate intimate interviews with a journalist. They will be dishing on both their personal and company journeys.
Investors Agenda Highlights 
  • Investor Breakfast: Bringing together leaders in the Health 2.0 investment community and our innovative startup network for an exclusive breakfast meeting.
  • Investing in Health 2.0 Technologies: Panel experts will address what’s in store for the rest of the year and predict the next big bets in Silicon Valley and beyond.
  • Launch!: Ten brand new companies unveil their products for the very first time and the audience votes on the winner!
  • Traction!: Annual startup pitch competition that recruits companies ready for Series A in the $2-12M range. Teams will compete in two tracks, consumer-facing, and professional facing technologies.

Click here to register for the Annual Fall Conference! Prices increase after September 4th!

Parsely Health Interview & Job Ad!

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A little while back I caught up with former Health 2.0er Robin Berzin. (I first ran this video interview on Facebook). She’s a functional medicine doctor and now CEO of Parsley Health, a direct pay/concierge functional medicine clinic that also uses lots of new health tech. It’s operating in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Robin has an interesting model and is also looking for help. (And I’m running this ad for love not money!) Any MDs out there wanting to try a new route, see her blurb below the interview.

Parsley Health is hiring top primary care doctors at its centers in NYC, SF, and LA. At Parsley Health we practice whole-person Functional Primary Care focused on nutrition wellness and prevention along with advanced diagnostic testing. In addition we are building a groundbreaking new technology platform for primary care and offer both virtual and in-person services. If you are a physician and are looking to join a collaborative modern practice please visit our job description here or email your CV to [email protected]. Preference given to board-certified internal medicine and family medicine trained MDs with additional training in functional medicine. Additional clinical training available.

Kyruus “load balancing” health care — Julie Yoo Interview

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Continuing my interviews with various health tech players from HIMSS17, Julie Yoo MD may be one of the brightest people in health IT. She and her colleague Graham Gardner founded Kyruus to deal with one of the most complex problems in health care. The issue is the patient accessing the right doctor/provider, which is somewhat equivalent to getting everyone in the right plane to the right vacation (or in computer speak “load balancing“). While this sounds simple it’s a very complex issue with both a huge data problem (tracking which doctors are available and do what) and a rationalization issue (what patient needs what). Julie explains the problem and how Kyruus works with provider systems to fix it.

Homme Fatale

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Halfway through the “Bell Curve,” which is an analysis of differences in intelligence between races, I realized what had been bothering me about Charles Murray’s thesis. It wasn’t the accuracy of his analysis, which concerned me, too. It was that he analyzed. The truth, I used to believe, was always beautiful, whether it was what happened in the multiverse at T equals zero, or the historical counterfactual if Neville Chamberlain hadn’t signed the peace accord with Adolph Hitler. After reading Murray’s book, I realized that the truth can be irrelevant, ugly, and utterly useless. Even if the average intelligence of races was truly different, so what? Surely, civilized people must judge each other as individuals, regardless of the veracity of the statistical baggage of their ethnicities.

Murray was castigated, deservedly, for swallowing the bell curve uncritically. But his detractors missed one point. Murray wasn’t just wrong because he was factually wrong or for inquiring. In fact, it was worse, because Murray, it turned out, was wronger than wrong.

Two Nations Separated by 5.3 mm

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A popular meme is that the U.S. spends more on healthcare than other developed nations but has nothing to show for that spending. This is different from saying that the U.S. spends more, but achieves something, but the something it achieves is so little that it isn’t worth the public purse. The latter is difficult to assert because the asserter must then say how little is too little in regards to how much is spent, and why. It is easier believing the excess spending has no effect whatsoever, zilch in fact, because this absolves one from having to apply a value judgment on how much a life is worth. This meme, a convenient heuristic, like other convenient heuristics, is wrong.

A recent study looked at trends and outcomes in the management of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) in the U.S. and the U.K. An aneurysm, dilation of the aorta, is more likely to burst the bigger it gets. Aneurysms should be repaired before they rupture because the mortality of ruptured aneurysms can be 50 %. The study, which analyzed several databases that recorded surgery, size of aneurysms, and cause of death, found that Americans repair twice as many aneurysms as the Brits, and the repaired AAAs are smaller, on average, in the U.S. Between 2005-2012 elective AAA repair (i.e. repair of non-ruptured aneurysms) increased from 27 to 32 per 100, 000 in the U.K, and from 58 to 64 per 100, 000 in the U.S.

Precision Primary Prevention

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If you’re going to indulge in anticipatory medicine, it is best to anticipate those at highest risk. An elegant study by Wald et al in the NEJM shows how precision primary prevention can be done. The researchers screened toddlers, who presented routinely to their general practitioners for vaccinations, for an uncommon, but not rare, familial predisposition to high cholesterol known as heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), in which premature cardiovascular death can be deferred by statins and lifestyle changes. Blood drawn from the toddlers by a heel prick was tested for serum cholesterol and genetic mutations indicative of heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The parents of toddlers who met criteria for FH were also tested for cholesterol and genetic mutations. Obviously identifying affected parents, and increasing their longevity, is also beneficial for their children.

Practicing Physicians and Healthcare Reform: Population Health vs. Compensation Wealth

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In her August 14th 2016 interview with the LA Times regarding the ACA and value-based reimbursement, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell stated, …”and medical providers want this.1” After reading this article, I wondered for a moment if I am working in the same healthcare system as the Secretary.   Having spent a significant part of my 36-year career negotiating financial transactions with and/or on behalf of practicing physicians, I can unequivocally state that, unlike healthcare thought -leaders and policy wonks, a scant few practicing physicians are on board with population health management, value-based care and the “triple aim.”

It is essential to significantly improve the value of healthcare and it will require a lot of work by all.  Given the disconnect between the policy makers/‘thought- leaders’ and the nation’s practicing physicians, I am pretty sure we are not going to get very far.   Most practicing physicians consider the current movement to value based care/population health to be ineffective, expensive, bureaucratic interference with the practice of medicine.

Building Better Metrics: Invest in “Good” Primary Care and Get What You Pay For

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flying cadeuciiIn 1978, the Institute of Medicine published A Manpower Policy for Primary Health Care: Report of a Study (IOM, 1978) where they defined primary care as “integrated, accessible services by clinicians accountable for addressing a majority of heath care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community.” The four main features of “good” primary care based on this definition are: 1. First-contact access for new medical issues, 2. Long-term and patient (not disease)-focused care, 3. Comprehensive in scope for most medical issues, and 4. Care coordination when specialty referral is required.  These metrics ring as true today as they did many years ago.

Estimates suggest that a primary care physician would spend 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended acute, chronic, and preventive care for a panel of 2,500 patients.  An average workday of 8 hours extrapolates to an ideal panel of 909 patients; let us make it an even 1000 to simplify.  A primary care physician could easily meet acute, chronic, and preventative needs of 1000 patients, thereby improving access.  Our panels are much larger due to the shortage of available primary care physicians and poor reimbursement which keeps us enslaved.  Pay us what we are worth and then utilize this “first-access” metric to judge our “quality.”

How to Build Better Metrics: Focus on Physician Outcomes

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flying cadeuciiQuality measures began as tools to quantify the healthcare process, using outcomes, patient perceptions, and organizational structures associated with the provision of high-quality health care. Overall, the goals should focus on delivery of care that is effective, safe, efficient, and equitable.  Did you notice a particular word missing?  Yes, I missed the word physician too, because they have been left out of the conversation entirely.

Measuring quality healthcare by a patient lab result is like recording a patient’s temperature by waving the thermometer near their face.  One has little to do with the other except for the slight appearance of connection.  Quality must be measured by physician outcomes and not those of patients.  For instance, our county does not have fluorinated water.  Measuring the percentage of children that have cavities is a patient outcome and not an accurate reflection of medical care provided.  A physician outcome would be calculating the percentage of children who received a prescription for supplemental fluoride during their office visit.

If the intended goal is to reduce unnecessary ER visits, then we must determine the root cause.  Patients with private insurance rarely go to the ER for non-emergencies because they pay a large out-of-pocket cost.