If you want to repair a seriously broken healthcare system, the thinking goes, you need to get at the root of the problem. And chronic disease is one of the best places to start. Convince people to take the steps that can help prevent chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke and you’re on your way to a solution. There’s only one problem with that, argues Al Lewis. It’s a lot more complicated than they told you.
With frustrated physicians leaving primary care for higher ground in record numbers there are alarming signs that the primary care system as we know it may be about to implode. How can we encourage docs to stay in the primary care game? THCB contributor Dr. Leslie Kernisan has a controversial idea: limit the number of hours that physicians work each week.
Recent reports that oncologists are denying treatment to Medicare patients are probably just the tip of the iceberg, argues THCB contributing editor Michael Millenson. If past cuts are any guide, we’ll only know how bad things really are years from now, he writes. And that should be cause for real concern.
The current thinking is that new technologies, better information and a more scientific approach to the practice of medicine will let doctors do more than ever before, allowing them to leap tall buildings at a single bound, see record numbers of patients and improve their patient satisfaction scores. And that may well turn out to be true, argues the University of Virigina’s Jeff Goldsmith, but we’re still faced with a problem that is not going to go away until we come up with a solution: a shortage of living, breathing human beings with medical degrees going into primary care.
Forget the post IPO-backlash, Facebook is making a comeback. Marketers are in love with the idea of building Facebook pages for their clients. Cause-based groups like Facebook’s ability to take their ideas to audiences of millions and millions of potential supporters. But what is good for – say Dunkin Donuts or Southwest airlines may not be quite as good for human beings. You obsess for hours over your Facebook profile. Rate your day on your likes. Could all of this attention to your online existence possibly be bad for you in some way?
You actually thought reinventing healthcare was going to be easy? You thought all you were going to need were some cool ideas, better technologies and supportive patients? My friend, allow us to introduce you to the cold hard brick wall of reality. A couple of things you may have neglected to consider. What happens when your cool new technology doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to? What happens when the builder calls to say they’re a month behind schedule? It turns out that reinventing your world can be surprisingly stressful. A progress report from Rob Lamberts.
What will your doctor look like 50 years from now? We’re hearing some pretty futuristic answers. A robot? An algorithm? A warm and compassionate human being as capable of a group hug as coming up with a data-driven treatment plan? How can med schools and medical educators prepare students for an uncertain future? Jacob Scott, Ali Ansary, and Sandeep Kishore offer a little advice to get started.
Should insurers, pharma companies, health IT companies and others that benefit from the system help foot the bill for training the next generation of doctors? John Schumann argues one solution might help and might even improve strained relations between industry and doctors.
Earlier this month Walgreens became the latest retailer to announce that it will be opening in-store clinics where consumers will be able to find services that once upon a time could only be found at their local doctors office. Critics – including your aforementioned local doctor – are wondering about the impact on care. Other analysts see a logical response to the current system’s inefficiencies that might well reduce pressure on an overworked system. Ishani Ganguli, MD walks us through the story.
You’ve seen the chart so many times that your brain no longer even registers it when you see it. Red and blue squiggles trending to infinity. If you’ve opened a textbook or heard a presentation in the last ten years, you’ve seen the infamous health care costs growth chart. A fresh look by data statistician Frank de Libero suggests the messy red and blue squiggles on those charts we were looking at may have been misleading us.
Legislation before Congress could put open source software on equal footing with expensive proprietary systems. With government IT spending headed through the roof, the idea seems like a no-brainer. Why did it take so long? And will it really make a difference?
With critics in Washington demanding regulation of mHealth applications, many investors and some potential clients are taking a “we’ll-just-wait-and-see” approach. For progress to be made, Congress needs to step in and establish some good old fashioned certainty argues the mHealth Alliance’s Jonathan Spalter.
Guess what? It’s not rocket science. The key to building HIT applications that talk to each other may be a bit like working on the relationships in your real life, argues Rob Lamberts. The key to building better healthcare tools may be talking to the people they’re really meant to serve.
With Recovery Act funding for ONC set to expire in 2013, the department of Health and Human Services has proposed establishing user fees that would help foot the bill for Washington’s drive for health information technology. Predictably, opinion is divided. Would user fees hurt more than they help, as some critics charge? Or would they set the stage for a stronger, more independent health IT regulator?