Cutting the waste
I’ve posted several times about the Choosing Wisely campaign.
Developed by Consumer Reports and the American Board of Internal Medicine, Choosing Wisely hopes to educate both physicians and patients, and cut back or eliminate unnecessary medical tests, procedures and treatments.
Over-testing and over-treatment are estimated to cost about $200 billion every year. I think that’s a conservative figure, as the financial—not to mention emotional—consequences of too much medicine can be difficult to quantify.
Bringing about change in our behemoth, for-profit healthcare system is a daunting task, and I’m always happy to see signs that it’s catching … Continue reading
How rudeness affects your healthcare
I just read an article in the New York Times by Perri Klass, MD: Rude Doctors, Rude Nurses, Rude Patients.
Rudeness all around!
Dr. Klass, a pediatrician, refers to a recent study published in a pediatric medical journal. The study looked at how rude or disparaging comments (by an actor playing the part of an infant’s mother) affect the performance of doctors and nurses.
The study’s conclusion?
Rudeness has robust, deleterious effects on the performance of medical teams. Moreover, exposure to rudeness debilitated the very collaborative mechanisms recognized as essential for patient care and
… Continue reading
“An American Sickness”
I love Elisabeth Rosenthal’s work.
She’s a medical journalist (an MD, but no longer practicing) who wrote a brilliant series of articles on the high cost of healthcare for the New York Times a few years ago.
Now she has a book on the same topic. Because, of course, our healthcare system with its punishing costs for services, drugs and insurance has not improved. If anything, it’s worse.
As a physician, Dr. Rosenthal has experienced first hand the perverse incentives—illness being more profitable than health, after all—and lack of price transparency in our healthcare system. Her book … Continue reading
A hospital puts profits over patient safety
First do no harm.
That’s part of every medical school graduate’s oath. It should be the motto of anyone working in healthcare.
But I just read a disheartening piece of investigative journalism in my local newspaper, the Seattle Times, about a hospital where I trained, worked, and received care. The story highlights how the perverse financial incentives in healthcare (do more, get paid more) undermine patient care and safety.
…the aggressive pursuit of more patients, more surgeries and more dollars has undermined Providence’s values — rooted in the nonprofit’s founding as a
… Continue reading
I just finished reading a really gripping and emotional story—Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by journalist Susannah Cahalan. (Soon to be a movie!)
As a twenty-something cub reporter in New York, Ms. Cahalan began experiencing strange, seemingly unconnected symptoms, such as forgetfulness, paranoia and the sensation that bugs were crawling on one side of her body.
The details of her weeks’ long medical journey—which she had to piece together from medical records, her parents’ journals, and the recollections of friends, doctors and nurses because she couldn’t remember most of it—are a pretty frightening look at today’s fragmented … Continue reading
Healthcare Not Fair is a satirical YouTube video series created by a real-life physician, Dr. Waqas Khan, to highlight problems within our broken healthcare system.
Their latest video takes a stab at electronic health records, EHR—or, as they call it, Electronic Hell Records!
Other videos by Healthcare Not Fair:
I just saw my primary care physician a few weeks ago, and I can relate to the fictional patient’s experience in the video. Receptionists really do keep their eyes glued to their computer screens!
My physician isn’t that bad, … Continue reading
An error of omission
A few weeks ago there was a lot of news about how medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.
A medical error is defined as “an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome.”
And now a Philadelphia paper is highlighting one very common mistake: when you and/or your doctor are not informed about a serious finding on a medical test.
The article explains that a well-known local musician (which is why this story is popular on … Continue reading
Hospital safety and medical mistakes
A friend forwarded an email to me. It was from a retirement blog he subscribes to, and this particular post was about what the writer, a doctor as well as a blogger, considers “The deadliest place you’re likely to visit this year…”
He’s talking about hospitals. And he’s not being overly dramatic, either.
He knows what many of us in health care know: hospitals can be dangerous to your health. One of my best friends is a physician. We have a pact that if either one of us has to go into the hospital, the … Continue reading
I just read a funny-not-funny post on the health care blog KevinMD: This doctor orders pregnancy tests on men. You’re probably doing it too
The author, a physician, laments that his hospital’s electronic health records system (EHR or EMR) makes it way too easy to make mistakes, such as ordering pregnancy tests on male patients.
Now this may sound funny to you, and I know the nurses love to read me the riot act when I do it, but truthfully this is no laughing matter.
As easy as it is to order a pregnancy test on a man, it is
… Continue reading
I recently read an article about a man who was taken to the ER in an ambulance for a sprained wrist.
And then he was astounded when the ambulance company charged him $250!
“If I wanted to go to the emergency room, I could have taken a cab costing less than $10,” he said.
Or Uber. Or a friend. He learned the expensive way that ambulances are costly—$250 is actually on the cheap end—and should not be used without good cause.
Ambulance costs can range anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to well over $2,000, depending on the length … Continue reading