Maureen McKinney reports engaging patients in their care is often touted as a surefire way to control costs and reduce utilization of services, but new research calls that assumption into question. Armed with eight years of survey data from more than 20,000 patients, researchers from the University of Chicago argue that shared decisionmaking may actually result in increased inpatient spending and longer lengths of stay.
Health Differences Key to Variation in Medicare Costs: Analysis, 5-28-13, Modern HealthCare
Melanie Evans reports an analysis of the dramatic geographic variation in U.S. healthcare spending contends that the health of the patients—not what doctors and hospitals do—accounts for most of the differences.
Bringing Joy Back to Primary Care, 5-29-13, PhysBizTech
Madelyn Kearns reports in an industry landscape smoldering with burnout, the primary care physician is particularly susceptible to the coals of shortage. Such a fact was not lost on researchers behind a study which sets out to uncover innovations that would promote care of high function and quality whilst still preserving positive attitudes amongst PCPs.
The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill, 6-1-13, New York Times
Elisabeth Rosenthal reports whether directly from their wallets or through insurance policies, Americans pay more for almost every interaction with the medical system. They are typically prescribed more expensive procedures and tests than people in other countries, no matter if those nations operate a private or national health system.
Affordable Care Act’s Challenge: Getting Young Adults Enrolled, 6-2-13, LA Times
Anna Gorman reports as the clock ticks toward the 2014 launch of the Affordable Care Act, health leaders across the nation are embarking on a tough task: persuading young adults to enroll. Their participation will be critical to balance out older, sicker patients more likely to sign up for health insurance as soon as they are able.
House Republicans Focused on SGR Fix, 6-4-13, Modern HealthCare
Jessica Zigmond reports with a House panel discussing physician payment reforms on Wednesday, healthcare providers and industry groups remain hopeful that 2013 will be the year lawmakers repeal the troublesome formula the CMS uses to reimburse Medicare-participating doctors.
Nancy Shute reports smoking is expensive, and not just for the person buying the cigarettes. Employers are taking hard looks at the cost of employing smokers as they try to cut health insurance costs, with some refusing to hire people who say they smoke.
The Darkest Year of Medical School, 6-4-13, Slate Magazine
Danielle Ofri reports there is a darker side of this transition to clinical medicine. Many of the qualities that students entered medical school with—altruism, empathy, generosity of spirit, love of learning, high ethical standards—are eroded by the end of medical training. Newly minted doctors can begin their careers jaded, self-doubting, even embittered (not to mention six figures in debt).
Report Promotes Research on Gun Violence and Public Health, 6-6-13, Politico
Brett Norman reports the Institute of Medicine is recommending a national research agenda on gun violence that would tackle the issue from the same public health perspective that’s been applied to tobacco use and car accidents.