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Physician Organizes A Price List Of 56 Common Medical Tests

I am smacking myself on the forehead and saying, “Why didn’t I think of this?”  Dr. Richard Parker, Medical Director at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,  has sent out a list to his physician colleagues of 56 common medical tests and procedures.  What is revolutionary is that there are prices next to each item.  You non-physicians may be surprised to know that we doctors have no idea what the tests or drugs we order actually cost.  Unless we get billed as a patient, we are as clueless as you are.

As I wrote before, the ostrich excuse just won’t fly any more.  We all need to be aware of the cost of care and have skin in the game.  Some will argue that price can’t be the only driver.  I’ve heard physicians say you can’t compare one price to another because “quality” costs more.  I say prove it. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Three Common Ailments That Can Be Treated With Regular Exercise

It’s Wednesday, so I would like to tell you about some cool things I learned this past week about the science of how exercise can be used as a treatment for three common ailments.

First, some background about exercise: The great thing about exercising every day that you eat is that this magic potion is not a shot or a pill. It does not involve a doctor burning or squishing anything in your body. There are no HIPAA forms, no insurance pre-certifications, and not even a co-pay. It’s as we say, easy and free. And drum roll please…exercise is active—not passive.

Here’s the Mandrola take on how exercise might treat three specific medical conditions: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Back To School Tip: Your Child May Need A Comprehensive Eye Exam

Dori Carlson, O.D.

In a recent interview with the president of the American Optometric Association (AOA), Dr. Dori Carlson, I learned the surprising statistic that about 1 in 4 school age children have an undetected or undiagnosed vision problem. School vision screenings, while helpful, still miss more than 75% of these problems. And for those kids who are discovered to have a vision problem during a school screening, upwards of 40% receive no follow up after the diagnosis. Clearly, we need to do better at diagnosing and treating childhood visual deficits. My full conversation with Dr. Carlson can be listened to below:

Dr. Carlson told me that the solution involves Read more »

Interaction With A Patient Shows Physician A Major Transition In Medicine

Sometime around 1998 in the Texas Medical Center:

DrV: (enters exam room) Hey, How are you? I’m Bryan Vartabedian (extends hand).

Father: (arms crossed, smiling, leaning against wall) Oh I know who you are, Doc.  And I know where you went to school, where you’ve lived, if you’ve been sued and a few other things. And I’m fine, by the way.

DrV: Um, Okay. (Shakes hands with father. Looking to child, scruffing his hair).  And this must be Caleb.

An odd moment, for sure. When it happened I didn’t know what it was about. After similar encounters I understood.  It was about where patients found themselves in the early days of the information revolution.  And there was the father who wheeled into the exam room two large boxes of printouts perched on a dolly.  Inkjet validation of his role in the decision about his son’s surgery.

These situations illustrate Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Financial Concerns Are Not The Primary Barrier To Health Care In America

It’s not just about money – Americans Face Barriers to Health Care Beyond Cost.  A study released recently in Health Services Research found that while financial concerns prevent 18% of Americans from getting needed health care, more Americans – 21% – delay health care for nonfinancial reasons.  These barriers include getting to the doctor, getting a timely appointment and taking time out of other responsibilities.  Lead author Jeffrey Kullgren, M.D. adds what he believes is the crux of the issue: “We need to think about how to organize the existing resources we have in ways that are going to improve access to care.”

In Would You Lie to Your Own Doctor?, Connie Midey of The Arizona Republic reports on a common practice that can “compromise [doctors'] ability to diagnose and treat patients effectively.”  The reason? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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