I have been in Hamburg, Germany for the past five days. I enjoyed an amazing opportunity to visit one of the world’s most respected heart rhythm labs. Among other things, the main purpose was to learn a new way to ablate atrial fibrillation.
It was an incredible learning experience, one for which I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the kind and generous people of Dr Karl-Heinz Kuck’s EP lab. Though these people are famous, they treated me as a respected colleague.
Details of all that I learned regarding this newly-approved ablation technique is a matter for future posts. Suffice it to say, I already feel like a better AF doctor.
For now, may I highlight a few of the more striking differences between Europe and the States, as noted by a Kentuckian on his first trip across the Atlantic? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*
Dr. Kent Bottles is in the midst of a very thoughtful multi-part blog post under the heading, “The Difficult Science Behind Becoming a Savvy Healthcare Consumer.”
Part I examined “the limitations of science in helping us make wise choices and decisions about our health.”
Part II explores “how we all have to change if we are to live wisely in a time of rapid transformation of the American healthcare system that everyone agrees needs to decrease per-capita cost and increase quality.”
Both parts so far have addressed important issues about news media coverage of healthcare. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*
I case you didn’t hear the news, the American healthcare system is in financial crisis. One of the biggest culprits indicted in this crises is “unnecessary care,” with estimates ranging from $500 to $650 billion (total spending estimate is $2.6 trillion) going toward things labeled “unnecessary.” Personally I think this is an underestimate, as it doesn’t take into account the some big-ticket items:
- Brand name drugs given when generics would do.
- Antibiotics given for viral infections (and the additional cost due to reactions and resistance).
- Unproven costly care considered “standard of care” (PSA testing, robotic surgery, coronary stents).
- The unnecessarily high price of drugs.
One of the main reasons I am an advocate of EMR is to measure and analyze care, eliminating that which is wasteful, futile, or even harmful. The biggest burden on our system is not the fact that we have a hyper-complex payment system that hides the true cost of care. The biggest burden is the wasteful care that this system agrees to pay for. In fact, I suspect that the main reason our system has become hyper-complex and covert in its spending is to hide this waste from prying eyes.
It sounds easy: Just eliminate costly unnecessary care and save the system. While you are at it, why not bring world peace, eliminate poverty, and make a detergent that cleans, softens, and deodorizes all at once? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*