Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Getting Doctors And Patients On The Same Team: A Basketball Metaphor For Health Care

It is tough playing man-to-man when coaches on the sideline keep insisting your team plays zone.

Such is it with health care.

For doctors, the man-to-man defense never ends. Stay with them. Glue to them. Move with them. Run with them. Defend against the bounce pass, or the dribble to avoid the admission. Hands up! Watch their waist, ignore the head fake. You shift your coverage to accommodate their needs. One on one, mana-a-mano.

But for the business of medicine, it’s all about the zone. Defend the admission basket against as many people as possible with the least number of defenders. Stay in your position. Work it 2-1-2, 2-3, or if you’re really adventurous: 1-2-2. Stick to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Being An Entrepreneur In Health Care: How To Set Yourself Up For Success

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur in health care?

Twice in the last two weeks I had the honor of speaking at Northeastern University’s Health Sciences Entrepreneurs Program. It’s a terrific program, dedicated to fostering the creation of health care businesses by helping the people who build them figure out how to do it. That it exists is a testament to how strong the American spirit of entrepreneurship really is – and how the 21st century economic engine is going to be health care.

But the hundreds of students and alumni who attended the events already knew this. What they wanted to know were the answers to more practical questions – Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

Will A Tax On Breast Implants In The UK Drive People Away?

The British HM Revenue and Customs is planning to impose a tax on cosmetic surgeries by slapping VAT on any artificial enhancements and procedures. According to the new guidelines by the department responsible for collecting UK’s taxes, doctors performing more invasive procedures will have to register for VAT and pass the charge on to their patients. The guidelines suggest that patients having such cosmetic procedures will have to pay the tax unless they can persuade the doctor that the operation is being carried out for “therapeutic” reasons. Although the move is being considered to help plug the deficit in Britain’s public finances, but Fazel Fatah, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said that this could harm many patients.

The government in the UK seeks to hasten the movement of cosmetic surgery business out of the country it seems. That will likely be the effect of the planned extension of the VAT tax to cosmetic surgery. It is already less expensive for British citizens to leave the country for their cosmetic surgery. The care in most cases is not equivalent. The reason to consider it just got 20% more persuasive however. That is a huge tax!

Here in the US, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

Should Doctors Treat Their Patients Like Customers?

Customer or patient?

I can’t remember; are they patients or our customers?

Are our patients really customers? Are they clients? Does this term, borrowed from the business world, really hold water in the current climate of health care? I believe if you ask most practicing physicians and nurses, other than those in charge of administration of groups and hospitals, they would say that they have patients, not customers, and that the whole idea is driving them batty.

The customer service model is very popular. Entire lectures and conferences exist to enforce this enlightened way to view patient care. I understand the drive, to an extent. The people we see in our hospitals and emergency departments need to feel valued and need to feel we are competent and caring. This matters especially in highly competitive markets because the ones who are happy keep coming back. This also matters because people who feel valued may be less likely to sue us. There is some logic to the customer service world view.

Unfortunately, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

When Regular Medicine Doesn’t Pay: Doctors Turn To Cosmetic Work

This MSN article states that doctor-owned hospitals are on the rise. In California, the opposite is the case. The hospital business is a lousy business in which to be. I would rather open a surgical facility. I had an opportunity to be a part of a group that bought a hospital a few years ago and passed.

In California, real medicine is going into the toilet as doctors realize that the work they have put in to get educated makes practicing fairly unrewarding. Niche markets and gimmicks are replacing the conventional medical landscape. That’s the reason we have so many non-plastic surgeons turning to cosmetic work. The bottom line is that you need to pay doctors enough so they can make a decent living or they will find something else to do.

Sad but true.

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »