A few months back, while we were on vacation in Washington, D.C., my 17-year-old son Noah sustained an injury at 1:00 a.m. I was asleep, but this is usually a few hours earlier than he typically retires. In our hotel room’s bathroom, he dropped a glass and then managed to step in the wrong place. A sharp shard sliced through the soft skin between his great and second toes. Blood was spurting wildly and he woke me up with a shout. He was spooked.
We gastroenterologists are experienced at stanching bleeding, although I was uncertain how to do so without some kind of scope in my hand. I reflected on my ACLS training, which is a comprehensive 2 hour course that my partners and I take every 2 years. In between those sessions, I neither think about nor practice any advanced life saving procedures. It doesn’t seem rational that a community gastroenterologist should be schooled in temporary pacemakers, when most of us haven’t interpreted an EKG in decades.
I still remember the fundamentals of life support, the famed A, B, Cs, standing for airway, breathing and circulation. I decided to apply this to the hemorrhage at hand.
Airway: the windpipe was open and functioning
Breathing: the kid was breathing
After going through this brief but critical checklist, I now knew where to focus. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*
Seven months into 2011, things look very different than they did this time last year at my office. Not only have I been using an electronic medical record for nine months now, but I’ve also been submitting claims electronically (through a free clearinghouse) using an online practice management system. I’ve also begun scanning patients’ insurance cards into the computer, as well as converting all the paper insurance Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) into digital form. I’ve even scanned all my office bills and business paperwork and tossed all the actual paper into one big box. As of the first of the year I even stopped generating “daysheets” at the end of work each day. After all, with my new system I can always call up the information I want whenever I need it.
How did such a committed papyrophile get to this point? It is the culmination of a process that actually began last summer with the purchase of an adorable refurbished little desktop scanner from Woot ($79.99, retails for $199, such a deal!) The organizational software is useless for my purposes, but it does generate OCR PDFs, which makes copying and pasting ID numbers from insurance cards into wherever else they need to be a piece of proverbial cake. The first step was to start Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*
President Obama, where is your promise about transparency and accountability in Obamacare?
A major problem in the healthcare system is the lack of transparency and accountability. It has been unchecked for a very long time.
Both primary and secondary stakeholders act in their self-interest. These stakeholders have had ample opportunity to be non-transparent and non-accountable. All the stakeholders have abused the healthcare system.
I hit a nerve with my last blog “Patients And Physicians Must Control Costs”. Multiple readers responded with the usual comments:
“Patients are not smart enough to handle their own healthcare dollars.”
“Your basic idea makes sense, but in reality I doubt that a patient knows enough to make intelligent medical/financial decisions, because there are too many unknowns and variables.”
“Physicians over use the fee for service system in order to make more money.”
“If a physician tells a patient that there is only a 1/10,000 chance that an MRI will yield something useful, if the patient doesn’t have to pay for it, the patient wants the MRI.
Patients (consumers) must be taught and motivated to manage their own healthcare dollars. Patients’ choice Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*
Most doctors have a love/hate (and mainly hate) relationship with health insurance companies. We struggle with their confusing and complex coding rules in an effort to be reimbursed for our care of patients. When patients leave the office, they may think that a bill is sent to their insurance company and payment follows. More often than not it rarely happens that way.
I am staring at an explanation of benefits (EOB) from Blue Shield of California for a patient I saw for a physical exam and Pap test. This patient had recently been hospitalized with a life threatening throat infection and abscess and saw me for needed follow up. I spent about 45 minutes with the patient, reviewing the events leading to hospitalization, coordinating the medications, as well as addressing the routine screening and examination of a middle aged woman with some chronic health problems. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*