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Latest Posts

Which Patients Are Happiest With The Care They Receive?

Adults who received care from a medical home in 11 Westernized countries were less likely to report medical errors and were happier with their care, according to a new Commonwealth Fund international survey.

The 2011 survey included more than 18,000 ill adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It included people who reported they were in fair or poor health, had surgery or had been hospitalized in the past two years, or had received care for a serious or chronic illness, injury or disability in the past year. The vast majority had seen multiple physicians.

A medical home was defined as patients reporting a regular source of care that knows their medical history, is accessible and helps coordinate care received from other providers. Results were published in Health Affairs.

Sicker adults in the U.S. were the most likely to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

AHRQ: Healthcare Access And Racial Disparities Not Improving

According to American Medical News, the U.S. health system is demonstrating better performance on most measures of health care quality, but it’s failing to improve access to care or cut racial and ethnic health disparities, according to two reports released in February by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  “Quality of care continues to improve, but at a slow rate,” said Ernest Moy, MD, leader of the team at AHRQ that produced the reports.  ”In contrast to that, focusing on issues of access to care, not much has changed.  Focusing on disparities in care, not much changed…Those are bigger problem areas than overall quality of care.”  Measures related to hospital quality are showing the most improvement.  For example, in 2005, just 42% of patients with heart attacks received angioplasties within the recommended 90 minutes of arriving at the hospital.  That figure improved to 81% by 2008.

While the quality improvement indicators are encouraging, the disappointing access and disparities numbers are not very surprising.

The US health care system is still largely focused on acute hospital based care.  It says we are doing better at what we are doing. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at CFAH PPF Blog*

Confronting The “Empty Cradles” Of Infant Mortality

empty_cradles_logo.jpgI have gushed praise for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a long time. (Disclosure: I cut my teeth in journalism as a Journal Company employee way back in 1973. No ties since 1976.) As a mid-market newspaper facing all of the same hurdles as other newspapers, it consistently demonstrates tenacity and creativity in tackling vital healthcare issues in this country. The latest: A project called “Empty Cradles: Confronting Our Infant Mortality Crisis.”

While there is a great health/medicine/science team in place at the Journal Sentinel, I believe that much of the credit goes to the top — to editor Marty Kaiser, who clearly understands that healthcare issues are among the most important his paper can report on in serving public needs. Kaiser writes:

“The Journal Sentinel today takes on an issue we have too long ignored — the death of children before their first birthday. Infant mortality is a crisis not just of public health, but of ethics and morality. The rate at which infants die in our city is unacceptable. In 2011 we will examine the problem and point to solutions.”

The project is off to a great start, taking a global picture and focusing it locally. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Building A Hospital In Haiti

Partners in Health is building a state-of-the-art teaching medical facility in Mirebalais in Haiti’s underserved Central Plateau.

My niece Annie helped design the waste and water treatment systems of the project as part of her engineering internship with Northeastern University, and will be joining the Partners in Health group upon graduation. It’s so inspiring to see this wonderful project coming to fruition and to know that she’ll be part of it.

You can be part of it, too, by donating, volunteering or, like Annie, working for Partners in Health.

Partners in Health was founded by Dr. Paul Farmer and colleagues in 1987 to serve the poor in Haiti. Dr. Farmer’s story is the subject of Tracy Kidder’s new book “Mountains Beyond Mountains: One Doctor’s Quest to Heal the World.”

[Editor's note: Also see the NPR article "The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer."]

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

Can Mobile Phones Improve Health In Developing Countries?

Screen-shot-2010-11-05-at-10.16.57-AM.pngThe potential of mobile phones to improve health is most acutely visible in developing countries. iMedicalApps covered the recent mHealth Summit, where there were many inspiring demonstrations of how voice and simple text messages can have a profound effect on the health of those countries’ citizens. Jhpiego has successfully worked on these problems for three decades and was recently awarded a $100m grant. James Bon Tempo has extensive experience in this field and we are thrilled that he is sharing his insights with the readers of iMedicalApps.

This is a guest post from James BonTempo.


Mobile Health In Developing Countries

I am a user and an implementer of technology, not an inventor or developer, so my constraints, challenges and requirements are different than those of many attendees of the recent mHealth Summit. And for others like me who work in international aid and development, mobile technology is simply a tool, and one of many in a large toolbox that includes various best practices and proven approaches. At Jhpiego (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University), we have piloted a number of different mobile interventions — from simple SMS to Java & smartphone-based applications — but the challenge for us is to identify the most appropriate technologies, the tools that will help us to strengthen health systems in limited resource settings most effectively and most efficiently. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

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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