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Latest Posts

Do-It-Yourself Lab Testing

Traditionally, people get blood tests when their doctor recommends it, an event that usually occurs at the conclusion of an office visit. But nowadays, patients are deciding to get lab tests on their own.

Their reasons vary. Some want to keep track of cholesterol or hemoglobin A1C levels. Others want to assure their blood will test negative prior to a job search, to test for the presence of a disease like hepatitis C or AIDS, or obtain a chemistry panel that provides a broad picture of their overall health.

The biggest reason for consumer-directed lab testing however, is an economic one. Growing numbers of uninsured people, and those with high-deductible insurance plans find it cheaper to do-it-themselves, since it avoids the cost of an office visit.

The savings can add up. A lipid profile (including cholesterol levels) obtained from an online lab testing company costs about $40. A hemoglobin A1C test usually runs a bit less. A visit to the doctor’s office typically costs $150 or more.

Although hundreds of tests can be obtained in this manner, the most commonly sought-after tests are lipid profiles, C-reactive protein (a new measure of cardiac risk), liver and kidney function tests, vitamin D levels, and hormone levels including estrogens and testosterone. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

About Scar Prevention And Treatment

I saw a Scarguard product on sale at a drugstore locally. The claims on the packaging were over the top as usual:

1. “Guards against new scars forming” – Difficult to prove.

2. “Flattens and shrinks old scars” – Not really.

3. “Scarguard is the #1 choice of plastic surgeons” – Really? Nobody asked me.

Scar treatment is pretty simple. Avoid wounding if you can. If you have plastic surgery, seek a skilled surgeon who will spend the time to do the best. After surgery avoid sunlight and smoking, and consider scar massage as directed by your surgeon. This “Scarguard” product is not going to make a bad scar much better unless it is applied early, and even then the results are debatable.

- John Di Saia, M.D.

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

Healthcare Reform: Motivating Self-Responsibility In Patients

Last week I heard a lecture about Accountable Care Organizations by a physician leader working for one of the major hospital systems. His discussion made me realize that large physician organizations and hospitals are spending lots of time solving problems of quality medical care. In my opinion quality medical care has not been adequately defined.

A working definition right now is to decrease hospital stays, efficient medical care for a disease at lower cost, avoidance of medical errors in the hospital, and avoidance of hospital acquired infections. These are important goals. They must be attached to monetary incentives. Many of these problems can be solved now.

The solution demands the development of processes of care. An important question is how much money will process improvement save? I estimate that this process improvement could save an estimated 7 to 10% of the healthcare dollar.

The real question should be focused on how to repair the healthcare system by decreasing costs while improving the health of Americans. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

Medical Conventions: More Focus On Patients Needed

Andrew Schorr, host and founder of Patient Power, discusses the hope of changing the focus from products to patients at medical conventions.

Shifting the Focus to Patients at Medical Conventions from Patient Power® on Vimeo.

*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*

Why Creating Healthcare “Consumers” Won’t Work

I [recently] gave a speech at the Midwest Business Group on Health’s (MBGH) 30th Annual Conference. The MBGH is one of the country’s leading organizations on healthcare, and its members include the leading innovators and thought leaders on healthcare in America. It was a privilege to present to them.

I spoke about why healthcare just isn’t a consumer business in spite of all of the effort to turn people into healthcare “consumers.”

At Best Doctors, we have a closeup view of what happens to people when they try to find their way through the healthcare system. It’s not a pleasant picture. Healthcare consumers –- if you can call them that –- are often lost, confused, frustrated, alone. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First 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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