Last week the New York Times reported that some health insurers have applied to regulatory agencies to push premiums sharply higher – usually double-digit increases, while citizens are suffering. This falls on top of the 11 year history reported last year by the Kaiser Family Foundation: wages and inflation are up ~40%, while health costs and worker contributions were up 138% and 159%:
No wonder we feel squeezed. (Last week’s announcement comes on top of this history.)
This has enormous human impact. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at e-Patients.net*
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*
I have an easy solution to a vexing problem in today’s healthcare crisis. A problem so widespread that it’s worth hundreds of words in the Wall Street Journal: Long wait times at the doctor’s office.
But first, before I give my simple, pragmatic, master-of-the-obvious solution, let me say something truthful: I try. I try really hard — to run on time, that is.
I’ve been there myself — a patient in a gown, in a cold room with only big pharma-sponsored propaganda on the walls to stare at.
At the risk of a sounding like a…blogger, let it be said that practicing quality medicine in the current luxury of technology is much more complicated than it used to be. Such complexity devours our most precious treasure: Time with the patient. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*
A recent article found that primary care doctors the United States are providing sub-standard care when it comes to colon cancer screening.
In the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers found that 25% of primary care doctors used in-office stool testing to screen for colon cancer. Specifically, doctors do a rectal exam and then swipe the rectal contents off their gloves onto a stool-testing card. A positive test result indicates the presence of blood, which can be invisible to the naked eye. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*