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Latest Posts

Talk Therapy And The American Resident Project: How Can The Next Generation Of Physicians Improve The Healthcare System?

I have been an outspoken, and often times exasperated, patient advocate and student of healthcare reform. There is no doubt that the U.S. healthcare system is operating far below its potential in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and affordability. In fact, an entire industry of policy wonks and consultants have sprung up in both the public and private sectors – all with recommendations about how to “fix” our system. In my opinion, the most insightful suggestions will come from those who are currently doing the work of healthcare (i.e. clinicians) and change will be adopted and promoted most fervently by the young and freshly minted among them.

Medical students, residents, and physicians newly in practice now have a place to voice their opinions – The American Resident Project is an ambitious movement to promote fresh thinking from tomorrow’s physician-leaders. I am pleased to be supporting this effort here on my blog and in face-to-face meetings with fellows at medical centers across the country. I hope you’ll bookmark the website and join in the community conversation about how to innovate  in the midst of a broken system. This is more than a think-tank for change – the ideas and opinions of young doctors may be our best hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Stay tuned for some fresh ideas in the setting of some healthy talk therapy!

FDA Regulation May Squelch Development Of Some Medical Apps

We’ve been considering FDA oversight of medical apps for a while, over at Now, the public comment period has concluded on the FDA’s draft of how this oversight might look. The story:

The FDA will scrutinize medical apps that act as an accessory to a medical device and those that transform the mobile device into a medical device. A draft guidance issued by the FDA includes an extensive list of applications that will have to undergo review. Examples of apps that fall under the regulatory oversight are:

* Applications that allow the user to view medical images, such as digital mammography or digital images of potentially cancerous lesions on a mobile platform, and those that perform a health analysis or provide a diagnosis by trained health care professionals.

* Applications that allow the user to view patient-specific lab results.

* Applications that connect to a home use diagnostic medical device to collect historical data, or to receive, transmit, store, analyze, and display measurements from connected devices.

Great, right? The apps that do heavy lifting of patient information and connect to real medical devices get regulated, but the fun and educational apps I am working on remain free and open. Still, Harvey Castro, my favorite EM-doc-and-app-developer, was worried:

“Overall, I believe safety is the most important item when it comes to providing patient care,” said Harvey Castro, MD, an app developer ( and emergency physician. “Unfortunately, I believe this will hurt small businesses and entrepreneurs by making it cost-prohibitive to enter the market.”

“Applications will be dominated by a few companies capable of paying the high fees to get FDA approval. I will be saddened to see these changes in the future.”

For their part, the FDA said it’s nothing to worry about: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Blogborygmi*

The Transition From The Analog Physician To The Digital Physician

While most of us fail to see it, doctors are changing.  We’re changing as a result of the social and technological innovation.  In 2050 what we do and how we do it will be very different from what we did at the turn of the century.  We’re evolving from analog to digital. I think it’s important to consider the ‘digital physician’ as a concept worthy of attention.  The training and support of this emerging prototype has to meet its different needs and workflows. Perhaps the criteria by which we choose medical students should take into consideration the anticipated skill sets and demands of this next generation.  And we need hard information about the digital physician and her habits.

Here are some differences between the digital and analog physician:

The digital physician

  1. Information consumption is web-based
  2. Rarely uses a pen.  Care and correspondence is conducted through an EMR.
  3. Socially connected.  Comfortable with real time dialog at least on a peer-to-peer level.  Recognizes Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Solo Practice Vs. Integrated Health Systems: What’s Best For Primary Care Reform?

The buzzwords of cutting-edge primary care reform – the medical home, coordination of care, electronic health records – have usually been associated with large integrated health systems such as Intermountain Healthcare, Group Health, and Kaiser Permanente. If you believe the arguments that economies of scale and financial resources give such organizations built-in advantages over the traditional small group practice, you may be inclined to believe that solo practice is going the way of the dodo. Indeed, immediate past AAFP President Roland Goertz, MD, MBA penned an editorial a few months ago, “Helping Small Practices Survive Health System Change,” that, while touting some services that the Academy offers family physicians in these practices, betrayed a decidedly pessimistic outlook on their long-term future.

Not everyone agrees, however. In the September issue of the Journal of Family Practice, Jeff Susman, MD cast solo practices as vital engines of primary care innovation: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Common Sense Family Doctor*

Will Medicare’s Innovation Center Live Up To Its Name?

This question has to be asked, because health policy gurus are looking to the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (“the Innovation Center”), created by the Affordable Care Act, as being the principal driver of innovative delivery system reforms to “bend the cost curve”— but skeptics wonder if it can live up to its billing.

The Innovation Center’s website says all of the right things:

“The Innovation Center has the resources and flexibility to rapidly test innovative care and payment models and encourage widespread adoption of practices that deliver better health care at lower cost.

Our Mission: better care and better health at reduced costs through improvement. The Center will accomplish these goals by being a constructive and trustworthy partner in identifying, testing, and spreading new models of care and payment. We seek to provide: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*

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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