Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Guest Blog Post At KevinMD: Chronic Disease Is Driving Healthcare Costs

Many thanks to my fellow blogger KevinMD who offered to host me during my period of blog homelessness. In this post, I interview Dr. Ken Thorpe about the real driver of healthcare costs:

About 75% of what we spend on healthcare is associated with chronically ill patients. That’s about 1.6 trillion dollars per year. Chronic disease accounts for the biggest source of spending in the healthcare economy, and it’s also the fastest growing – as more and more people are living with chronic illnesses. If we’re really serious about getting to the bottom of the healthcare affordability crisis, we’ll have to first address the chronic disease issue…

For the rest of the post, please click here.

Guest Blog Post At Healthcare Law Blog: Straight Jackets For Everyone Over Age 65

Thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Bob Coffield for hosting me (during my homeless period) at the Healthcare Law Blog. Here is an excerpt of my post:

Today I viewed a TV ad sponsored by the AARP. It was promoting a remote alarm device that elderly people could use to notify EMS if they fall and need help. The ad featured a surprising statistic:
“One in three people over the age of 65 will fall down this year.”
That’s a pretty common occurrence, wouldn’t you say? It certainly argues for the need for those wearable alarm buttons.
But at the same time that these ads are running on television, Medicare is moving forward with their “never event” quality program. The initiative means that Medicare will not pay for the care of patients who experience a “never event” in a hospital – funding for that patient’s care will need to come out of the hospital’s budget. Medicare argues that they shouldn’t have to pay for medical errors such as “wrong side surgery.”
While I’m sympathetic to their perspective on wrong side surgery, the list of never events reaches far beyond the limits of medical errors to include things like mental status changes, infections and…
drum roll please . . .
To read the rest of the post, please click here.

Guest Blog Post At Dr. Wes’: Cardiologists Vs. Electrophysiologists

Thanks to Dr. Wes for hosting me during my recent period of blog homelessness. Please check out his excellent site – here’s my featured post:

It seems in cardiology, things are so tiny: tiny angioplasty balloons, itsy bitsy guidewires to snake down the smallest of coronary arteries. Heck most things they deal with are measured in millimeters: need I say more? Now electrophysiologists, well, I’ve already had my say.

But Dr. Val, today’s guest blogger who transitions from her old space at Dr. Val and The Voice of Reason at Revolution Health to her new site at Getting Better With Dr. Val, notes a new trend in medical marketing to these marvelous medics of the miniature:

Guest Blog Post At The Cost Of Healthcare Vs. Wall Street Bailout

I posted this at during my recent period of blog homelessness. Here’s an excerpt:

Sec. Tommy Thompson:

“SCHIP runs out in March, 2009. The new President will have to come up with a Medicare ‘fix it’ bill within 90 days of coming into office. I think that 2009 will be the biggest year in the transformation of healthcare that any of us have ever seen.”

For the rest of the post, click here.

Guest Blog Post At Disruptive Women In Healthcare

Thanks to the ladies at the Disruptive Women In Healthcare blog for hosting me during my period of homelessness. Here’s an excerpt from my post:

Of course, modifying behavior is the holy grail of medicine. We physicians wish that our patients would optimize their diet and exercise choices and become fully compliant partners in managing their chronic diseases. Unfortunately, fifty percent of patients forget to take their meds and over 30 percent don’t refill their prescriptions. Twenty percent say they don’t take the full course of treatment and fifty percent of patients don’t take drugs as directed. What’s a doc to do?…

To read the rest of the post, please click here.

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »