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Why You Should Use Twitter: Instant Medical Crowdsourcing

I’ve been building a medical community on Twitter for years and now I have about 6000 followers including doctors, medical students, patients, medical librarians, scientists, etc. Whenever I have a question about my profession, PhD, or social media, generally I receive a valid and relevant answer in minutes. I don’t always know who might have the answer for my questions, that’s why it can be beneficial to put that into a large pot full of people with similar interests and wait for the answer. There is always someone with an answer or there is always someone in the communities of my community who might have the final solution.

That’s why I use Twitter for everyday communication, even though my main platform is my still blog.

It’s an honor to be included in the world’s top 10 medical Twitter users’ list. Last year, I was selected by The Independent and later my Twitter story was mentioned in the New York Times. Although, I publish the core content of my activities on my blog instead of Twitter, but now that is the place to track interesting medical stories. According to Peer Index, I’m the 6th in a list of 1000 medical Twitterers. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

Why Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) Will Not Solve Our Healthcare Cost Crisis

In 2009 President Obama stated that Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) were going to be pilot programs in real world settings. The goal was to see if they effective in reducing costs and increasing “quality of care.” The results of the pilot programs have not been published.

Last week despite the lack of proof of concept HHS and CMS announced new proposed regulations for ACOs.

The new delivery and payment model the agency estimates could serve up to 5 million Medicare beneficiaries through participating providers, and also potentially save the Medicare program as much as $960 million over three years.

How were these estimates derived? It could be another accounting  trick by President Obama’s administration.

The idea of coordinating care and developing systems of care is a great idea theoretically. From a practical standpoint, execution is very difficult.

I tried to execute something similar in 1996 with the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists; a national Independent Practice Association. AACECare received little cooperation or interest from Clinical Endocrinologists.

The problem is coordinated medical care is dependent on physicians cooperating and not competing with each other.  It also depends on  hospital systems developing an equitable partnership with physicians.

The equitable partnerships between hospital systems and physicians are difficult to achieve if past results are any indication of future results. Read more »

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

Is It A Crime To Help Illegal Immigrants Get Healthcare?

According to some state legislators, the answer is yes. Lawmakers in South Carolina are pushing legislation that would “make it illegal to transport immigrants anywhere, including a hospital” reports the New York Times. Fox News Phoenix reports that in Arizona, a bill has been introduced to “require hospitals, when admitting nonemergency cases, to confirm that a person seeking care is a U.S. citizen or in the country legally. In emergency cases where the patient isn’t here legally, the hospital would be required to call immigration authorities after the treatment is done. Hospitals in non-emergency situations would also be required to contact federal immigration authorities, but they would have more apparent discretion about whether to treat illegal immigrants.”

Such ill-advised efforts by states to criminalize health care for undocumented persons has led the American College of Physicians, the nation’s second largest physician organization, to speak out against “Any law that might require physicians to share confidential information, such as citizenship status to the authorities, that was gained through the patient–physician relationship conflicts with the ethical and professional duties of physicians.” ACP made this statement in a new position paper on immigrants’ access to health care released yesterday at its annual scientific meeting in San Diego, California. Read more »

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

ER Physicians Are The Number One User Of Mobile Apps

At iMedicalApps, we’re always wary of physician surveys that claim to predict mobile use. We even did a feature article highlighting how sampling bias could be inflating the numbers of many of these surveys.

With that said, Bulletin Healthcare just released a survey based on a large sample size of physicians, using the following methods:

The analysis, based on the reading habits of more than 550,000 healthcare providers, including more than 400,000 physicians who subscribe to Bulletin Healthcare’s daily email briefings, focused on mobile device usage between June 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011.

While the report went on to talk about the increased usage of mobile devices by physicians, with Apple continuing to dominate the market — the iPhone and iPad had a more than 90% share of physician use — we were more interested by the intriguing comparison of physician mobile use by speciality.

Their survey found that Emergency Medicine physicians and cardiologists were the highest users of mobile devices and content, while Pathologists and Oncologists were the lowest. Of note, the survey looked at specialists, not primary care. Emergency Medicine physicians had more than double the usage of mobile technology than Pathologists, 40% verse 16%. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Physicians And Hospitals Protect Their Turf With Patient-Safety Arguments

Prototype ‘BS’ meter.

So many folks express views that are obviously self-serving, but they try to masquerade them as altruistic positions that benefit some other constituency. These attempts usually fool no one, but yet these performances are common and ongoing. They are potent fertilizer for cynicism.

Teachers’ unions have been performing for us for decades. Their positions on charter schools, school vouchers, merit pay and the tenure system are clear examples of professional advocacy to protect teachers’ jobs and benefits; yet the stated reasons are to protect our kids. Yeah, right. While our kids are not receiving a top flight education, the public has gotten smart in a hurry on what’s really needed to reform our public educational system. This is why these unions are now retreating and regrouping, grudgingly ‘welcoming’ some reform proposals that have been on the table for decades. This was no epiphany on their part. They were exposed and vulnerable. They wisely sensed that the public lost faith in their arguments and was turning against them. Once the public walked away, or became adversaries, established and entrenched teachers’ union views and policies would be aggressively targeted. Those of us in the medical profession have learned the risk of alienating the public. Teachers have been smarter than we were.

The medical profession is full of ‘performances’ where the stated view is mere camouflage. For example, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*

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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