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Healthcare Economics: Employers Incentivize Healthy Lifestyles With Penalties And Rewards

How do companies curb health care costs?

Do healthier employees lead to increased productivity?  Several progressive companies believe so and have committed to providing employees with programs to help engage them in a healthier lifestyle.

As part of the incentives to lead a healthier lifestyle some employers have instituted a penalty and reward system tied to the companies’ benefits.  For example, smokers may incur a significant surcharge to the cost of their health insurance plan while nonsmokers could see a reduction in cost.

According to an article in The New York Times, a growing numbers of companies including Home Depot, PepsiCo, Safeway, Lowe’s and General Mills are seeking higher premiums from some workers who smoke, similar to Wal-Mart’s addition of a $2,000-a-year surcharge for some smokers.

Escalating health care costs Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Nurses And Physician Assistants Are Increasing Their Market Share Of Outpatient Medicine

The percentage of hospital outpatient department visits seen only by a physician assistant or advanced practice nurse rose from 10% to 15%, while the percentage of joint physician/nonphysician clinician visits remained at about 3%, health researchers found.

Among other findings in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report:
–About three-fourths of the more than 103 million hospital outpatient department visits in 2008-2009 were seen by a physician and 18% were seen by a physician assistant or advanced practice nurse;
–Among visits to a non-physician, 65% were seen by an advanced practice nurse and 35% were seen by a physician assistant;
–The percentage of outpatient department visits attended only by physicians declined from 77% in 2000-2001 to 72% in 2008-2009; and
–The percentage of visits not seen by a physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice nurse remained the same (10%).

Following previous trends, physician assistants or advanced practice nurses are the only provider for visits more often in rural areas, and with younger patients. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

Old Nursing School Photograph Portrays A Different Time In The Profession

I love old nursing photographs. Some of them are works of art. This photo from 1933 is an excellent example. The ladies posing in this photo are graduates of the Providence Hospital School of Nursing, Oakland, California. This striking photo chronicles the history of the nursing profession. These women were the original Angels of Mercy of the 20th Century.

It was a time of innocents, but even then, you had to be tough to make it as a nurse. It was a dismal time for nurses, and the beginning of the nursing shortage. According to a letter written by the ANA, through its Executive Committee and sent to hospital directors around the country back in 1933, nurses faced many challenges. There was an over abundance of nurses in the early 1930s. That meant that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

BlogWorld Expo Features Social Media In Health Care

Social media has changed the landscape in health care.  Social media is a powerful and phenomenal platform to help educate consumers, raise awareness of health issues and connect with consumers and colleagues.

Social media gives a voice to patients and consumers and it allows the conversation to get started with doctors and other health care professionals.  Social media is all about the patient and it paves the way for new modern medicine to emerge.

Tapping into technology allows for the real-time and immediate exchange of information.

Consumers and physicians tapping into social media networking

According to a study published by Pew Internet and American Life Project, 65% of adult internet users use social networking sites and 80% of internet users gather health information online.

In a recent study by QuantiaMD and Care Continuum Alliance, over 65% of physicians Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

National Nurses United Supports The Occupy Wall Street Movement

Lillian Wald was a famous nurse activist and writer. She’s my role model. Lillian stood up for the little guy by providing health care to the poor, and she advocated for social justice during the Gilded Age. For those of you who may not know, the Gilded Age was a time of great wealth for a fortunate few in America. You might call these people the original 1%. Wall Street bankers and robber barons were buying politicians and running amok while building vast fortunes off the backs of the working poor. Sound familiar? It’s funny how history has a way of repeating itself.

I believe that Lillian Wald, the founder of public health nursing, would support the Wall Street Occupation if she were alive today. Lillian didn’t wring her hands when someone needed help. She got her hands dirty. I bet she would be encamped with the protesters, caring for the sick and blogging about Occupy Wall Street events. Nurses working the frontlines at the Occupy Wall Street protest rallies report that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

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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