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Latest Posts

Physician-Owned Hospitals: Preventive Medicine Instead?

With the new healthcare reform bill signed into law, the fate of physician-owned hospitals was sealed:

The bill Congress passed in March includes a ban on new physician-owned hospitals and freezes those already in business at their present size. Doctors hold a one-third interest in Avera Heart, which opened in 2001, so the bill President Obama signed would prevent that facility from ever growing.

The law change, in effect, leaves expansion of treatment of cardiovascular disease open for Sanford to dominate locally in coming years — if in fact that field of medicine grows. Avera Heart says such growth is not a given, because people are living healthier and have less need for emergency care. (Argus Leader)

While it’s easy to point to the potential conflict of interest inherent to physician-owned medical facilities, it’s not so easy to demonstrate that non-physician-owned hospitals don’t have similar conflicts with generating profits. After all, continuing to build large $78 million expansions requires hospitals of any kind to achieve a return on their investment in order to continue operations. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Overheard From A Breast Oncologist

slimsmokes10241KFC and Komen? “Why don’t they just put a pink ribbon on a pack of cigarettes?”

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

Cancer Pathology: Are Lab Tests Always Right?

The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog says that cancer lab tests “aren’t always right.” They report on reports issued by two professional societies that point out that as many as 20% of a certain kind of test are inaccurate. According to the Health Blog the problem is the tests “aren’t black and white, and rely on a pathologist’s judgment.”

Now, judgment is a critical factor in most everything in medicine, but perhaps nowhere else are the consequences of incorrect judgment so serious as in pathology. As Dr. William Osler famously observed: “As is your pathology, so goes your clinical practice.” But how widespread is this problem? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

No End In Sight For Prostate Cancer Screening

Is the tide finally turning on PSA screening for prostate cancer? There’s no definitive data that PSA screening saves lives from prostate cancer, and it indeed can lead to further, invasive, tests that can cause men significant discomfort. Medical societies are divided on the issue. Primary care groups like the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend against it for older men, while the American Urological Association (AUA) continues to recommend screening.

In a strongly worded op-ed in the New York Times, Richard Ablin, also known as the founder of the PSA test, bemoans how our healthcare system has twisted its use. “The test’s popularity has led to a hugely expensive public health disaster,” he writes. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

New Video Game-Based Fitness Devices

Electronic Arts, the video game development company, has announced its next generation of fitness tools. Following up on its popular EA SPORTS Active product line, the release scheduled for this fall should include a heart rate monitor, arm and leg accelerometers, and an online program to track and share one’s workouts. The name for the new system has yet to be finalized, so for now EA just tacked on a “2.0” to the end of the current name. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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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