Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for May, 2016

Do physicians know whether patients are adherent?

Doctors have access to life saving medication for a number of illnesses.  However, the medication only works when patients take the drugs.  Are physicians able to determine which patients are adherent to their medication?  According to an article in JAMA Cardiology, the answer is ‘no’ for cardiology patients. Forty (61%) patients reported rarely or never […]

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Are expensive cancer drugs worth the money?

A paper by Sebastian Salas-Vega and Elias Mossialos attempts to answer this question looking at nine countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States) using data between 2004 and 2014.  They find that: All nine countries—most notably France and Japan—witnessed an improvement in neoplasm-related years of potential life lost, […]

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Our vets deserve better

The VA has been at the forefront of innovation in integrated care delivery.  ViSTA is the VA’s award winning IT system.  The VA has been aggresive in making sure veterans use generic drugs when these are available. Even if the VA provides high quality care, veterans are having increasing problems accessing this care. The issue […]

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Friday Links

The “nightmare superbug” Huckabee on the return of “death panels” Life after death. Breakfast debunked? Obamacare rate increases in NY

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Does comparison shopping work in health care?

According to a recent study in JAMA, the answer may be no.  High-deductible health plans aim to not only reduce the use of unnecessary services, but to make consumers more price sensitive and search for high quality, low priced care.  The latter goal, however, depends crucially on whether patients have access to information on accurate […]

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Can behavioral health interventions really reduce cancer rates by half?

This is the claim of a new article by Song and Giovannucci (2016) in JAMA, but I am skeptical.  Here is why.  The authors compare cancer incidence and mortality between a low and high risk group.  They defined a patient as low risk based on not smoking, no or moderate alcohol use, BMI between 18.5 […]

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Is balance billing a good thing?

Are health care prices set on an open market? Almost certainly not. In many cases, physician fees are set by insurers. Currently, for instance, Medicare sets fees for physicians administratively. At Medicare’s inception, however, Medicare did allow physicians to charge whatever fees they wanted; Medicare would pay a base rate and patients would be responsible […]

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Friday Links

Is there a quality footprint? Using polio to treat cancer? P4P for PCSK9s. Hospital ratings. Nutritional advice from around the world.

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HWR is up

Tinker Ready has posted Health Wonk Review: HIT, LGBT and ACA at Boston Health News.  Check it out!

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Tell me what you really think

I wrote last week about whether pay-for-performance (P4P) are doomed to fail.  One group of providers–physicians–certainly does not appreciate the current P4P programs instituted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  In a press release, the American Medical Association stated: …it appears that CMS has made significant improvements  by recasting the EHR Meaningful Use program and by […]

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