Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Nurses' Category

Machine learning and physician employement

An article by Ajay Agrawal and Avi Goldfarb (“The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence“) provide an interesting perspective on how machine learning will affect employment with a nice example from the health care sector. All human activities can be described by five high-level components: data, prediction, judgment, action, and outcomes. For example, a visit to the […]

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Are doctors and nurses to blame for high health care costs?

A study by Glied, Ma and Pearlstein (2015) says the answer is no. High worker wages are a reasonable place to start for explaining why US healthcare costs are so much higher than other countries as about half of healthcare spending is spent worker compensation. The study by Glied, Ma and Pearlstein does find that: […]

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How important is having a good nurse?

Perhaps unfairly, doctors get all the credit. When patients have better health outcomes, physicians are rewarded; when they have worse health outcomes, the physician is blamed. However, the quality of nurses also likely affects the quality of care that patients receive. A recent paper by Yakusheva, Lindrooth and Weiss (2014) finds that nurse quality does […]

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Why did Blue Sheild fail to pay for a home birth?

The Illenbergers wanted to have a home birth.  To do this, they contracted with a Licensed Midwife.  The birth was successful and the mother and baby are happy and healthy.  But Blue Shield of California refused to pay for any of the cost.  The cost of hiring the LM was $4500.  WebMD reports that a […]

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Will Nurses Steal Market Share from Physicians?

Currently, physicians are the dominant force in determining how health care is provided in the United States today.  Nurses, however, also play a vital role in the provision of health care services.  Although there are about 660,000 physicians in the U.S., there are 2.6 million registered nurses and another 750,000 LPNs. Leveraging the skills of […]

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Mandatory Nurse Staffing Ratios and Hospital Quality

At the turn of the century, California passed laws mandating minimum nurse-to-patient ratios.  These laws went into effect in 2004.   Initially, the nurse patient ratio was 1:6, but those ratios were decreased to 1:5 in 2005.  Do minimum nurse staffing laws increase the quality of medical care or do they simply increase costs and […]

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Should there be a mandated nurse/patient ratio in Nursing Home facilities?

A recent paper by Kitchener et al. (HSR 2008) investigates the actions of one nursing home chain to find how they maximized their profits. The authors find that Sun Healthcare Inc. employed three strategies to maximize shareholder value: rapid growth through debt-financed mergers; labor cost constraint through low nurse staffing levels; and a model of […]

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