Category Archives: Medical Decision Making

Found: Billions of Wasted Medicare Dollars

It is well known that Medicare expenditures threaten the financial solvency of the U.S. government. And it is pretty well agreed upon that some of our Medicare spending goes towards wasteful medical care. But which medical care is wasteful and … Continue reading

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Genetic Testing Can’t Do Our Behavioral Dirty Work

Here is the opening of a recent media story, reporting on a noble attempt researchers made to promote colon cancer screening by telling people when their genetic risk of such cancer was elevated: People at average-risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) … Continue reading

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Outpatient Spending Is Catching Up To Hospital Expenditures

For decades now, policymakers have been trying to slow down the growth of healthcare costs. For much of this time, a large part of that effort was directed at hospital spending. American hospitals are extremely expensive, and take care of … Continue reading

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Here’s Why Funding Medical Education Helps Vulnerable Patients

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine in June (no one accused me of being a timely blogger!) shows that academic medical centers often provide poorly-reimbursed services that other healthcare institutions avoid. Where more general hospitals might avoid … Continue reading

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How Medicare Is Punishing Hospitals That Care For Poor People

Such a no-brainer: If patients who receive care at Hospital A are more likely to get readmitted to the hospital 10, 20 or 30 days after discharge than patients in Hospital B, then Hospital A must be doing something wrong. … Continue reading

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The Best-Selling Biologic Drugs

Biologic drugs are a big deal for the pharmaceutical industry right now. Blockbuster chemicals for common conditions like diabetes and hypertension are largely things of the past. We’re getting pretty good at controlling those conditions, and few people expect a … Continue reading

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Racial Disparities in Outcomes after Heart Attack Were Eliminated by Free Prescriptions

High costs make it hard for many patients to afford their medications. That’s why some medical experts believe we should give important medications to patients for free, to see if that improves their health outcomes. One famous example of this … Continue reading

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Could Pay-For-Performance Lead To Overuse Of Antibiotics?

Not long ago, the Joint Commission (a healthcare quality organization) established that patients with pneumonia should receive antibiotics within four hours of diagnosis. Timely diagnosis and treatment can be the difference between life and death in patients with this illness. … Continue reading

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Are Doctors Ready to Talk about Health Care Costs with Patients?

While I was on vacation, I spoke with reporter about a topic near and dear to my heart – importance of getting clinicians to talk about health care costs with their patients. The reporter put together a very nice piece … Continue reading

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How To Tell Someone That She Is Dying

Elizabeth’s breast cancer had already spread to her bones and was now invading lymph nodes in her right armpit, causing painful swelling that kept her up at night. Today, however, as she walked into her oncologist’s office, Elizabeth felt like … Continue reading

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