Category Archives: Medical Decision Making

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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Don't Cry for Me, Doctor Tina?

Okay, worst blog post title of the year. But just trying to grab your attention and point you towards a nice USA Today article on doctors and emotional intelligence. “Tamir Mosharrafa, a plastic surgeon in Phoenix, recalls the 20-something woman … Continue reading

Posted in Medical Decision Making

If Costs Are Unknown, Can Doctors Still Talk About Them?

I have been writing a bit lately on the need for healthcare providers to talk with their patients about healthcare costs, if for no other reason than to enable patients to determine whether they can afford to pay for the healthcare that … Continue reading

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Unnecessary Mastectomies Following Breast Cancer Diagnoses?

I spoke the other day to Melissa Dahl, a writer for New York Magazine. She wrote a really nice piece on what medical professionals call “contralateral prophylactic mastectomy” – when a woman with breast cancer chooses not only to remove … Continue reading

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Orthopedic Surgeons Get "F" Grade On Knowing Cost Of The Devices They Implant

A new study asks Orthopedic surgeons to guess the price of the devices they implant – “the amount your institution currently pays the vendor for the implant.” Despite a lenient grading system, in which the researchers counted as correct any … Continue reading

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Want narcotics just ask for them?

A very disturbing new study was just published, in which physicians viewed a video of a patient with back pain asking for OxyContin. Twenty percent of docs said they would prescribe that med under that circumstance: …Too often, doctors prescribe … Continue reading

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