Category Archives: Uncategorized

Out of Control Physicians: Too Many Doctors Doing Too Many Things to Too Many Patients

My father is 92 years old, and I am beginning to wonder whether the best thing for his health would be to stay away from doctors. That’s because well intentioned physicians often expose their elderly patients to harmful and unnecessary … Continue reading

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What Behavioral Economics Get Wrong About Improving Healthcare

It is notoriously difficult to change physician behavior. When it’s discovered that primary care physicians are, say, prescribing too few cholesterol pills or too many antibiotics, it will not be easy to change those behaviors. Physicians are strong-willed people, with … Continue reading

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Nice Coverage of Our Robot Study

My student and colleague, Karen Scherr, recently published an excellent article showing that physicians don’t always describe robotic surgery in an unbiased manner. Here is a nice write up of that work: Author Peter Ubel referred to a study done … Continue reading

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Three Things to Know about Future Healthcare Spending

For my entire life, a half century and counting, healthcare spending in the U.S. has almost always risen faster than inflation. Sometimes it’s relatively slow, sometimes it’s relatively fast, but no matter the time, healthcare spending is climbing. Getting healthcare … Continue reading

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Industry Shenanigans?

I know, I know: correlation does not mean causation. But it is still suspicious that when industry employees join as co-authors in medical journals, the randomized trials they are writing about are more likely to show positive results – results … Continue reading

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How Supermarkets Influence Shoppers

Here is a great graphic from the Center for Science in the Public Interest laying out how supermarkets lay out food to encourage impulse purchases: So much for “free” markets!    

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The Healthcare Efficiency Myth – What Really Happens When Doctors And Hospitals Join Forces

For much of the history of U.S. medical care, hospitals and physicians have existed as separate financial entities. Physicians in the U.S. have typically been self-employed, as solo or group practitioners and not as hospital employees. An internist like me … Continue reading

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Single-Payer Health Care: Love It, Hate It, Love It, Hate It…

One reason our healthcare system in the United States is so messed up is that so few Americans understand much about it. For that reason, their attitudes towards various healthcare reform proposals veer left and right depending on how they … Continue reading

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Guess Who Is Struggling to Pay Their Medical Bills!

Here is a picture from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing which Americans were most likely to report problems paying medical bills last year. The sad news is that just about any way you divide it, a hell of a lot … Continue reading

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Doctors Can’t Be Trusted to Tell Patients Whether They Should Receive Robotic Surgery

Patients often rely on physicians for information about their treatment alternatives. Unfortunately, that information is not always objective. Consider a man with early stage prostate cancer interested in surgical removal of his tumor, but uncertain whether it is better for … Continue reading

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