Home - Peter Ubel

On Health,
Bioethics, and
Behavioral Science

As a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University, my research and writing explore the quirks in human nature that influence our lives — the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect our health, our happiness, and the way our society functions.
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Sick To Debt

How Smarter Markets Lead To Better Care

ABOUT THE BOOK: The United States has the most expensive healthcare system in the world. While policy makers have argued over who is at fault for this, the system has been quietly moving toward high-deductible insurance plans that require patients to pay large amounts out of pocket before insurance kicks in. The idea behind this […]

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The Crushing Cost Of Tracking Healthcare Quality—One Hospital’s Story
Published Dec 14, 2023Featured Image For The Crushing Cost Of Tracking Healthcare Quality—One Hospital’s Story
A whole industry is devoted to measuring, tracking and even incentivizing the quality of American hospital care. Unfortunately, that industry is horribly inefficient, costing us billions of dollars. Quality measurement is inefficient in large part because there is no single source that hospitals (and provider systems, more generally) can use to track the quality of their care.
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Preventing Diabetes – What Medicare Administrators Could Learn From Shark Tank
Published Nov 10, 2023Featured Image For Preventing Diabetes – What Medicare Administrators Could Learn From Shark Tank
The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program is a lifesaver. Consisting of of at least 16 class sessions that provide practical training about healthy eating, physical activity, and other strategies for weight control, the Program reduces the chance that people at high risk for diabetes actually develop that life-threatening condition. However, the Program is floundering, with distressingly few people having access to or enrolling in the program. Could it be because Medicare administrators haven’t watched enough episodes of Shark Tank?
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Getting What You Want At The End Of Life – Lessons From A Dying Man
Published Oct 05, 2023Featured Image For Getting What You Want At The End Of Life – Lessons From A Dying Man
Many people die in ways, and even in locations, that go against their preferences. They don’t want to be put on ventilators and, yet, spend their last days in intensive care units tethered to breathing machines. They don’t want cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and, yet, receive full-on “codes” when their hearts stop. Much of this unwanted care could be avoided if patients (aka: “people”) discussed their treatment preferences with their clinicians.
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Spend Too Much On Your Medications? Help Is On The Way
Published Sep 19, 2023Featured Image For Spend Too Much On Your Medications? Help Is On The Way
How is a physician supposed to know which medicine is most affordable under which insurance plan? Fortunately, there are tools coming into use designed to help clinicians figure out patient-specific costs of any medication they prescribe. The tools (jargon alert!) are called RTBTs, for real-time benefit tools.
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