Practice Management

Medicare Payments to Physicians Rise in 2013

Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans, paid physicians $90 billion in 2013, up 17% from $77 billion in 2012, U.S. healthcare officials reported earlier this month. Physician payments accounted for less than one-fifth of Medicare’s 2013 net outlays of $492 billion, which rose from $466 billion in 2012. Payments to… [Read More]

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Identifying Frequent Flyers Could Reduce Preventable Readmissions

The lead author of a new Journal of Hospital Medicine report says one step hospitalists can take toward reducing preventable rehospitalizations is identifying the common traits of frequently admitted patients. Marilyn Szekendi, PhD, RN, director of quality research at University Health System Consortium (UHC) in Chicago, says learning the characteristics that lead to frequent admissions—defined… [Read More]

Dr. Afsar

Physician Learns Lessons About Patient Care from Failure

“Are you comfortable talking to him about all this stuff?” my attending asked me casually. “Yeah, of course—sure,” I replied, trying to mimic the same casual tone. STOP! Hold on. What did I just agree to do? More than a decade later, I still feel the nervous tension in my stomach as I think about… [Read More]

Medical Care Overuse Causes Waste, Harm in Healthcare

Medical Care Overuse Causes Waste, Harm in Healthcare

A trickle of anecdotes has become a flood of cautionary tales. There’s one about the patient in intensive care who didn’t have a cardiac condition yet still had a troponin blood test on 26 consecutive days. Guidelines, of course, suggest that three tests in a 12- to 24-hour period are sufficient to diagnose or rule… [Read More]

Hospitalists Key to Champion Efforts Addressing Medical Device Alarm Fatigue

Hospitalists Key to Addressing Medical Device Alarm Fatigue

Beep! Bing! Buzz! Ding! Ring! Bleep! Everyday, throughout the day, hospitalists and other healthcare workers are inundated with alerts and warnings and notifications from medical and communication devices. The sheer number of alarms can be extremely overwhelming. “In any given unit, there may be hundreds of alarms per patient, per day,” says Ronald Wyatt, MD,… [Read More]

Healthcare’s Main Contributors to Wasteful Spending

Three studies, same conclusion. Three separate studies largely agreed that unnecessary care or overtreatment represents the top contributor to wasteful healthcare in the U.S. 1 Main contributors to $600 to $800 billion in annual healthcare waste 40% Unnecessary care (“Unwarranted treatment, such as the over-use of antibiotics and the use of diagnostic lab tests to protect… [Read More]

Healthcare Industry Agents of Change Promote Responsible Spending

1 Caring Wisely Program http://healthvalue.ucsf.edu/caring-wisely Started in 2012 within the division of hospital medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), the program sponsored or collaborated on six high-value care projects within its first year. “We don’t shy away from the fact that part of what we do is address cost, but it is… [Read More]

Standard Text Messaging for Smartphones Not HIPAA Compliant

Standard Text Messaging for Smartphones Not HIPAA Compliant

Doctors were the first to begin using pagers and, along with drug dealers, appear to be the last to give them up. But we really need to get rid of them. Sadly, for the foreseeable future, we will need a pager replacement, but, in the longer term, I’m hopeful that we can: Reduce the frequency… [Read More]

Consider ACO Participation As Medicare Weighs Changes to Shared Savings Program

In December 2014, nearly three years since its launch, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the first proposed rule changes to the Shared Savings Program. The changes, if approved, would take effect in the 2016 performance year and would focus on a host of alterations impacting participating accountable care organizations (ACOs), including… [Read More]

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Hospitals with Hotel-Like Amenities Don’t Improve Satisfaction Scores

Hospital design may not contribute to patients’ satisfaction with the care given by their hospital professionals, according to new research from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. Newly built hospitals often emphasize patient-centered features like reduced noise, natural light, visitor-friendly facilities, well-designed rooms, and hotel-like amenities, note the authors,… [Read More]