Author Archives | Richard

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The Stupidity Continues!!!

March 24, 2017


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If our old buddy Pamela Wible’s headline and graphic, above, don’t tell you all that you need to know on the topic, read on. What you will see here is a compilation of horror stories from doctors that make the point, rather vividly, that sleep-deprived doctors can be deadly weapons rather than healers.

Bottom Line. I don’t have much to add here. The stories speak for themselves.  Just two quick thoughts. First, at a personal level, we might like to ask physicians about to treat us or our loved ones how long they have been on shift. Second, at a professional level, we might like to use these stories as a reason to temper our strategic marketing programs aimed at young doctors to establish their habits and loyalties early in their careers. Problem. They might be too asleep to pay much attention!

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The Most “Empathetic” Companies

March 23, 2017


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Some interesting stuff here. Check it out! What you will find is a list of the 2016 “Most Empathetic Companies.” Important is the definition of empathy, which here is described in terms of understanding your emotional impact on others AND making changes as a result. Nice!

That Facebook tops the list is not surprising. Empathy has been their stock and trade, and they work hard at it. What is surprising, and frankly rather disappointing, is the tiny number of health care, pharmaceutical, etc. companies that make the cut.

Bottom Line. I sense an opportunity here. I bet you could build a nice business by developing an understanding of how the companies on this list practice empathy, then running seminars, research programs, etc. aimed at helping companies not on the 2016 list make it for 2017!

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What Hospitals Waste

March 22, 2017


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Ever work in a hospital? A big hospital? I have, so this article from our old buddies at ProPublica really doesn’t surprise me all that much. It describes the practice of hospitals throwing away millions of dollars of perfectly good medical equipment for “safety reasons” (???).

It also describes millions of dollars in medical equipment being stolen each year, only to appear for sale on eBay.

The only good news here is that organizations such as Partners for World Health are springing up to grab a lot of this equipment and send it to parts of the world where it is desperately needed.

Bottom Line. Is a key first step in the direction of reducing healthcare costs the elimination of flagrant waste? A 2012 estimate pegged the “squandering” in health care at $765 BILLION!!! More than the entire budget of the Defense Department.

Maybe the right place to start reducing healthcare costs is not in the reduction of EpiPen prices after all!!!

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March 21, 2017


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Frankly, I had never heard of Glassdoor. But then again, I am not exactly looking for a job. BUT. If you are, it would be quite valuable to access their list of top paying professions. You can check it out here. What you will find is that physicians top the list at $187,876 base salary per annum. I am guessing you are not surprised. Pharmacy Managers are also doing quite well, as are Physician Assistants. AND. For the first time, Nurse Practitioners made it to the list at $104,144. Several other health care professionals are also up there.

Bottom Line. In an era that increasingly bemoans the passing of the “good old days” in the healthcare professions, it is refreshing to know that professionals in the healthcare vertical are still making out quite well in comparison with the rest of the world. 

 And well they should!!!

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Smart Phones And Clinical Trials

March 20, 2017


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Read this article. What you will see is a very smart company that has carved out a niche, and apparently a large niche, by integrating smart phones into clinical trials. They begin with the process shown in their graphic, above. Patients who respond to a call to action by texting are screened and enrolled if qualified. Neat!

It gets even better. They are now following up this first phase by using smart phones to keep subjects informed and engaged in the trial once they are enrolled. Patients often fall by the wayside over the course of a protracted clinical trial. Ongoing communications from the Clinical Research Organization (CRO) via smartphone can significantly reduce this expensive attrition.

Bottom Line. Clever. This is not just a good use of technology. It is also clever business strategy. The founding entrepreneurs realized that they were not going to be able to sell their services efficiently directly to pharma. Busy decision makers don’t see guys from start-ups. So, they hooked up with CRO’s and sold their services in conjunction with them.

Synergy! Win-Win!! All good!!!

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States With The Highest And Lowest Paid Doctors???

March 17, 2017


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Go here to see a ranking of the 50 States in terms of average physician salary.

Bottom Line. Why would you care? I am guessing that you are not a physician looking for a State in which to practice. BUT. There are broader questions underlying these dollar amounts. Things like why the discrepancy? And no, it’s not cost of living. And what do these different compensation levels mean for the kinds (?) of physicians that wind up being attracted to practice in these states, etc.

Interesting stuff!

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The Measured Man

March 16, 2017


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Check out this article that describes how a new approach to collecting and analyzing medical information can foreshadow the digital transformation of medicine.

Bottom Line. As I read this article, I compared the approach described herein with my own medical care. Although I am on several different medications for the treatment of mercifully non-life threatening chronic conditions, I get my blood work to check the levels of these meds every 4 months, providing my doctor with far less data than the 100 biomarkers that Larry has drawn regularly. What additional insights could be reached by measuring broader datasets and collecting data more frequently? Look for insights in “quantified health” to emerge in the near future that will answer these and other questions.

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Payers In The Future…

March 15, 2017


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Check out this story. What you will find are the results of a PWC survey of more than 100 health insurance executives. The topic? What will the payers of the future need to look like. The big piece here is that in the future, insurance companies will need to work with providers rather than abusing them. Collaboration in such areas as data sharing, for example, might help to break down the silos that currently exist and the current tendency for payers to abuse, rather than please, practitioners.

Bottom Line. I’m guessing that these executives have this spot on. How many stories have you heard about the aggravation that practitioners must go through in dealing with payers, and the negative impact all of this has on patient care.

 Amazing that this shameful state of affairs has been allowed to exist this long. Unlikely that this nonsense will continue much further into the future!

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Management Training At Harvard…Not The Business School, The Medical School!

March 14, 2017


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Take a look at this. What you will see is a precis for a course that Harvard is offering to train Primary Care Physicians to deal with changes in the healthcare environment. Not much to read today. Just a little verbiage to ponder.

Bottom Line. Question. Given all of the other “stuff” that PCP’s need to keep up with, how much of their time should be dedicated to such managerial matters? Tough question. Too little focus on understanding these issues and the doctor goes bankrupt. Too much business focus and the doctor balls behind in continuing medical education in the traditional sense of the term.

Relatedly. Should all PCP’s attend such courses, or should there be a select group of opinion leaders who go to Harvard for the case work, learn their managerial lessons and then return to their practices to impart this information to their colleagues who stayed at home?

Think about it!

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Why Do We All Want To Die???

March 13, 2017

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That is the question posed, and elucidated, in this blog post from the Psychiatrist pictured above. Read the post at two levels. First, ponder the causes of suicidal ideation and think of the extent to which these causes are increasingly ubiquitous. Feelings of global unrest, absence of belonging, etc. Quite unfortunate, actually!!!

Second, ponder the notion that this Psychiatrist is dealing with suicidal ideation with tele-psychiatry. As I read his musings on the topic, I thought about the fact that the good news here is that I would guess that the vast majority of the patients who come to him digitally would never have gotten to the bricks and mortar office of a shrink in the old days.

All good.

Well, not quite all good. You might note that the doctor is one busy dude, often having a backlog of patients waiting for a consult. Sad if a patient does the deed while waiting to be seen!

Bottom Line. One of my favorite truisms has always been la plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. The more things change, the more they remain the same. But not this time, folks. In this one blog post we see a rather accurate and devastating description of changes in the world that are making us all, yes all, more prone to suicide. AND. You see the blossoming of tele-psychiatry to help us to deal with these and other mental health issues. Yup! In 2017, things really are different!

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