healthcare

In an effort to combat patient non-compliance with medications, the FDA just approved the first pill with an ingestible tracking sensor. But, will it be used for good or evil? The old proverb the road to hell is paved with good intentions comes to mind.

Improper medication use is a real problem, particularly in the realm of chronic disease. Medication mistakes outside of a healthcare facility are on the rise and resulting in serious outcomes—with home locations leading the pack. According to a new study that tracked unintentional therapeutic pharmaceutical errors and...

When it comes to seeking medical care, my focus is always on: Who is the best person for the job (replete with mounting evidence of good outcomes)? Which hospital is most familiar with the diagnosis at hand? Who has performed the most surgeries on that diagnosis in that particular field? Dealt with the most complex cases? Who has the most qualified team of highly trained support? Has the ringing endorsement of all staff from specialist colleagues to surgical nurses to anesthesiology to residents and so on. In other words, would the people in the know send their most cherished loved ones to them? 

Convenience would be low on my priority list. As would the beauty of the facility itself. Clean and sterile-seeming, out of concern for infection risks, would come to mind as important...

Once considered the heart and soul of the country, rural America is facing very difficult times. People are moving away, and towns are disappearing.

The lack of economic opportunities exacerbates the health problems that plague rural America. Poverty and despair play a role in drug addiction, which has manifested in recent years as an opioid epidemic. The death rate from overdoses of all drugs is highest in West Virginia: At 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people, the rate is more than 2.5 times the national average. It's probably no coincidence that West Virginia is one of the poorest states in the country.

Likewise, it is probably no coincidence that the...

As highest quality of care continues not to be the emphasis in the health care debate— let alone be on par with discussions around access, Canadian health systems remain in the spotlight. This time, multiple hospitals in southern Ontario shut their doors to the sickest of babies due to lack of beds for a 10% patient surge compared to the same time period last year.

According to Shawn Whatley, president of Ontario Medical Association, while pleading for increased funding, “These are our sickest patients. This is a reflection of our whole system. Our system...

Who among us hasn’t chuckled at a television prescription drug ad when it ventures into a litany of wide-ranging potential side effects like anal leakage to erections lasting more than four hours? Whether it be for depression, your heart or arthritic conditions, the major and minor adverse consequences of these advertised drugs often get promoted in ways that pose equivalent risk—this routinely does not reflect reality. 

With direct-to-consumer (DTC) ease of communication access today, product overstatements of health benefits with simultaneous minimization of possible harms has become the norm for such companies marketing to the public. The ability to do so wasn’t always the case. With such an evolution, for better or worse, has come cultural conflicts. And, now the...

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a 2014 U.S. District Court ruling that affirmed patients had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to their prescription records and mandated a court order be required before allowing federal agents the ability to obtain such data. With this decision, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not need to meet the standard of seeking a warrant based on probable cause and, instead, can routinely access such information.

This result is highly unfavorable to patient privacy rights and could significantly alter or impede their care— to be further addressed momentarily.

Basically, a program was created in 2009 as a means to...

Recently, I published an article More Bad News for Single Payer Health System detailing the reasons for a disastrous report recently generated out of London by the National Health Service (NHS) about poor quality of care for the sickest patients. Care that was deemed less than good for every four out of five cases with a climbing mortality rate of one in three all being attributed to sub-standard practices. (See here). (1)

Then, news came out from NHS England that the number of people waiting for routine surgery exceeded 4 million. The highest in a decade. The...

With information —bad, good and worse— overload from all media forms at all hours of the day and night, it is no surprise that public confidence in the medical realm is precipitously plummeting. So says a new report identifying that only 37% of the public trust evidence from medical research as opposed to 65% who prefer the experiences of friends and family. (1)

This latest work out of The Academy of Medical Sciences which, according to their website, is an “independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science” whose “mission is to advance biomedical and health...

Several years after the ACA ("Obamacare") passed, healthcare costs continue to rise in America. The question of why – and, perhaps more importantly, how much of these costs should be covered by the government – continue to spark intense political debate.

New research funded by the Gates Foundation and led by Joseph Dieleman of the University of Washington may shed some light on this issue. The researchers investigated global patterns of healthcare spending, and their results are published in The Lancet.

For their investigation, the team analyzed healthcare spending (which was adjusted for inflation and purchasing power) in 184 countries from 1995 to 2014. Then, they conducted regression analyses, with the general aim of making two broad determinations: (1) Given...

We have entered dangerous times in my beloved medical profession. Non-doctor health professionals, backed by powerful lobbies, are increasingly interested in the easing of certain practice restrictions. New titles like “clinician” or “advanced practitioner” or “provider” are masking a stark reality - people will be able to practice medicine without ever having to attend medical school, perform rigorous residencies or be comprehensively and extensively trained as physicians.

This is not to diminish the powerful benefits of nurses. Far from it. But nurses are not doctors and the people most likely to get medical treatment from people who are not doctors are among the poorest that health care reform was supposed to improve. We shouldn't cave into it. From an ethics perspective...