healthcare

Early on January 27, 2018, The Most Interesting Man in the World passed away at the age of 91.

No, I'm not speaking of Jonathan Goldsmith, the guy who just pretended to be The Most Interesting Man in the World. I'm speaking of the real deal, my grandfather, Dimitri Berezow -- a man who survived Stalin and Hitler, cheated death on multiple occasions, and went on to live the American dream.

His was an impossibly unique story – one that seems too extraordinary to be true (and yet is) -- capped with a cautionary tale about modern healthcare.

Living Free in Stalin's Russia

For many people, including my Ukrainian grandmother, life in the Soviet Union was hell. To break...

Value-based healthcare is the refrain for all the stakeholders, patients and their advocacy groups, physicians and their societies, payers both insurance and government. We must replace payment for volume or procedures with payment for value. As it turns out, like the blind men describing the elephant, what each stakeholder means by value varies tremendously. An online survey conducted by the University of Utah sheds light on our misaligned definitions of value. As they write,

 “… stakeholders have been talking past each other, not fully understanding each other’s perspectives, experiences, and concerns. We are often using the same key words to mean different things.”

Patients and physicians were...

Bad boys, bad boys 
What'cha gonna do?
What'cha gonna do when they come for you?

When the bad boys are pharmaceutical and health companies as well as a collection of physicians; and the “they” in “they come for you” is the Department of Justice (DOJ) the answer is, settle.

In 2017 two-thirds of their settlements, $2.4 billion, came from the health sector. But before we take a look at the bad boys themselves, remember, a settlement does not necessarily mean guilty. We also need to know a few legal definitions. 

  • Fraud is intentional deception of another person to that person’s detriment
  • Waste is “squandering resources or the use of resources without gain or advantage or incurring...

This year brought about a number of public discussions surrounding not only less mainstream medical conditions, but also physically and emotionally challenging and ethically complex ones. Disorders and illnesses that routinely get minimal light shed upon them made it into the news cycle. It is only via this attention that awareness for prevention opportunities, seeking early care or research discoveries and treatment advancement get pursued, even funded.

 

Here are ten of this year’s more intriguing medical cases that made the spotlight:

 

1.  Ovarian Tumors With Brain Tissue...

I had a wonderful time filming at CUNY-TV studios this week in New York City for Smith and Sabatino TV and Radio about the state of medical practice today. Interviewed by the show's hosts, multiple Emmy award-winning, legendary anchor Rolland Smith and broadcasting veteran Carl Sabatino, we had an engaging discussion that ranged from caring for loved ones afflicted with chronic disease, how to navigate the health care system and be your own powerful advocate to the ever burdensome electronic medical record.

To listen to the interview, click this link...

Here’s a novel approach, appreciate and value the physicians in actual practice and watch job satisfaction soar. But, since such a long game strategy for repairing an ever fragmenting healthcare system is not the current default position, don’t be so surprised that almost 1 in 5 U.S. physicians plan to reduce their clinical hours in the coming year and nearly 1 in 50 expect to leave the field entirely in the next 2 years to focus on a different career.

According to a recent report “Professional Satisfaction and the Career Plans of US Physicians” in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, multiple studies have demonstrated there is a strong...

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...