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Medical errors: 5 system-wide changes that can prevent patient harm

May 19th, 2016

by Ilene MacDonald

Despite controversy over the definition of medical errors used in a new study that finds these mistakes lead to 10 percent of deaths in the United States each year, it's clear that the industry has to do something to catch and prevent these errors.

As many as 250,000 deaths occur each year due to a medical mistake, according to The BMJ study, confirming previous research from 2013. That's roughly 685 people a day.

I can't imagine that we'd turn a blind eye to these statistics if that many people died each day in plane crashes.

But it looks like the industry and the media are finally paying attention.

>>Read the full commentary at FierceHealthcare

An uber for healthcare: Seems logical, but not so simple

May 12th, 2016

by Kent Bottles

It sounds so easy and logical. Uber disrupted the inefficient and poorly run taxi system. The Uber model should be able to successfully disrupt the inefficient and dysfunctional American healthcare system.

In a blog post titled “An Uber for healthcare is closer than you think,” Davis Liu, M.D. predicts the creation of software that “would allow anyone to access the expertise of the best doctors for diabetes, bladder infections or cancer care. ... Once this class of software is widely available to the public, then the Uber for healthcare will have arrived. People will discover healthcare can [be] super convenient, quick and easy, and inexpensive. Just like Uber.”

Investors have bought into this goal in a big way. Funding for on-demand healthcare has increased with a total of $692 million in funding since 2011, according to Rock Health. An Uber co-founder raised $14 million for the startup Pager, which makes physician appointments instantly and charges a flat fee for urgent care visits, physical exams, and phone consultations, notes a Forbes contributed post.

=> Read more!

End physician burnout by allowing doctors to be doctors again

May 12th, 2016

by Jonathan H. Burroughs

The physician is both a clinical and executive professional with significant post-doctorate education that prepared him/her to assume a major leadership role in healthcare from both a clinical and business perspective. Most physicians in the recent past ran small- to medium-sized businesses, managed an office and staff with its own revenue cycle operations and became adept at balancing clinical and business operations at a high level.

Over the past several decades, with the regulatory fall in physician reimbursement, private practice (first with primary and now with specialists) has been failing by design as physicians, unable to keep up with climbing overhead costs in the face of declining revenues seek employment and partnership with larger organizations and systems. Unfortunately, many organizations, locked into a traditional “human resources” culture, treat physicians as subordinate, ”full-time equivalents” and not as equal business partners and executive co-leaders--and the results have been tragic.

=> Read more!

Separating the Affordable Care Act exchange hype from reality

May 12th, 2016

by Leslie Small

In the news business, there's truth in the time-worn axiom, "if it bleeds, it leads." Or, as is more accurate for business reporting, "if it fails, it prevails."

There is something about human nature--the Germans call it schadenfreude--that cultivates an intense fascination with failure. And nowhere is this more apparent than the ever-polarizing Affordable Care Act.

Combine a drama-hungry news cycle with what one recent study termed a "toxic political atmosphere" surrounding the healthcare reform law, and you get headlines predicting certain doom every time there's even a hint of trouble on the ACA's public exchanges.

But with a law as complex as the ACA, concerns about the stability of its signature marketplace often run the risk of oversimplifying the myriad factors keeping it afloat.

So with that in mind, this special report takes a look at some of the main "risk factors" influencing the exchanges in order to parse out what's actually worth worrying about.

>>Read the full analysis at FierceHealthPayer

From the battlefield to the medical field: Growing physician leaders

May 5th, 2016

by Mark Hertling

Physicians, hospitals and a variety of healthcare organizations are concerned with how we as a nation will address the Triple Aim: improved patient care, access to medical treatment and reduced healthcare costs. America is facing a healthcare challenge, so it would seem an absolute requirement for physicians--those most involved--to be at the forefront, leading the way.

Physicians are the foot soldiers of healthcare; they must shepherd the medical profession, and they have the primary responsibility of improving our nation’s health. But unfortunately, doctors are often disconnected from policymaking roles. By necessity, physicians are primarily focused on medical solutions to the critical problems their patients face. But while doctors are on the front line of the tactical battle finding ways to improve care and access for the patient, they are often disconnected from the development of the policies and procedures that result in the strategic decision-making process aimed at improving the healthcare system.

=> Read more!

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