the Health Innovation Program

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The Large Hidden Costs of Medicare’s Prescription Drug Program

At a glance, Medicare’s prescription drug program — also called Medicare Part D — looks like the perfect example of a successful public-private partnership.<p>Drug benefits are entirely provided by private insurance plans, with generous government subsidies. There are lots of plans to choose from. …

Health Care

Our doctors are too educated

<i>Akhilesh Pathipati is an ophthalmology resident at Harvard University's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.</i><p>I had just finished an eye examination for one of my patients and swiveled around to the computer. It was clear that he needed cataract surgery; he was nearly blind despite his Coke-bottle …

Medicine

The Big Number: 2.5 million teens report having had a concussion in one year

A jolt or blow to the head can cause a concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury that about 2.5 million teens, or 15 percent of U.S. high school students, say they sustained during a recent 12-month period while participating in sports or physical activity, according to a report from the Centers …

The Brain

Wisconsin university to offer course on treating inmates

The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health will offer a new course to teach future doctors how to treat a growing …

Public Health

How Cleveland Clinic Aims to Shape Population Health

After building a global reputation for providing complex, specialized care, the health system is building a care model that is designed to better …

Digital Health

Big Med

Restaurant chains have managed to combine quality control, cost control, and innovation. Can health care?<p>It was Saturday night, and I was at the local Cheesecake Factory with my two teen-age daughters and three of their friends. You may know the chain: a hundred and sixty restaurants with a …

The true connection between poverty and obesity isn’t what you probably think

How do we fight the intractable, devastating public health problem that is obesity?<p>It’s a conversation I’ve had many, many times, and invariably someone suggests that we have to fight obesity by fighting poverty. Increase the minimum wage, ensure decent housing, provide medical care. If we lift …

Income Inequality

The Toll of America’s Obesity

Obesity rates in the United States continue to worsen. So, too, does economic inequality. Are these trends related?<p>After remaining essentially flat in the 1950s and 1960s, the prevalence of obesity doubled in adults and tripled in children between the 1970s and 2000. According to new data from the …

Diabetes

Medicare Slashes Star Ratings for Staffing at 1 in 11 Nursing Homes

Medicare has lowered its star ratings for staffing levels in one out of 11 of the nation’s nursing homes — almost 1,400 of them — because they were either inadequately staffed with registered nurses or failed to provide payroll data that proved they had the required nursing coverage, federal …

Health Care

HHS Inspector General's Report Finds Flaws And Fraud In U.S. Hospice Care

We all hope for a little peace at the end of life, for ourselves and for our loved ones. Hospice services can play a big role, relieving pain and providing spiritual and emotional support. But a federal report published Tuesday synthesized patient and Medicare payment data going back to 2005 and …

Health Care

What About The Health Care Delivery System? Another View On Health Philanthropy And The Social Determinants Of Health

Among those of us involved in health philanthropy, it is increasingly accepted that social and economic factors, such as access to high-quality …

How New Technologies Could Transform Africa’s Health Care System

In early June, at the invitation of the European Commission to Brussels (Belgium), I toured some fascinating AI and blockchain-based projects, which the Commission is funding. Across industrial sectors, from healthcare to energy, from construction to retail, engineers are creating new technologies …

Health Care

JAMA Forum: End-of-Life Care, Not End-of-Life Spending

People in the United States spend a lot of money at the end of life. In fact, about one quarter of all Medicare spending goes toward care for people …

Health Care

States Question Costs Of Middlemen That Manage Medicaid Drug Benefits

Several states are questioning the cost of using pharmacy middlemen to manage their prescription drug programs in a movement that could shake up the complex system that manages how pharmaceuticals are priced and paid for.<p>The debate is playing out this week in an Ohio courtroom, as the state fights …

Pharma

CDC tests blockchain for data transparency

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is running a pilot that uses blockchain to secure health record data and give the data lifecycle far …

Government Technology

Expecting US mothers use doctors, not midwives, unlike other rich countries

Every year in the UK, more than half of babies are delivered with the guidance of a midwife. In Scandinavian countries, it’s more like three quarters (pdf), similar to the rate in France. In fact, in these and many other countries, midwives take part in almost all deliveries, as they also assist …

Pregnancy

Medicare To Overhaul ACOs But Critics Fear Less Participation

Accountable care organizations were among the key initiatives of the Affordable Care Act, designed to help control soaring Medicare costs.<p>ACOs were …

Health Care

Research: Having a Black Doctor Led Black Men to Receive More-Effective Care

In the U.S., racial and ethnic minorities have higher rates of chronic disease, obesity, and premature death than white people. Black patients in particular have among the worst health outcomes, experiencing higher rates of hypertension and stroke. And black men have the lowest life expectancy of …

Physiology

Police in Germany rescue man being chased by baby squirrel

German police have rescued a man after he called for help saying a baby squirrel would not leave him alone.<p>Emergency services received a call on Thursday from the man, who claimed he was being chased down the street by the tiny animal.<p>Police in Karlsruhe said the unnamed man called them in …

Emergency Medicine

The Doctor Doesn’t Listen to Her. But the Media Is Starting To.

Physicians have long dismissed or downplayed women's sexual- and reproductive-health concerns—but in 2018, stories about "health-care gaslighting" are consistently breaking through to the mainstream.<p>After a while, the true-life horror stories women tell about their struggles to get reproductive …

Health Care

'Dear Doctor' Letters Use Peer Pressure, Government Warning To Stop Overprescribing

The antipsychotic drug Seroquel was approved by the FDA years ago to help people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses. But too frequently the drug is also given to people who have Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. The problem with that? Seroquel can …

Dementia

Sending Letters About Their Patients' Overdoses Changes Doctors' Prescribing Habits

For a doctor, learning that a patient has died is often an emotional moment. Emergency room physician Roneet Lev wondered if telling doctors when their patients die of an overdose might motivate them to rethink their prescribing behavior.<p>"I asked other physicians if they would want to know if a …

Medicine

Trump Administration To Overhaul A Program Designed To Save Medicare Money

A key initiative of the Affordable Care Act was a program designed to help control soaring Medicare costs by encouraging doctors and hospitals to work together to coordinate patients' care. This led to the formation of what are known as accountable care organizations or ACOs.<p>The program was …

Health Care

Companies Respond to an Urgent Health Care Need: Transportation

As America’s baby boomers are hitting 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day, and healthier lifestyles are keeping them in their homes longer, demand is escalating for a little talked-about — yet critical — health care-related job: Transporting people to and from nonemergency medical appointments.<p>“It’s going …

Health Care

Surgery centers don't have to report deaths in 17 states

The first man died in April 2014. Another died later that month. Then, on July 18 of that year, a woman was rushed to a hospital where she was told she was lucky to be alive.<p>They all went to the same Little Rock, Arkansas, surgery center for a colonoscopy, among the safest procedures a patient can …

Physiology

Women More Likely to Survive Heart Attacks If Treated by Female Doctors

And male doctors do better when they have more female colleagues.<p>“Coronary heart disease is also a woman’s disease, not a man’s disease in disguise,” wrote the cardiologist Bernadine Healy back in 1991. In a rousing editorial, Healy lamented that decades of research that focused almost entirely on …

Medicine

Doctors With Disabilities Push For Culture Change In Medicine

Lisa Iezzoni was in medical school at Harvard in the early 1980s when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She started experiencing some of the symptoms, including fatigue, but she wasn't letting that get in the way of her goal. Then came the moment she scrubbed in on a surgery and the …

Disability

Professors Explain Why It's Hard to Write Online

They’re not wrong.<p>There comes a time in every writing-inclined person’s life when they decide between a few paths. Two common paths are journalism and the academy. Do you want to write research that, though it’s less widely disseminated, is arguably more rigorous than most journalism? Or do you …

Journalism

You may have signed a living will, but scary mistakes can happen at the ER

“Don’t resuscitate this patient; he has a living will,” the nurse told the doctor, Monica Williams-Murphy, handing her a document.<p>Williams-Murphy looked at the sheet bearing the signature of the unconscious 78-year-old man, who had been rushed from a nursing home to the emergency room. “Do …

Medicine