Men in the Crystal family shy away from stethoscopes the way vampires recoil from crosses. Stuart Crystal avoided checkups throughout his 20s. His 30-year-old brother, Jonathan, waved him off when Stuart noticed a strange lump on Jonathan's neck. "The lump kept growing bigger," recalls Stuart, now a 46-year-old retired police officer living in Florida. Months later, Jonathan saw a doctor, who instantly ordered a biopsy. It was lymphoma, and it had spread. A week later, he was dead. "His doctors said that he might have lived had he acted quickly enough," says Stuart. Jonathan Crystal should be an exception. Yet a recent survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians reveals that 55 percent of U.S. men haven't seen their M.D. in the past year. "They'll ignore blood in their urine and watch testicular tumors grow to the size of grapefruits because they're afraid to come in," says urologist Sheldon Marks, M.D., author of Prostate and Cancer: A Family Guide to … [Read more...] about What Are You So Afraid Of?
College of family physicians
Whether you are an avid tweeter, write a blog, or are a novice to professional social media, your online presence has the power to connect you with potential patients just down the street or colleagues working on similar research across the world. Having a strong online voice is part of your brand. Any communication by or about you, such as your name being listed on your practice's website, is part of your brand. Taking control of how you are perceived by others helps to build your professional reputation. Whether you want to expand your practice, find colleagues to collaborate with, or are looking for career opportunities, your reputation is key to achieving your goals. In a recent article on branding, we brought you tips on how to define and establish your brand. Here, we delve deeper into how to capitalize on the most useful professional social media platforms for physicians. LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network, with more than 500 million registered users … [Read more...] about The top five social media tools for physicians
Dive Brief: A collection of more than 30 healthcare providers is urging CMS to adopt a 90-day reporting period for meaningful use (MU) in 2016 rather than full-year reporting the agency has proposed. The full-year reporting would require complex system changes and impact their ability to comply, the providers wrote in a March 15 letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. The full-year reporting "will force providers to pull resources away from using health IT to innovate care processes and workflows," CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell and CHIME Board Chair Marc Probst said in a joint statement. Dive Insight: Providers will face more changes to MU when the final Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) rules are issued. CMS shortened the reporting period for MU to 90 days in 2015 after providers rallied against CMS' proposed full-year period, as previously reported by Healthcare Dive. Some of the organizations … [Read more...] about Healthcare providers urge CMS adoption of 90-day MU reporting period
Results of the global HOPE-3 trial, released earlier this month, add weight to the argument that treating people with statins in primary care reduces the likelihood of cardiovascular events over their lifetime. The picture is less clear on the benefits of primary prevention with blood pressure-lowering drugs. The trial included 12,705 men and women in six continents. All of the patients were 55 years of age or older and had at least one cardiovascular risk factor, such as family history of heart disease, smoking or abnormal blood sugar levels, but had never been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. During the trial, patients were randomized to receive either a cholesterol-lowering drug or placebo and blood pressure-lowering therapy or placebo, creating four possible treatment combinations. The patients were followed for an average of 5.6 years. Patients who received 10 mg of rosuvastatin plus 16 mg of candesartan and 12.5 mg of hydrochlorothiazide daily saw a 1.4% lower the risk … [Read more...] about HOPE-3 trial adds fuel to argument in support of statin use
Dive Brief: The Robert Graham Center, an affiliate of the American Academy of Family Physicians, has published a new report that concludes one in five Americans has "no usual source of healthcare" and more are choosing a facility over a doctor. Personal relationships between physicians and patients have been declining over the past 15 years while choosing a clinic or hospital has risen, said Anuradha Jetty, a Graham Center researcher. "These trends persisted even after controlling for age, race, insurance status and poverty status," she explained. Physicians are concerned this may result in a less coordinated patient care experience. Jetty said in a statement, "Research suggests that seeing the same clinician over time increases trust, awareness and effectiveness of care, and is associated with better quality at lower cost. We don't know yet if the same effects result from thinking of a facility as your usual source of care." Dive Insight: The ACA has … [Read more...] about Study finds 20% of Americans have ‘no usual source of healthcare’
Healthcare Dive There is a general assumption that large primary care practices perform better than smaller, independent offices. These groups have more resources, often ones provided by hospitals that own the groups. To test this theory, a study led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College surveyed small- and medium-sized primary care practices to compare the number of preventable hospital admissions of the groups' patients. Contrary to popular notions, the study authors found that the smaller practices had markedly fewer preventable hospital admissions. Groups with up to two physicians had 33% fewer ambulatory care-sensitive admissions than practices with 10 to 19 doctors. Those with three to nine physicians had 27% fewer than the larger groups. "For decades, we have looked at practice size because it's something we can count," said Anne-Marie Audet, vice president for delivery system reform for the Commonwealth Fund, which funded the study. "It has … [Read more...] about The impact of practice size on readmission rates
Dive Brief: The AmericanEHR survey, conducted between May and July 2014, found more than half of 940 respondents said EHRs had a negative impact on costs, efficiency and productivity. Only 9% of respondents reported their total practice operating costs decreased from using an EHR system. The longer respondents had used their EHR system, the more likely they were to report a positive impact on their practice. More than half of respondents said they started using their EHR system in the past three years. Eighty percent of those expressing dissatisfaction with their system had used it for less than five years. Approximately 13% of respondents said they employed scribes to address increased data entry requirements. Half of those who already employed scribes said it had a negative financial impact on their practice. Dive Insight: The survey concluded "there is cause for optimism" since those who said they were satisfied with their … [Read more...] about Survey: Majority of physicians not satisfied with EHR systems
CMS, through the Core Quality Measures Collaborative (CQMC), has released seven sets of clinical quality measures, primarily for physician quality programs. The CQMC is led by AHIP and its member plans’ CMOs, CMS and the National Quality Forum (NQF) members in addition to national physician organizations, employers and consumers. The release marks the first time multi-payer support on core measures for physician quality programs has occurred. "In the U.S. health care system, where we are moving to measure and pay for quality, patients and care providers deserve a uniform approach to measure quality,” said CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “This agreement today will reduce unnecessary burden for physicians and accelerate the country's movement to better quality.” This work is the first of the Core Quality Measures Collaborative participants and informs the Medicare Access … [Read more...] about CMS, private payers play nice, agree to 7 sets of clinical quality standards
Dive Brief: The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Physicians (ACP) and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) joined forces to voice their concerns about patient access to care during healthcare reform. Leaders of the four organizations fear a disruption of the health insurance market will reverse patient access and other improvements seen since implementation of the Affordable Care Act. In a joint letter sent to congressional leaders, they urged Congress to ensure a safety net is in place for low-income Americans; to preserve premium assistance and cost-sharing subsidies; and to maintain protections for those with pre-existing conditions or family history of health problems, regardless of age, gender, race, national origin or disability. Dive Insight: The four organizations represent about 400,000 doctors and reminded legislators of improvements under the ACA and the Children’s … [Read more...] about Physician groups unite to pressure Congress for patient protections during reform
Young physicians may appear to have it all. Passion. Youth. Slang you don't understand. However, the current national debt average for graduating medical students is $183,000 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). That figure does not include personal debt or pre-medical school debt, which many students also have. Fortunately, there are numerous federal scholarship and loan repayment programs, including pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) options. Some medical groups are concerned the daunting thought of paying off a $200,000 loan plus interest over 17 to 20 years may discourage many students from even considering medical school. There is already a substantial physician shortage nationwide, and AAMC predicts by 2025 the U.S. could be short up to 90,000 physicians, including 31,000 primary care physicians. Many posit medical student debt is affecting career choices. So instead of choosing the lower-compensating primary … [Read more...] about Med students are facing up to the rising price of education but how are they managing debt?