The PMD Critical List: 40% of Physicians Behind in Retirement Savings

A new study found that many physicians are not where they want to be in terms of personal finances. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List.

A new study found that many physicians are not where they want to be in terms of personal finances. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: The EpiPen price jack that everyone is talking about, how staffing gaps are increasing medical professionals’ wallets, and doctors are spending way too much money on brand medications.

40% of Physicians Behind in Retirement Savings (Becker’s Hospital Report)

“Although ‘a comfortable retirement’ remains a universal personal financial goal for physicians, many of them are not as prepared as they'd like to be,” according to a new AMA study. And 67% of physicians who are ahead of schedule for savings use a professional financial advisor.

Doctors' Advices on E-Cigarettes Vary (EurekAlert!)

“Whether you want to know about the safety of the devices or how to use them to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, physicians range greatly in their responses to patients,” according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. And 54% of doctors see them as “a potential tool” to help quit smoking.

What Improv Can Teach Tomorrow's Doctors (The Atlantic)

Interesting essay by a young doctor: “Improvisation may not be without risk, but interpersonal skills cannot be summed up by a formula. Medical educators are starting to adopt novel techniques aimed at teaching students how to approach situations and people, rather than what specifically to say or do.”

Doctors Demand Fair EpiPen Price for Everybody (Forbes)

It’s all over the news: The drug company Mylan has jacked up the price of its EpiPen auto-injector. Now the nation’s top physician groups “are urging price transparency and a better buy for all. Doctors say they are hearing an unprecedented amount of feedback from their patients, particularly parents of children who suffer severe allergies.”

Are Physicians Who Set Cancer Care Guidelines Compromised? (Medical Xpress)

“Nearly 90% of physicians and researchers who helped develop a leading set of cancer care guidelines in the United States reported financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries,” a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center study found. The study points out that industry funding is "all but mandatory" for academic researchers involved in clinical trials.

Staffing Gaps Push Up Medical Professionals Salaries (Healthcare Finance)

Health eCareers' new Healthcare Salary Guide found that 87% of healthcare professionals are making more or the same as a year ago. Some average salaries: physicians, $255,648; healthcare executives, $134,632; physician assistants, $105,856; nurse practitioners, $100,549; healthcare IT professionals, $91,251; and nurses, $61,875.

Doctors Warn: Death From Bagpipes! (The Telegraph)

Couldn’t resist this one: “Playing the bagpipes could be deadly, scientists warn, after a man died from continually breathing in mold and fungus trapped in the instrument. British doctors have identified the condition ‘bagpipe lung’ following the death of a 61-year-old man from chronic inflammatory lung condition hypersensitivity pneumonitis.”

Spotting “Football Dementia Disease” When It Matters (Healthline)

A serious subject with a new pro football season upon us. UCLA doctors say they have found a way to diagnose Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) — the degenerative disease that is found in the brains of former NFL players – in a living person. If true, their technique could change the way the disease is detected, studied, and treated. “Knowing is half the battle," says Dr. David Merrill.

What Doctors Can Learn from the Arts (JSTOR Daily)

Study of the “humanities can help shape doctors’ empathy. North American medical schools are beginning to embrace literature in medical curriculum and this trend has now expanded, with physicians attending courses in the spin-off field of narrative medicine.” Think Anton Chekhov — physician and writer.

American Doctors Waste Millions on Brand Meds (Financial Times)

“US doctors are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars a year prescribing expensive branded medicines even when cheaper generic alternatives are available,” according to a new analysis by the Financial Times.