The PMD Critical List: Can Doctors Predict Health Problems If Given More Information?

Doctors are looking for more information on their patients in an effort to predict health problems. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List.

Doctors are looking for more information on their patients in an effort to predict health problems. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: National leaders are looking to raise the cigarette-buying age, how to better deliver bad news to patients, and physicians are willing to embrace EMRs… but on some conditions.

Doctors Dig for More Data About Patients (Wall Street Journal)

“Spurred by employers and insurers that want health-care providers to prevent illness—and not merely treat it—doctors and hospitals are creating ever more complex algorithms to forecast their patients’ medical future. Are doctors “largely blind” to details that are not included in patients’ medical records?

Raise Cigarette Buying Age to 21 Says Top Medical Group (Cantech Letter)

Representatives of the nation’s leading pulmonary medical society are calling for the cigarette-buying age to be raised from 18 to 21 nationwide. “Earlier age of tobacco use initiation is associated with lower rates of smoking cessation,” says the American Thoracic Society's Tobacco 21 campaign.

Doctors Say EMRs Don’t Help (Computer World)

“Three out of four physicians believe that electronic medical records increase practice costs—outweighing any efficiency savings—and seven out of 10 think they reduce productivity, according to a new survey by Deloitte's, one of the "Big Four" and the largest professional services firms. Plenty of other worthwhile data here.

How to Cultivate Physician Leaders (Fierce Healthcare)

“As the healthcare industry moves full speed ahead to new payment and care delivery models, executives at some of the country’s largest health systems say that physicians must lead the way. It’s critical that we have a pipeline.”

Helping Doctors Deliver Bad News to Patients (PR Newswire)

“Patients were more likely to respond positively to an unpleasant or frightening option if they were presented with advice in a way that was opposite to their usual motivational focus (achieving gains vs. avoiding losses). This approach helped patients think more thoroughly about their options and increased the likelihood that they would select a frightening but beneficial option,” according to new research from Columbia Business School.

Health Systems Report Substantial Losses (Becker's Hospital Review)

“Integrated health systems and hospital medical practices had major operating losses in 2015, according to a survey by the American Medical Group Association. The operating loss was approximately $210,000 per physician, while private physician practices reported a near $14,000 operating loss per physician.”

Doctors See ”Some Potential” for EMRs (Healthcare IT News)

According to a new AMA survey, physicians will embrace electronic medical records… but only if they can “improve efficiency and patient safety, create a better physician-patient relationship, reduce their own level of burnout and make for better billing and reimbursement.”

What Your Dog’s Vet Bill Says About the US Healthcare System (CBS News)

“That’s the question posed by Stanford University and MIT economists in a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The research points out that the pet health care industry shares a number of similarities with the system for humans, including a rapid increase in spending as a share of GDP and high spending at the end of life.”

Exploring the Doctor’s Office of the Future (AAFP.org)

Here’s an interesting report about a new American Academy of Family Physicians initiative offering doctors a view into a medical world of tomorrow. “The interactive, hands-on exhibit was designed to help physicians envision what's possible in the very near future with the intersection of new technology and creative workflow ideas.” Family docs offered their thoughts on the display.

End-of-Life Care Needs an Overhaul (Time)

A couple of seasoned physicians offer up some reasonable guidance on a major health issues. “We are two experienced physicians who were responsible for our loved ones in long-term care facilities. Both of our experiences left us deeply concerned about the ability of ordinary, non-medical people to receive quality, dignified care at the ends of their lives in these facilities.”