The PMD Critical List: Cheap Lunch Influences Doctors

Can a free meal from a drug company influence a doctor’s prescribing habits? Apparently so, even if the meal is a cheap one, according to the top story in this week’s PMD Critical List.

Can a free meal from a drug company influence a doctor’s prescribing habits? Apparently so, even if the meal is a cheap one, according to the top story in this week’s PMD Critical List.

Cheap Lunch Influences Doctors (Fortune)

A new study in JAMA delves into the links between the money the pharma industry spends on entertaining doctors, and how often those doctors prescribe the name-brand drugs of the companies that entertain them. Some 95% of all payments are for meals, averaging less than $20.

New England Journal of Medicine Wants Physicians to Push Gun Control (Forbes)

The editorial board of perhaps the nation’s top medical journal is urging US physicians to join forces in the battle on gun control. “Physicians need to engage in a sustained effort to counter groups that are intent on maintaining the status quo,” said the NEJM.

EMRs Major Trigger for Physician Burnout (HIT Consultant)

Electronic medical records are the second most frequently reported doctor stressor which “nearly double the time and expense of medical practice for most direct patient care physicians, including physicians in training, without increasing any type of reimbursement,” a new InCrowd survey found.

Trusting Doctors on Robotic Surgery? (Forbes)

“I do not think physicians are willfully misleading patients about the pros and cons of robotic surgery. Instead, I think most physicians believe the robot is better (in the right hands) but when it is unavailable, doctors try to reassure patients that they will still receive state-of-the-art care.”

Watch Out, WebMD: Google's Doctor Team is Here (Green Bot)

Good or bad for patients and their physicians? Sometimes “Googling” what’s wrong with you can cause more harm than good. But Google's new medical symptom search promises to help patients better determine what's ailing them and whether they should see a doctor.

The Shadow Doctors (The New Yorker)

An in-depth report about a humanitarian physician and the dangerous and deadly state of doctoring in a war-torn nation. “In the past five years, the Syrian government has assassinated, bombed, and tortured to death almost 700 medical personnel, according to Physicians for Human Rights.”

Narrating Medicine: When Doctors Forget To Feel (CommonHealth)

A compelling essay from a young physician about doctors and death: “A physician's duty to speak honestly and empathetically with a dying patient is not one all of us carry evenly or even train for, yet it's a duty many of us must perform. And amidst this duty is an emotional burden that frequently goes unrecognized, with little guidance on managing it.”

Can For-Profit Medical Schools Fill the Doctor Gap? (CBS News)

For-profit medical schools are starting to pop up around the country (more than 30 since 2002), promising to create new family doctors for underserved rural regions. Critics question whether they can properly train the nation's next crop of doctors. “It's a little bit like Wal-Mart moving into a small community with mom-and-pop shops—it damages the existing workforce producers."

America’s Largest Medical Groups (Becker Hospital Review)

SK&A, the leading healthcare provider database, is out with its Top 50 Medical Groups for 2016. The Oakland, CA,-based Kaiser Permanente Medical Group tops the list of the largest medical groups in the US, based on the participation of nearly 8,000 doctors.

MDs, Pas, and NPs — All Wasteful (Forbes)

“When it comes to providing wasteful medical care and treatments to their patients, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are ‘no worse’ than physicians,” according to a new Annals of Internal Medicine study.