The PMD Critical List: Doctors Are Less Likely to Vote Than the General Population

Less than one-third of doctors voted in recent elections. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List.

Less than one-third of doctors voted in recent elections. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Medical schools may be taking away the human side of medicine, physicians protest practicing surgery on live animals, and doctors aren’t all that concerned about marijuana use.

More Doctors Must Vote and Get Politically Involved (STAT)

Physicians are less likely to vote than lawyers, other professionals, farmers, and the general population. In some recent elections, less than one-third of doctors voted. They also volunteer and donate to candidates at lower rates than other professionals, too. With an evolving health system now equal parts medicine, economics, and politics, doctors must be more involved.

Doctor Care May Depend on Political Views (Los Angeles Times)

“A new study from researchers at Yale University details significant differences in the way primary care physicians from across the political spectrum approach medical issues that touch on hot-button topics.” The scientists say “it’s imperative that physicians consider how their own political views may impact their professional judgments.”

Medical Students Need to Learn Empathy (STAT)

“Today, most schools myopically focus on turning out technicians. Through textbooks, lab experiments, and lectures, budding doctors learn the hard science of medicine. This purely technical approach can obscure the human side of medicine and erode the ability to understand and care about what makes a patient tick,” says this medical school dean.

The Forbes 400 List for 2016 (Forbes)

Here are some facts and figures about America’s richest people. “The country’s 400 richest are wealthier than ever, with a combined net worth of $2.4 trillion and an average net worth of $6 billion, both record highs.” And Bill Gates is number one for the 23rd year running, with a net worth of $81 billion.

The Insanity of Doctor Recertification (Slate)

“Studying for the boards is a bit like stuffing your face at a hot dog-eating contest: The first few hundred pages are intriguing and tasty. The next few hundred pages are interesting. The few hundred pages that follow find you stuporous. The remaining thousand pages are just confettied sauerkraut delivered by dump-truck onto a comatose slop of neurons,” explains this respected physician-author.

Physicians Protest Use of Live Animals (KARE 11)

Doctors in Minnesota took to the street last week to protest use of live animals in emergency room surgical training at a local hospital. "The models for teaching aren’t good,” explained one physician. "In 27 years as a surgeon I never operated on animals because that anatomy is different than human anatomy.”

Dentists to Test Blood Pressure Under New Program (Baltimore Sun)

“Maryland is among six states that will share in a $3 million federal grant to develop a pilot program that uses dentists to check patients’ blood pressure,” according to this news report. “Heart disease is the state and nation’s biggest killers, and the effort is among many created to reach those with undiagnosed hypertension.”

Most Doctors Unworried About Marijuana Use (The Washington Post)

“Doctors in the United States are not terribly concerned about your marijuana use, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The doctors rated sex with a prostitute, proper helmet usage, tobacco and alcohol use, and obesity as significantly more pressing issues, health-wise, than marijuana use.”

Mindfulness Can Reduce Physician Burnout (Healio)

“Mindfulness, stress management training and small group discussions demonstrated benefits in physicians combating burnout, according to findings published in The Lancet. Physician burnout, a work-related syndrome involving emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of reduced personal accomplishment, has reached epidemic levels,” the researchers say.

Physicians Are Failing Healthcare Decision Makers (Yahoo!)

“Health Activators, or consumers who influence and activate health choices for themselves and others, say that doctors are not spending enough time with them during visits and are not focusing enough on health and preventive care, according to a new Kantar Health report.”

Physicians' Opinions of EHR Vendors (Becker’s Hospital Review)

“The latest report from healthcare technology market research firm peer60 finds physicians remain highly dissatisfied with their EHRs, some providers still seeking to switch vendors and Epic gaining traction in the ambulatory EHR market, making other vendors more vulnerable for replacement.” Here are 13 key findings from the report.