The PMD Critical List: Doctors Prescribe Pets

This week's list of must-read stories includes a look at the therapeutic benefits of pets, an update on the Medicare "Doc Fix" legislation, and a look at how bias does or does not affect patient care.

This week's list of must-read stories includes a look at the therapeutic benefits of pets, an update on the Medicare "Doc Fix" legislation, and a look at how bias does or does not affect patient care.

Doctors Support Health Benefits of Pets (OregonLive.com)

A large new study shows that the vast majority of primary care physicians (97%) believe there are health benefits that result from pet ownership. “When fingers meet fur, something actually happens in our brains,” say HABRI Foundation researchers.

Will Congress Approve a “Doc Fix” Bill? (McClatchyDC.com)

In a rare display of DC bipartisanship, congressional leaders have agreed to end the recurring pay cuts for physicians who treat Medicare patients. Participating docs face a 21% decrease in compensation on April 1.

National Doctors' Day (DoctorsDay.org)

Most Americans probably don’t know it, but there is a day in our nation to “celebrate the contribution of physicians who serve our country by caring for its citizens.” It happens every March 30 and the observance dates to 1933.

Doctors' Unconscious Bias May Not Influence Care (Scientific American)

Just as it is with all human beings, physicians have their biases “but those unconscious views don't overtly affect the care they deliver to their patients,” a Johns Hopkins study determined. Good to know today’s doctors remain true professionals.

Why Older Physicians Should Write (Huffington Post)

A thoughtful essay from a young doctor-writer who thinks that his senior colleagues should more often document their “thick and thin" careers—thus sharing “long-lasting solutions” and “much-needed mentorship” with medical posterity.

Healthcare’s 9 Top Entrepreneurs (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Both “interesting and intelligent” these health care innovators have all produced “valuable products or services that truly contribute to the goal of healthcare.” The list: Bush, Studer, Sachs, Faulkner, Shade, Lipps, Cosgrove, McGuire, and Halvorson.

Most Physicians Miss Human-Trafficking Victims (Yahoo! Health)

In America alone, 1 million adults and 400,000 children are at risk for sex trafficking. With nearly 90% having “contact with a healthcare provider while being trafficked,” doctors must become better observers and realize “victims are rescued one at a time.”

Doctors Need Help Leaving Fee-For-Service (Forbes)

Private and public health plans are shifting away from the traditional fee-for-service approach in medicine, shows a RAND study, but doctors are unprepared for it. Alternative payment models are the future and doctors must develop systems for “data management and analysis” to survive.

Medical Conferences Good for Patients Too (International Business Times)

Harvard Medical School researchers say “high-risk heart patients at teaching hospitals who are admitted during the dates of national conferences on cardiology have a higher rate of survival.” “Less is more” maybe the explanation—fewer aggressive and invasive treatments.