The PMD Critical List: Doctors Who Are Fed Up With Medicine

With long and demanding hours, many doctors have pondered the possibility of leaving medicine altogether. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. This week's list of must-read news stories for physicians include: a Q&A with US Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the diagnostic capabilities of IBM’s Watson, and the difficulty of measuring such a subjective, personal concept as “pain.”

With long and demanding hours, many doctors have pondered the possibility of leaving medicine altogether. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. This week's list of must-read news stories for physicians include: a Q&A with US Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, the diagnostic capabilities of IBM’s Watson, and the difficulty of measuring such a subjective, personal concept as “pain.”

Most Doctors Fed Up With Medicine (Fierce Healthcare)

The majority of US physicians (55%) say they have experienced burnout, feel overworked, and want more time to spend with patients and less with EMRs, according to a new survey by locumstory.com. And nearly two-third of physicians say they are overworked.

Insurers Won't Cover Alternatives to Opioids (Business Insider)

Pain doctors say that health-insurance companies are increasingly cutting reimbursements for alternative treatments or not covering them at all. Many pain specialists have begun offering their treatments at “for-cash” prices so that they can continue to treat their patients amid the restrictive insurance environment.

Transforming How Doctors and Hospitals Are Paid (Los Angeles Times)

The Obama administration is trying to build a system that pays doctors and hospitals based on how their patients recover and how much their care costs. Here’s a Q&A with US Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on the proposal.

The Coming “Lifestyle Medicine” Movement (Chicago Tribune)

A physician and leader in the new lifestyle medicine movement says that as healthcare has developed more and more ways to intervene, most doctors are still more comfortable treating illnesses than addressing prevention. Sadly, less than half of US medical schools offer courses in nutrition and physical activity.

Struggling NYC Hospital Spends Lavishly (New York Post)

“Struggling SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn allowed a top restructuring consultant to bill the state for $83,000 in lavish travel, lodging and dining expenses, a scathing audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli reveals. One was a boozy $2,039 “team dinner” at Docks oyster bar.

A Letter to the Doctors of Tomorrow (Forbes)

A thoughtful essay by “a healthcare leader, medical school professor and resident teacher” on how on physicians can find fulfillment now and in the future. “Delayed gratification is intrinsic to becoming a doctor. There is no way around it. But it is worth it.”

Dr. “IBM Watson” (New York Daily News)

“It turns out the world’s smartest supercomputer is a pretty good doctor, too. Five years after dominating geniuses in its debut on Jeopardy!, IBM’s Watson is still putting human intelligence to shame. The artificial intelligence machine correctly diagnosed a medical mystery that doctors in Japan had missed for months.”

How Lawyers Scare People Out of Taking Their Meds (Washington Post)

“Last year lawyers spent $128 million to air 365,000 TV ads seeking plaintiffs for lawsuits against drug and medical-device manufactures. Sometimes, when patients see these ads, they panic,” according to the president of the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform. “Reacting to trial lawyers’ ad claims before consulting a doctor may be bad for your health.”

• A Physician's Tips for Delivering Bad News (Health Media Leaders)

Here's an interesting interview with the CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Excellence. “As part of their quest to deliver a better patient experience, healthcare providers have been placing greater emphasis on clinicians' communication skills. The result has been better awareness and training, but there's still work to be done.”

Vexing Question on Patient Surveys: Did We Ease Your Pain? (New York Times)

“Doctors say part of the problem is that because pain is highly individualized and difficult to measure objectively, a survey question is a poor instrument for judging medical competence. If surveys are to address pain management, other questions might be more useful in reinforcing good medical practice.”