The PMD Critical List: Prescription Use Reaches Record Level

A new report says the number of Americans who regularly take prescription drugs has reached a new peak. That story tops this week's PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Mortality rates rise for white middle-aged Americans, and why "defensive medicine" may not be so bad, after all.

A new report says the number of Americans who regularly take prescription drugs has reached a new peak. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Mortality rates rise for white middle-aged Americans, and why “defensive medicine” may not be so bad, after all.

More Americans than Ever Use Prescription Drugs (NBC News)

Nearly 60% of adult Americans, the most ever, are now on at least one prescription drug, according to a new JAMA report. An older population doesn't explain the high numbers, “the pattern looks more related to obesity.”

Death Rate Rising for Middle-Aged Whites (The Wall Street Journal)

It seems that even modern medicine has its limits. A new study finds that mortality rates for middle-aged white Americans had risen since 1999, in contrast to the patterns for every other affluent country. The culprits are: suicide, alcohol abuse, drug overdoses, and chronic liver diseases.

Doctor Finds Art in Medicine (The Santa Clarita Valley Signal)

A fascinating report about a California physician who “chose pathology because I knew this field would satisfy my artistic side as it is all about pattern recognition and three-dimensional aspects of disease processes. I call it art and science of medicine.”

CMS Physician Fee Schedule Set: 10 Things to Know (Becker’s Hospital Review)

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released its payment rules for physicians for next year. Changes include a provision establishing pay for end-of-life care planning and the use of star ratings on the Physician Compare public website.

The Death of Cancer (New York Post)

Book review: pioneering oncologist, Dr. Vincent DeVita, “the first to develop a curative chemotherapy protocol for adult cancer,” writes that only bureaucracy stands between “cancer, the killer” and “cancer, the chronic but survivable illness.”

High-Spending Doctors Less Likely to Be Sued (Reuters)

Can you say “defensive medicine?” A new BMJ study finds that many physician “provide more healthcare than necessary in order to stave off malpractice lawsuits.” Researchers said that while “there is a correlation between spending and a risk of being named a defendant, it’s a correlation without causation.”

How Do Patients Want to Get Their Test Results? (International Business Times)

A new ABFM Journal survey asked patients how they would prefer to receive a variety of test results. They were offered seven methods: letter, password-protected website, voicemail on a cell phone, voicemail at home, fax, text and email.

Taking the Joy Out of Being a Physician (Forbes)

A troubling essay on bureaucratic medicine: “Physicians are caught between professionalism and accountability. The more their attention and energy is focused on meeting accountability standards, the less they focus that attention and energy on making professional judgments about how best to address patients’ needs.”

Physician Who Found a Way to Grow Skin and Save Lives Dies (The New York Times)

“A failed experiment to replicate a rare mouse tumor, led to the ability to regenerate human skin that could be grafted onto burn victims.” Dr. Howard Green, who discovered the revolutionary medical procedure, passed away at age 90.