The PMD Critical List: When Doctors Strike, Fewer Patients Die

A British study finds the unavailability of physicians doesn’t increase patient deaths. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Why are pagers still around and why has tele-surgery not yet fulfilled its potential?

A British study finds the unavailability of physicians doesn’t increase patient deaths. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Why are pagers still around and why has tele-surgery not yet fulfilled its potential?

When Doctors Strike, Fewer Patients Die (Boston Globe)

Less is more in healthcare? “When physicians who provide non-urgent care are away, elective procedures are canceled. These elective procedures may actually have greater risks than benefits; when they are nixed, the death rate declines.”

Why Do Doctors Still Use Pagers? (Slate)

“For most people, the pager represents a sad, humorous relic of the past—a reminder of the primitive time before cellphones.” But for doctors they are still an important part of everyday life—85% of hospitals still rely on them. It’s about the “broadcast power.”

The New ‘In-Home’ Cancer Test (RT.com)

There soon might be no need to undergo a whole series of medical procedures to detect cancer. Scientists are developing a test that would spot the disease in just 10 minutes, using just a little of the patient's saliva.

Drop in Prostate Cancer Screening Shows Split Among Doctors (Fox News)

The medical community seems divided over the best way to look for prostate cancer. After US guidelines advised against routine tests, declines in prostate cancer screening have been sharper among primary care doctors than urologists, according to a new JAMA study.

Detecting Wound Infection in Seconds (News-Medical.net)

A report in Wound Repair and Regeneration journal tells of a “new method for detection of infection (“a major challenge in medicine”) in wounds that could take physicians less than a minute to complete, rather than the current 24 hours it takes to plate bacteria and leave it to incubate overnight.”

The Surgeon Will Skype You Now (Popular Mechanics)

“The tech for surgeons to operate on patients from hundreds or even thousands of miles away has been possible for over a decade. But even under the most ideal circumstances, remote surgery has several issues caused simply by the distance between surgeon and patient. And so far, no one has quite been able to resolve them.”

For Doctors Staying Independent Doesn't Have to Mean Going Broke (HealthLeaders)

An upbeat physician story about a solo medical practitioner in Texas who is bullish on his prospects. “Developing a strong, independent practice is admittedly hard work, but it may also be a way to stave off burnout, with either the right investment in technology and staff or a partner.”

10 Qualities of People with High Emotional Intelligence (Inc.)

With 90% of practicing physicians admitting to some measure of professional burnout, cultivating some Emotional Intelligence might offer a solution. Here are 10 factors for identifying and managing your own emotions and the emotions of others.

Why Are Hospitals Buying Physician Practices and Forming Insurance Companies? (American Action Forum)

“It is highly ironic that a law proposed, in part, because of the allegation health insurance companies were increasing their profits by denying care to patients—is now the means by which the federal government pays physicians to, in effect, deny care to patients.”

Who Do Doctors Marry? (Bloomberg)

“When it comes to falling in love, it’s not just fate that brings people together—sometimes it’s their jobs.” A recent scan of US Census Bureau data finds out how people are pairing up. Statistics show that physicians most often marry teachers or nurses.

Should Presidential Candidates Vilify Physicians for High Cost of Care? (Forbes)

A physician/behavioral scientist offers up some pointed thoughts on the ongoing presidential race and doctors. “When it comes to high healthcare costs, there’s plenty of blame to go around. But if voters don’t demand that candidates lay out specific ideas of how to change our healthcare system to promote more efficient healthcare spending, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.”