Author Interviews, JAMA / 27.11.2019 Interview with: James S. Goodwin, M.D. George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX  77555-0177James S. Goodwin, M.D. George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX  77555-0177 What is the background for this study? Response: Full time hospital doctors, called hospitalists, now provide the medical care for most patients hospitalized in the US. Depending on the hospital and also the hospitalist group, the working schedules of hospitalists can have vary greatly. For example, some might work 8 AM to 5PM for seven days followed by seven days off. Others might work 24 hours on and 72 hours off. Depending on the schedule of the hospitalists proving care, a patient  might have one or two or three or more different doctors proving care during their stay. Some patients see a new doctor each day. Our goal was to see if patients who received care from hospitalists who tended to work several days in a row did better than those who were cared for many different hospitalists with intermittent schedules. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Opiods / 16.04.2019 Interview with: Joel E. Segel, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Health Policy and Administration The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Earlier research has shown that the societal costs of opioid misuse are high, including the impact on employment. However, previous work to understand the costs of opioid misuse borne by state and federal governments has largely focused on medical costs such as care related to overdoses and the cost of treating opioid use disorder. Our main findings are that when individuals who misuse opioids are unable to work, state and federal governments may bear significant costs in the form of lost income and sales tax revenue. We estimate that between 2000 and 2016, state governments lost $11.8 billion in tax revenue and the federal government lost $26.0 billion.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems / 17.01.2019 Interview with: medicoreachLauren Williams Marketing Manager and  Research Analyst MedicoReach TwitterHandle: What is the driving force behind the research and market study for estimating the hospitalist number in the US? Response: The existing physician’s database available in the industry comprises details that don’t specify the number of hospitalists in particular. As a result, it is turning out challenging to track and count the hospitalists amidst other specialties. There are a lot of incorrect estimations that are circulating, giving no clear picture. In a vast and growing industry like healthcare, there is no scope for wrong data as it can mislead others. Even the Physician Masterfile that the American Medical Association (AMA) offers do not cover the complete hospitalist population. This is because earlier the hospitalist specialty was not a part of the list of physicians. Hospitalists work as primary care providers specializing in inpatient medicine. They play a significant role, coordinating with specialist physicians and other healthcare professionals. As a caregiver, they provide quality hospital care and boosts efficiency through effective hospital resource allocation. And so, how can we let their presence go overlooked? Our research aimed to bring out their actual numbers before the industry. That is why our research team came up with the research and market study to fetch real facts.  (more…)
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 09.10.2018 Interview with: Salam Abdus, PhD Division of Research and Modeling, Center for Financing, Access, and Cost Trends, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Department of Health and Human Services Rockville, Maryland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: High deductible health plans are more prevalent than ever. Previous research showed that adults in low-income families or with chronic conditions are more likely to face high financial burdens when they are enrolled in high-deductible health plans, compared to adults in higher income families or healthier adults. In this study we examined the financial burden of high-deductible health plans among adults who are both low income and chronically ill. We used AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS-HC) data from 2011 to 2015 to study the prevalence of high out-of-pocket health care spending burden of high deductible health plans among adults enrolled in employer-sponsored insurance. We included family out-of-pocket spending on premiums and health care services. We found that among adults who had family income below 250% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL), had multiple chronic conditions, and were enrolled in high-deductible health plans, almost half (46.9%) had financial family out-of-pocket health care burden exceeding 20 percent of family disposable income. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania / 09.09.2018 Interview with: Amol Navathe, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Medicine Perelman School of Medicine Penn Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Medicare’s voluntary Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative for lower extremity joint replacement (LEJR) surgery has been associated with reduced episode spending and stable-to-improved quality. However, BPCI may create unintended effects by prompting participating hospitals to increase the overall volume of episodes covered by Medicare. This could potentially eliminate Medicare-related savings or prompt hospitals to shift case mix to lower-risk patients. Among the Medicare beneficiaries who underwent LEJR, BPCI participation was not significantly associated with a change in market-level volume (difference-in-differences estimate . In non-BPCI markets, the mean quarterly market volume increased 3.8% from 3.8 episodes per 1000 beneficiaries before BPCI to 3.9 episodes per 1000 beneficiaries after BPCI was launched. In BPCI markets, the mean quarterly market volume increased 4.4% from 3.6 episodes per 1000 beneficiaries before BPCI to 3.8 episodes per 1000 beneficiaries after BPCI was launched. The adjusted difference-in-differences estimate between the market types was 0.32%. Among 20 demographic, socioeconomic, clinical, and utilization factors, BPCI participation was associated with changes in hospital-level case mix for only one factor, prior skilled nursing facility use in BPCI vs. non-BPCI markets.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Medicare, UCSF / 01.08.2018 Interview with: Andrew B. Bindman, MD Professor of Medicine PRL- Institute for Health Policy Studies University of California San Francisco What is the background for this study?   Response: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use and impact of a payment code for transitional care management services which was implemented by Medicare in. The transition of patients from hospitals or skilled nursing facilities back to the community often involves a change in a patient’s health care provider and introduces risks in communication which can contribute to lapses in health care quality and safety. Transitional care management services include contacting the patient within 2 business days after discharge and seeing the patient in the office within 7-14 days. Medicare implemented payment for transitional care management services with the hope that this would increase the delivery of these services believing that they could reduce readmissions, reduce costs and improve health outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Mammograms, Medical Imaging / 29.07.2018 Interview with: Michal Horný PhD Assistant Professor Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences Emory University Rollins School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management Atlanta, GA 30322 What is the background for this study? Response: Increased breast tissue density is a common finding at screening mammography. Approximately 30-50% of women have so-called “dense breasts” but many of them are not aware of it. The problem is that the increased tissue density can potentially mask early cancers. In other words, if there is cancer hiding in dense breast tissue, it could be difficult to spot it. To improve the awareness of breast tissue density, a patient group called Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc., started lobbying state and federal policymakers to pass laws mandating health care providers to notify women about their breast density assessments. As a result, 31 states have already enacted some form of legislation regarding dense breast tissue. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Social Issues / 25.06.2018 Interview with: Bryan D. James, PhD Assistant Professor Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Chicago, IL 60612 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study is part of a larger body of research examining how literacy and decision making abilities in different areas of life can affect the health and well-being of older adults. The main finding of this study is that a better ability to understand and utilize financial concepts was related to a lower risk of hospitalization in old age. Additionally, research conducted from financial services firm Sambla, Norway's largest bank and lender for medical loans, found that doctors and pharmacists are among Scandinavia's financial services most financially savvy, often saving for retirement 5-7 years before others working in the medical field. Over almost 2 years of follow-up, 30 percent of the 388 older men and women in this study were hospitalized at least once. A 4-point higher score on the scale of financial literacy, representing one standard deviation, was associated with about a 35 percent lower risk of hospitalization. This was after adjusting for a number of factors including physical and mental health indicators and income. The association appeared to be stronger for knowledge of financial concepts such as stocks and bonds, as opposed to the ability to perform numerical calculations. Additionally, the association was stronger for elective hospital admissions as opposed to emergency or urgent hospitalizations; this may support the notion that financial literacy is related to medical decision-making surrounding the decision to be hospitalized, such as which procedures are covered by Medicare. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Education, Surgical Research / 22.11.2016 Interview with: Dr. Dmitri Alden MD, FACS Surgical Oncologist, specializes in liver cancer, bile duct cancer, metastatic ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer at Lenox Hill Hospital, NY Dr. Alden is an advocate of the role of empathy in medicine and discusses his passion for compassionate care in this interview. Please see his bio and website at Why do you feel that empathy is a vital part of treating a patient? Response: Over the last decade many physicians, patients and other professionals began to recognize that medical care is much more than treatment with medications or an act of surgery. Healing involves pain and suffering and dealing with psychological issues connected to the stress of being taken out of one’s normal life routine. Pain is now considered a “vital sign” and only recently it became mandatory to address it properly and document it in a medical record. Empathy in my opinion is a “vital sign” of any relationship that forms between a patient and a medical professional. When expressed genuinely, it makes a tremendous impact on patient’s overall experience and recovery. How do you define empathy in regards to medical treatment? Response: Empathy is understanding and true genuine caring. Patients and doctors create a unique and very personal relationship built on trust and “chemistry”. The doctor’s ability to express empathy, step in the patient’s shoes, get to know their life, loves, personal problems and to structure care around this unique individual enhances the patient’s belief in the route of treatment chosen and the doctor’s ability to provide a cure. Do you feel that the medical system doesn't emphasize empathy enough? Response: Doctors are trained without an emphasis on empathy. They focus on acquiring immense amounts of information that need to be learned during medical school and residency. Emotions are currently left to the side in order to succeed. The end product is often a machine that knows what to do in any medical situation but has difficulty to connect on an emotional level. I feel that empathy is also a very important step towards achieving successful outcomes because a patient will feel more invested in following the doctor's advice if he feels there is compassion and understanding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Mayo Clinic, Outcomes & Safety / 09.05.2014

MedicalResearch Interview with: Dr. David Cook MD Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology Division of Cardiovascular Anesthesiology Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery Mayo Clinic College of Medicine Rochester, Minnesota. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Cook: The main finding of the study was that segmentation of a population of surgical patients into groups of higher and lower complexity allowed us to apply a standardized practice, focused factory model to surgical care delivery. A standardized care model improved care process measures such as time on mechanical ventilation or duration of a bladder catheter indwelling. The model reduced resource utilization, decreasing patient time in all care environments (operating room, ICU and on ?the floor?). The care model improved outcomes at 30 days and reduced the costs overall and in every care environment. In addition to the absolute improvements in quality and in cost, the standardized care model reduced variation in all measured variables. That reduction in variation may be even more important than the improved outcomes or reduced costs because we now know it is possible to make the health care experience predictable for these patients. That predictability is critically important to patients and providers, but it also has implications for health care metrics and payment models. (more…)