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Will Feeding Watson $3 Billion Worth Of Healthcare Payment Data Improve Its Decisions? Print E-mail
Written by Ross Koppel & Frank Meissner, MD | The Health Care Blog   
Friday, 26 February 2016 00:00

On Feb 18, IBM announced its purchase of Truven Health Analytics for $2.6 billion. Truven collects and crunches payer data on medical costs and treatments. IBM will combine Truven's data with recent other data acquisitions from the Cleveland Clinic's "Explorys" and from Phytel, a software company that manages patient data. These data sets will be fed to Watson's artificial intelligence engine in hope of helping doctors and administrators improve care and reducing costs. Truven's data reflects more than 200 million patients' payment records. Collectively, Watson will now have access to healthcare data on about 300 million patients.

Our question is whether healthcare payer data are so inaccurate and, worse, biased, that they are more likely to mislead than guide?

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How Good Medicine Has Become the Exception Print E-mail
Written by Jordan Grumet, MD   
Thursday, 18 February 2016 00:00

Joe had one of the best geriatricians in the city. So when he got a call from the pharmacist saying his new prescription was ready, he assumed that it had to do with his recent annual visit and blood draw. His suspicions were confirmed, a few minutes later, when he got through to the nurse at the office.
 
Joe was politely informed that he had high cholesterol and was being put on a statin. Although he hung up the phone satisfied and raced out to the pharmacy to pick up his new pills, a casual observer might find a few things concerning.
 
Neither the doctor nor the nurse actually talked to Joe about the significance of high cholesterol. No one bothered to discuss with him the risks and benefits of statin medications. There was no mention of side effects or complications. No joint decision making. And certainly no consideration of a trial of diet and exercise.

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A Legal Look at the Healthcare Landscape in '16 Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Cohen, JD   
Thursday, 04 February 2016 00:00

Physicians are subject to the brunt of changing healthcare marketplace dynamics. But they're in the absolute best position to take leadership and benefit from doing so!

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My father is no longer a practicing neurologist, but he is forever a doctor Print E-mail
Written by Shoshana Weiner | KevinMD   
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 18:54

Curiosity and apprehension. I experience this tension as a young man ushers me through large daunting doors with "Authorized Personnel Only" posted in bold red letters. Inside, a massive machine dominates the room, and yet my focus turns to the patient lying on the table, face covered in a white mask holding his head still while the technician targets the malignant brain tumor.

"All right in there?" the specialist asks, and the patient, mouth sealed by the mask, gives a thumbs up.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2016 19:01
 
Doctors, He Felt, Were No Longer Helping People Print E-mail
Written by Jordan Grumet, MD   
Saturday, 16 January 2016 13:37

It was never his intention that the name would stick. A decade ago, when he first began working in the restaurant, some of his fellow employees knew that he was formerly a practicing physician and started to call him "Doc". Although many of his coworkers had since moved on, taking the knowledge of his previous profession with them, his moniker persisted.

Doc liked the simplicity and tedium of his bartending job. He spent the majority of his nights doing what he liked most, interacting with fellow human beings. He remembered a time when medicine offered such enticing rewards.

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A short take of the big stories in cardiology in 2015 Print E-mail
Written by Dr. John M   
Friday, 01 January 2016 15:09

What follows below is a short-writing summary of my ten picks.  The hyperlinks go to earlier columns I wrote on the topic....

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Last Updated on Sunday, 10 January 2016 16:23
 
Pharmaceutical free speech is anything but free Print E-mail
Written by Kenneth Lin, MD | KevinMD   
Wednesday, 30 December 2015 00:00

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently called for a ban on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices, arguing that this type of advertising drives the nation's escalating drug bill by creating demand for new, expensive medications that are often no more effective than older ones. Since the first televised prescription drug ad aired in the U.S. in 1983, pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars on DTC advertising, including $4.8 billion in 2014. The ads are worth every penny. According to Kantar Media, 76 percent of Americans have seen at least one DTC ad on television in the past 12 months, and 1 of 3 who viewed these ads took some action as a result.

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Last Updated on Friday, 01 January 2016 15:21
 
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