HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - January 10, 2008 | Dr. Spendthrift View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Dr. Spendthrift
Rick Johnson, Senior Editor

The root cause of the healthcare industry's spiraling costs is the pen sitting in your white coat. After all, nearly every needless procedure, extravagant device, and useless technology that is ordered requires a doctor's signature. At least that's the rhetoric I hear from more and more hospital administrators, health plan executives, and healthcare consultants. [Read More]
  January 10, 2008

Editor's Picks
Report faults physician-owned hospitals on emergency care
Many physician-owned specialty hospitals are ill-equipped to handle emergencies, according to a new HHS report. Federal investigators found that only 55 percent of 109 physician-owned hospitals had emergency departments, and most of those only had one bed. About one-third relied on dialing 911 to get emergency medical assistance, and 22 percent had no written policies for addressing emergency cases. Physician-owned hospitals were already under heavy fire because of concerns about their financial arrangements, and with this new report raising questions about patient safety, I expect the scrutiny will intensify. [Read More]
Diagnosis 2.0
This piece raises some valid questions about why more physicians don't use computer programs to help diagnose patients. Software that correlates hard-to-diagnose symptoms with probable diseases can save patient lives and may become standard practice someday, but many physicians will have to change their attitudes about these tools first. Very few physicians use diagnostic software, in part because of overconfidence and inadequate feedback about mistakes. [Read More]
Overbooking patients can be good business
Overbooking patients may lead to greater patient satisfaction, according to a study by the University of Colorado at Boulder Leeds School of Business. That may seem counterintuitive, but researchers found that the benefits of overbooking outweighed the costs of patient waiting and staff overtime and concluded that clinics that overbook experience increased efficiency and better service. [Read More]
Practicing medicine loses its glamour
The nearly 60 percent of physicians who have considered getting out of medicine aren't just frustrated by the complexity of the healthcare system, although that's a big part of it. But this article in the New York Times points out that medicine and law aren't considered the prestigious careers they once were by the public. Instead, today's professional heroes are often college dropouts with billion-dollar Web sites. [Read More]
Half of doctors prescribe placebos
A study of Chicago internists found that almost half have prescribed a placebo to a patient, and 96 percent said they believed placebos could be therapeutic for patients. According to the research team, the use of placebos is ethically debatable--some argue that patients should know they are being given a "sugar pill." What do you think? Can placebos affect patient health? Is it ethical to prescribe them without a patient's knowledge? [Read More]
Business Rx
Physician exec compensation increasingly tied to bonuses
As the physician executive market matures, so do compensation methodologies. In many cases, this means a greater focus on bonuses tied to performance incentives. [Read More]
Physician News
Florida doctors want to charge more for copies of medical records
Orlando Sentinel - January 10, 2008
Boutique practices allow time for prevention
Cincinnati Enquirer - January 10, 2008
Canadian surgeon pleads guilty to kickbacks in United States
National Post - January 10, 2008
Washington becomes battleground over physician-assisted suicide
Crosscut - January 10, 2008
From HealthLeaders Magazine
Board on the Floor
HealthLeaders December 2007 Quality isn't just for the docs anymore. A growing emphasis on hospital quality is sparking a new governance model that requires trustees to monitor more than just the bottom line. Is your board ready to take charge? [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

The Physician Culture and Resistance to Change: Many current healthcare efforts toward "responsibility" and "accountability" have gone astray because the health system's movers and shakers fail to take into account the physician culture, says contributor Richard L. Reece, MD. [Read More]
Audio Feature

ED Coverage Strategies: Richard Salluzzo, MD, president and CEO of Wellmont Health System, discusses strategies to ensure emergency department call coverage.
Sponsor PhysicianLeaders

Contact Lisa Brown, Director of Integrated Sales, at or call 781.639.1872.
Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Keep up with the latest physician compensation news and analysis with a monthly subscription to Physician Compensation & Recruitment.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
Find practice-management ideas in The Doctor's Office, a monthly newsletter.
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