HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - February 28, 2008 | Dr. John Henry View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
Dr. John Henry
Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

Remember the story of John Henry? He was a folk hero who was rumored to be strongest man alive in the 19th century and the greatest steel driver to ever hit a railroad spike. He was unmatched in his talent, until a salesman came along with a steam-powered drill that he claimed could out-drill any human. Threatened by the new technology, John Henry challenged the inventor to a contest--man versus machine. This tall tale immediately came to mind when I read a story this week about a computer that is more accurate at diagnosing certain brain diseases than human doctors. [Read More]
  February 28, 2008

Editor's Picks
Aetna backs off colonoscopy change
Aetna has reversed its decision to stop paying for routine use of propofol, an anesthetic frequently used for patients undergoing a colonoscopy, according to the New York Times. The insurer claimed that, because propofol is often administered by an anesthesiologist, the drug adds $300-$1,000 to screening costs without improving outcomes. The American Gastroenterological Association and other physicians who rely on the drug view the decision as a victory, albeit a temporary one. Aetna says it expects the FDA to approve new drugs or devices that will allow it to revisit this coverage issue as early as this summer. [Read More]
Senate investigates perks for physicians
A Senate panel this week is investigating possible kickbacks to physicians from medical device companies in order to bolster support for the proposed Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The law, if passed, would require drug and medical device manufacturers to disclose how much money they give doctors through payments, gifts, honoraria, travel, funding for clinical trials, and educational grants. Read testimony given by Gregory Demske, Assistant Inspector General for Legal Affairs in the OIG. [Read More]
California doctors get $10 million bump in P4P payments
California medical groups earned $65 million in bonuses tied to pay-for-performance measures in 2007, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. Quality bonuses still average only about 2 percent of the groups' annual reimbursements, which isn't a large enough financial incentive to really improve quality. But the bonuses are on their way to becoming more substantial--the payments increased $10 million from the previous year. [Read More]
Overcoming barriers to sharing health information
This study by the Center for Studying Health System Change examined barriers to health information exchanges, highlighting physicians' concerns about losing a competitive advantage by relinquishing "control" of data. In related news, a couple of governments are doing their part to overcome some of the logistical hurdles. Tennessee is partnering with AT&T to create a statewide system to exchange patient information, and New York City has invested more than $30 million--on top of $30 million from state and federal governments--to achieve a similar goal. [Read More]
Business Rx
Customer service can make or break your practice:
Customer service is more important for some practices--plastic surgery, for example--than others, but all physician practices neglect this crucial factor at their own risk. [Read More]
Physician News
Doctors leery of online meds
Miami Herald - February 25, 2008
Malpractice insurer offers discount for e-mail, EMR use
Portland Business Journal - February 22, 2008
Shortage of physicians pinches U.S. hospitals
USA Today - February 26, 2008
Surgeon accused of speeding death to get organs
New York Times - February 27, 2008
National ePrescribing initiative collaborates with Google
PRNewswire - February 28, 2008

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From HealthLeaders Magazine
Love Thy Vendor?
HealthLeaders February 2008 Providers and IT suppliers don't get along, right? You can build a partnership of trust with your vendor--and actually get what you pay for. Here's how. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Great Group Practices: What makes a medical practice great? The difference is often a combined, strategic approach to marketing and operations that begins with leadership, says contributor Patrick T. Buckley, MPA, president and CEO of PB Healthcare Business Solutions, LLC, and author of the new HealthLeaders Media book, Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Physician Shortage: Many Questions Remain Bruce Auerbach, MD, of the Massachusetts Medical Society, talks about recent testimony he gave to Congress on the nation's looming physician shortage. [Listen Now]
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Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Start marketing your practice or refine your existing marketing program with Physician Entrepreneurs: Marketing Toolkit, a new HealthLeaders Media book that combines expert tips with marketing samples, tools, forms, and checklists that will help grow your practice.
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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