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How the Economy
Could Impact Physicians

Elyas Bakhtiari, Managing Editor

Healthcare is often said to be the most recession-proof industry—people get sick regardless of what's going on in the economy and can rely on publicly-funded safety net programs if worse comes to worst, after all. But healthcare is not completely immune to tough economic times. [Read More]
  October 2, 2008

Editor's Picks
Are doctors hypocrites?
BusinessWeek asks that very provocative question as part of a debate (that it is instigating) over whether doctors are "glorified merchants" or benevolent professionals deserving greater respect. One side argues that today's doctors put their pocketbooks first and patients second. The other points to the years of training and long hours doctors put in to make the case that medicine is still an art and doctors are underappreciated. Blogger Kevin Pho weighs in and says the problem is the game, not the players—physicians may focus on revenue, but only because they have adapted to incentives in the industry. What do you think? [Read More]
Roving physicians ease shortage
Kaiser Permanente has found an innovative way to reduce waits and alleviate problems caused by a shortage of dermatologists. It has created a program of "roving physicians" who are armed with cell phones and respond to primary care consultation requests immediately. The average wait to see dermatologists in the United States is more than 33 days, but these roving doctors can provide same-day assessments of biopsies and skin lesions. Is this a model that could take hold across the industry? Maybe this is the next evolution in physician's practice styles. [Read More]
You need docs, they need visas
Evidence continues to mount suggesting that U.S.-trained doctors simply aren't that interested in working in rural areas. And that's why international medical graduates are so crucial to addressing shortages in small towns. This New York Times piece highlights some of the challenges they face, however. The J-1 visa requires doctors to return to their home country after two years unless they can get a waiver to work in a medically underserved area. If you're in one of these facilities and aren't sponsoring visas, you're missing out on a large pool of eager, talented physicians. [Read More]
Doctor diagnoses executive physicals
Brian Rank, MD, takes executive physicals—personalized evaluations costing $2,000 or more—to task in this week's New England Journal of Medicine. These elaborate physicals promote the faulty notion that "more is better" when it comes to medical care (and that more expensive is better), he says. Defenders counter that the higher cost has a lot to do with convenience, rather than care. Given the reimbursement climate, it's easy enough to see why some physicians like the more expensive alternative. [Read More]
Business Rx
Communication is Key to Ensuring Accurate Medical Records:
To ensure the safety of patients and eliminate potential liabilities for practices and hospitals, medical records cannot be overlooked. More organized recordkeeping is crucial in the fight for accuracy, and that requires good communication between all parties. [Read More]
Physician News
No doctor for old men
The Denver Post - October 2, 2008
Under settlement, Cephalon will disclose doctor payments
Wall Street Journal (subscription required) - September 30, 2008
Doctors learn dollars, cents of healthcare
The Tennessean - September 29, 2008
Medicare won't pay for medical errors
New York Times - October 1, 2008
October 7, 2008: Physician Compensation Planning: Key Techniques for End-of-Year Evaluations
On Demand: Recruiting Today's Physician: Competitive Compensation Packages and Practice Structures
On Demand: OR Overhaul: 5 Surgical Site Improvements Every Leader Should Make Today
From HealthLeaders Magazine
10 Events That Could Change Healthcare
HealthLeaders February 2008
No one knows what the future holds, but several scenarios could significantly alter the healthcare landscape. Get ready. [Read More]
PhysicianLeaders Forum

Will Primary Care Be Re-Empowered by an Ailing Economy? Contributors Richard Reece, MD, and Brian Klepper, PhD, offer examples of how businesses, rather than government agencies, are leading the way in healthcare reform. The current financial crisis, they argue, might push reform forward even faster, but only after causing further damage to healthcare markets. [Read More]
Audio Feature

IT in the OR: David Palmer, president and CEO of ClearCount Medical Solutions, talks about using technology to prevent medical errors in the operating room. [Listen Now]
Sponsor PhysicianLeaders

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Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Improve patient satisfaction, CAHPS scores, and quality with the strategies and tools in Physician Entrepreneurs: The Quality Patient Experience..
Learn how to harness the power of a large organization, either by expanding the practice or partnering with hospitals, private investors, or other physician groups, with Physician Entrepreneurs: Strength in Numbers.
Read about the latest business strategies to help you grow beyond traditional practice models in Physician Entrepreneurs: Going Retail.
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.
Find practice-management ideas in The Doctor's Office, a monthly newsletter.