HealthLeaders Media PhysicianLeaders - April 15, 2010 | A Doctor's IT Prescription View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
A Doctor's IT Prescription
Joe Cantlupe, Senior Editor

David Blumenthal, MD, has spent countless hours over his career using paper—writing down procedures, medication prescriptions, and evaluating x-rays. Through the years, he resisted technology. In fact, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for HHS says his wife still runs the computers at home. "My wife actually thinks it's a huge failure in vetting that I have this job," he joked about his overall skills. He spoke a few weeks ago to members of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative about how he was forced by peer pressure to embrace technology and for that, he's a better physician. His message is instructive to physicians everywhere, especially those who are resistant to change. [Read More]
  April 15, 2010

Editor's Picks
Cost of Medical Care Outstrips Inflation
The cost of hospital services, which grew by 1.1% in March and 8.6% in the last 12 months, almost quadruple the 2.3% increase in the overall Consumer Price Index for the same period, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. A further breakdown shows that the cost of hospital inpatient and outpatient services rose for the past year. [Read More]
CMS Anesthesia Guidelines Completely Rewrite Former Standards
A recent round of edits to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' interpretive guidelines has caught the attention of experts in the field for its focus on anesthesia. Any hospital that accepts Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement must follow these interpretive guidelines, explains Sue Dill Calloway, RN, MSN, JD, director of hospital risk management for The Doctor's Company, in Columbus, OH. [Read More]
Wide Gaps Remain in Quality of Care, Says AHRQ
Despite much more attention to the issue of patient safety, rates of postoperative sepsis—or bloodstream infections—increased in the U.S. by 8% between 2009 and 2008, according to one of two new lengthy reports issued by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. [Read More]
Free EMRs: Too Good to be True?
When Allison Blazek, MD, left MD Anderson Cancer Center to open her private practice in June 2008, she figured EMRs, rather than paper, made the most sense. After talking with vendors and pricing EMRs, however, Blazek began thinking paper records might be the wiser option after all. "All of them were going to be tens of thousands of dollars, and I would have to close my practice for a week, and for some I would have to pay for the training," she says. Then, Blazek heard about San Francisco-based Practice Fusion, which offers a free Web-based EMR system. The company is funded by advertising so that when a physician uses the EMR, similar to Google's AdSense program, the system recognizes keywords and sends condition-specific ads from insurers, medical equipment suppliers, and pharmaceutical companies to the EMR page. [Read More]
Leapfrog: Hospital Quality Still Lagging
While hospital quality in selected categories showed some improvement from the previous year, it still is not where it should be—with waste also remaining a major problem, according to the results of the latest 2009 hospital survey released on Tuesday by the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization representing major private and public purchasers of healthcare benefits. [Read More]
Time to Tell Your Leadership Team's Story
The deadline is approaching to enter the seventh annual Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare Awards—a program that celebrates stories of great healthcare leadership in hospitals, health plans, and medical group practices. There are five categories: large hospitals and health systems (500 or more licensed beds); community and mid-sized hospitals (100 to 499 licensed beds); small hospitals (fewer than 100 licensed beds); health plans (state, regional, and national); and medical group practices (physician-owned, single- or multi-specialty groups employing 25 or more physicians). Winners will be announced nationally and profiled in an issue of HealthLeaders magazine. [Learn More]
Business Rx
Practice Board Meeting: What's on the Agenda? What's Not?
Depending on how well they are organized, board meetings can provide vital monthly or quarterly face-to-face time among the decision-makers to keep your physician practice running smoothly. Or they can devolve into a cat rodeo—a huge waste of time and energy where very well-educated, opinionated, highly trained professionals find themselves arguing over the everyday and trivial issues that should be solved on the middle-management level. [Read More]
Physician News
Looming Medicare Pay Cuts May Be Unavoidable, Says AAFP
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media - April 13, 2010
Data on fees to doctors is called hard to parse
New York Times - April 13, 2010
7 Hospitals Fined for Immediate Jeopardy Mistakes
Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media - April 14, 2010
Hospital infection problem persists
New York Times - April 14, 2010
CVS to double in-store clinics after healthcare law
Bloomberg News/Business Week - April 14, 2010
Breaking down the barriers to EMR exchange
Wall Street Journal - April 14, 2010
Interventional radiology offers a less-invasive alternative to some surgeries
Wall Street Journal - April 14, 2010

Audio Conferences/Webcasts
April 22: Neuroscience Service Lines Strategies
May 13: Integrated Compensation Plans to Enhance Physician Performance
May 19: Five Proven Steps to Improve Patient Satisfaction Scores
June 2: Seamless Systems of Care: Better Alignment, Coordination, and Outcomes

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Split Decisions
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While reforms aim to encourage coordination, linking the care continuum will happen at the service line level. But first providers will have to change their relationships, and how they think about care delivery. [Read More]
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PhysicianLeaders Forum

How Tweeting and Friending Can Benefit Doctor-Patient Communication: Patients friending doctors and vice versa is more than a moral dilemma—it's a public relations one. That's not to say, however, that social media can't be used to further the doctor-patient relationship—so long as there are certain boundaries. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Strategies for Reducing Drug Spending: Find out how Virginia Commonwealth University Health System saved $2.5 million annually from its outpatient drug spending by working with a non-profit group to qualify more patients for their appropriate prescription benefits and reducing their drug purchase costs through bulk purchasing. [Listen Now]
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