The next edition of Health Wonk Review will be hosted right here on April 15th. The themes we will be exploring in that biweekly exegesis of health wonkery include the following:
Song (esp. the blues)
Art (esp. painting, drawing)
Inventors and their contraptions
Cosmetic surgery/medical spas
Impressionist 19th century novels
And of course ...
Please submit your best examples of health wonkishness in these categories no later than 9 a.m. EDT Wednesday April 14th, thank you (extra points for early submissions), and come back on the 15th to learn more than you ever wanted to know about health care policy ... and to see the meaning of these categories revealed.
(Submit via Blog Carnival or via email to david AT
harlowgroup DOT net, re: HWR or Health Wonk Review, including blog
title and URL, post title and URL, name of author if not you, and 25
words or less about the post.)
Just catching up on the week's blog carnivals ....
Blawg Review #221 at The Complex Litigator begins with an exposition on Guy Fawkes Night, and takes us on a tour of the blawgosphere, touching on imagined Senate confirmation hearing testimony from Yoda, hamsters, and class actions.
This week's host of Grand Rounds, Doc Gurley, presents the Mystery! edition, and the HealthBlawger appears in Act Three - The Law Gets Involved; no mystery there.
And speaking of carnivals, Paul Testa at the New Health Dialogue Blog has found his calling as a carnival barker and asks us all to step right up and "wander through a spectacle that's as uniquely American as apple pie and health reform." That can mean only one thing, dear reader: Health Wonk Review.
June is bustin' out all over . . . . Lord knows my nose knows it, thanks to all the pollen in the air these days. Check out the classic movie rendition of this set piece (well worth the eight-minute investment), let your coffee and/or antihistamines kick in, and then let's dive into the past week's medblogging, loosely categorized into insights of patient bloggers, provider bloggers, bloggers I've met in real life (the number keeps growing), bloggers following the money trail through the health care thicket, and bloggers who are or should be dancing and/or shirtless (watch the whole movie clip . . . on second thought, let's leave it at dancing).
Attis was a Phrygian god, whose annual death and resurrection were mourned and celebrated at a Spring festival. (On the other hand, the death and rebirth of the Sumerian Tammuz was a summer solstice thing rather than a vernal equinox thing.) James Fraser, in The Golden Bough, wrote:
The annual death and revival of vegetation is a conception which readily presents itself to men in every stage of savagery and civilisation: and the vastness of the scale on which this ever-recurring decay and regeneration takes place, together with man's most intimate dependence on it for subsistence, combine to render it the most impressive annual occurrence in nature, at least within the temperate zones. It is no wonder that a phenomenon so important, so striking, and so universal should, by suggesting similar ideas, have given rise to similar rites in many lands.
What I best remember from The Golden Bough, though, is the tale of the king-for-a-year, who ascends the throne as a result of a cultic regicide, and ends his term the same way. Great stuff.
For further reading linking The Golden Bough, The Holy Grail, Wagner's Parsifal, and T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, check out Derrick Everett's article on The Waste Land.
I'm not certain that Rogers and Hammerstein had these themes in mind when writing Carousel. Heck, who knows what they had in mind; they threw in a happy ending that wasn't in their source material (but hey, that's show business). You, dear reader, certainly didn't have these themes in mind when you tuned in to today's edition of Grand Rounds. Nevertheless, on with today's show.
At Musings of a Distractible Mind, Dr. Rob discusses Atul Gawande's recent New Yorker piece on health care cost variations across the country
(a good read, well worth the time), which focuses on McAllen, TX, a
small border town that consumes far more than the average annual per capita
amount of health care services. Gawande loops in the Dartmouth Health
Atlas folks, asks the hard questions about physician-owned facilities and financial incentives, and concludes that outfits like Geisinger, Intermountain, Kaiser Permanente and Mayo -- not-for-profit integrated delivery systems with salaried docs -- have the model we should strive to emulate systemwide. Dr. Rob recounts his own experience with physician-owned
facilities. His conclusion is a folksy twist on Gawande's:
do we fix it? There are lots of good answers, and lots of dumb ones as
well. The bottom line is the bottom line, though. How you pay docs
will determine what happens. It’s America, after all. It’s what makes
us great. Right?
Right. The thing is, guys, we've known this for at least forty years.
ACP Hospitalist reports on Sid Wolfe's new Public Citizen campaign to get hospitals to step up reporting of physician wrongdoing. Bob Wachter, at Wachter's World, delves deeper into the problem, and says:
I’m proud to say that over the past five years, my hospital (UCSF Medical Center) has taken Leape’s challenge to heart, withdrawing clinical privileges (and filing accompanying NPDB reports) in several cases for behavior that, I’m quite confident, would have been tolerated a decade ago. This is progress. As Kissinger once said, “weakness is provocative.” As more hospitals take this tougher stance, I think we’ll see the boundaries of acceptable behavior shift everywhere. And patients will be safer for it.
Bongi, at other things amanzi, recalls a suboptimal experience in his training, when the "see one, do one, teach one" approach was reduced to "read an article about one, do one immediately afterwards."
At Providentia, Romeo Vitelli looks at the historical precursors to Jenny McCarthy and the current crop of anti-vaccinationists.
Lots of hospitals are touting new private rooms these days. Seems to help patient care (lower infection rates, better sleep, more privacy), but despite the benefits, Jeffrey Seguritan at nuts for healthcare observes that the private room is being pushed by the AIA, and wonders whether health care dollars really ought to be spent these days on capital projects such as these. (My brief response: these days, they really aren't, given the tight financial markets).
How do you [reduce health care costs dramatically]? Here's my theory. You can do more to affect health care costs by getting 10,000 people to change their lifestyle habits than you can by getting a few hundred docs to change how they document and collect data and prescribe some pills.
So here's what you do. You bribe the public. People are inherently lazy, but they respond well to piles of money.
For a fuller introduction to the X Prize competition: Scott Shreve [IRL] posted his twitterview on the X Prize with Bertalan Mesko (@berci) at Crossover Health. Learn more about it there.
The big HITECH Act pot of money that everyone in health IT is itching to get their hands on is going to have some strings attached: chief among them are going to be definitions of "meaningful use" and "certified EHR." Them that are likely to be certifying -- CCHIT -- have been the target of some possibly well-deserved pot-shots, and the gloves have come off. See Gilles Frydman's [almost met IRL at the Health 2.0 conference in
Boston a month or so ago] framing of the debate at e-patients.net and John Moore's [IRL] take at Chilmark Research.
Health technology research and development yielded two bits of news this week: FDA approval of a handheld ultrasound unit, via Vijay Sadasivam's scan man's notes, and Ves Dimov's post at Clinical Cases and Images on the Rovio - a WiFi-enabled mobile webcam, which may be more attractive to medical users given the recent study that found patient satisfaction, physician satisfaction and diagnostic agreement (measured both between face-to-face and virtual vists, and between two face-to-face visits) to be similar for face-to-face and virtual visits. (Yesterday's Boston Globe took a closer look at this study, virtual visits in general, and American Well in particular.)
The health IT crowd is working on interoperability and portability of health information. Google Health is one of the platforms that may enable folks to reach this holy grail. Brian Dolan at mobihealthnews says that Google Wave, an open-source tool for communication and collaboration, looks like a killer tool for enabling Google Health to do more in terms of provider-provider and patient-provider collaboration.
Evan Falchuk's observation at See First on prevention: it ain't cheap; treatment of preventable disease is more expensive than the savings from avoided disease and complications, so we need to be talking about more than cost-effectiveness.[Supposed to meet IRL soon.]
some reason, diabetics are very well-represented among Grand Rounds'
usual suspects. This week, they're turning into media critics as well,
following President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the
Supremes. Amy Tenderich [who I also almost met IRL at Health 2.0] touched on the media frenzy regarding the
nominee's Type 1 diabetes at The Diabetes Mine, as did Six Until Me's Kerri Morrone Sparling. Not to leave Type 2 diabetes unattended, Rachel Baumgartel offers tips for the newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic at Diabetes Daily. (For those who care to immerse themselves in The Politics of the Sotomayor Nomination, the good folks at SCOTUSblog say come on in, the water is fine.) For a taste of the difficulties faced by some diabetics traveling through airports with needles and curious liquids, head on over to Tim Brown's post at Shoot Up or Put Up.
At Getting Closer to Myself,
Leslie offers her reflections as a twentysomething with auto-immune
disease, specifically a feeling of how she can't go home again to an
idealized summer retreat.
Val Jones [IRL] is pretty pleased with her high-deductible health plan (HDHP) - cash-only PCP combo. I hope her husband is dancing after the office procedure scheduled on a dime last weekend . . . and I hope Dr. Val has all the releases for those photos stashed away somewhere. It's a good solution for those with no chronic conditions, young kids, or other sources of regular interactions with the medical-industrial complex. And no less a luminary than Clay Christensen says we're 5-6 years away from the tipping point (to mix metaphors) on HSA/HDHP combos, at which time we're likely to see a significant change in the economics of healthcare (with or without significant movement in DC). For one example of where this may play out, see my recent post on retail health clinics.
Next week's "June Is Busting Out All Over" edition will be right here at HealthBlawg. Please write your post's URL on the back of a twenty-dollar bill and mail it to the address on my home page (apologies to Click and Clack) or send it to me via email at david AT harlowgroup DOT net with "Grand Rounds" or "Twenty Bucks" in the subject line. Please include the post title, blog title and URL, and your name or nom de blog (or that of the author if not you) as well.
David Williams does his usual excellent job of rounding up the latest and greatest in the health care blogs. This week's Grand Rounds tags HealthBlawg for an exercise in summitry, which of course (?) makes me think of "fearful symmetry."
. . . and the HealthBlawger's post is served up at TBTAM's Grand Rounds as part of the main course. The Blog That Ate Manhattan . . . sounds like a monster movie from my home town. But it's not: check out this week's medical blog carnival extraordinaire.