We have reams of data showing that people’s views of the Affordable Care Act largely align with their political view – Republicans hate it, Democrats like it (but by and large don’t love it.) That’s been a consistent finding in national polls and it’s particularly clear in the monthly Kaiser Family Foundation tracking polls.
What about doctors? Are their personal politics also coloring their view of the law passed six years ago? Apparently – yes, at least among primary care doctors and nurse practitioners. Continue reading
AHCJ member Rita Rubin explores the tricky territory of working as a doctor and a journalist in a “Medical News & Perspectives” piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
She highlights several examples of physician-journalists who have walked the ethical tight rope, including Nancy Snyderman, Sanjay Gupta, Mehmet Oz, Jennifer Ashton and David Samadi. She also quotes Tom Linden, who left his medical practice to work in television news and points out how important it is to keep the two roles separate, a point he has made in the past. Continue reading
Photo: Carla K. JohnsonA panel of experts discuss health information technology at an AHCJ Chicago chapter event on March 3 in Chicago. From left: Dr. Arnold “Ned” Wagner Jr., chief medical information officer, NorthShore University HealthSystem; Dr. Diane Bradley, senior vice president, chief quality and outcomes officer, Allscripts; Eric Yablonka, vice president and chief information officer, University of Chicago Medicine; and moderator Neil Versel, an independent journalist.
Yes, technology is transforming health care. No, we haven’t come anywhere close to realizing the vision.
Smooth patient handoffs, data-driven performance improvement and real-time analytics are still mostly dreams, although those ambitions have been talked about for years.
Independent journalist Neil Versel, who specializes in health information technology, moderated a panel on March 3. The AHCJ Chicago chapter event was held at AMA Plaza, the new headquarters of the American Medical Association.
Electronic medical record systems “need to play nicer together so they can use each other’s information as if it was natively generated,” said Arnold “Ned” Wagner Jr., M.D., chief medical information officer of NorthShore University HealthSystem. “Can we talk to each other transparently? Well, partly. The success of communication depends on human behavior and (technology’s) job is to help understand the reality of what motivates people to do things.” Continue reading
This article originally appeared on ProPublica’s website.
The government’s new website on drug and device company ties to doctors will be incomplete and may be misleading – for now.
The government’s release today of a trove of data detailing drug and device companies’ payments to doctors has been widely hailed as a milestone for transparency. But it is also something else: a very limited window into the billions in industry spending. Before you dive in and search for a specific doctor, here are five caveats to keep in mind: Continue reading
One factor that makes health care costs difficult to manage is the system the federal government and health insurers use to decide how to pay physicians for the various services they deliver.
In an article in The Washington Post, “How a secretive panel uses data that distorts doctors pay,” journalists Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating explain that a committee of the American Medical Association meets in private every year to develop values for most of the services doctors perform. The AMA is the chief lobbying group for doctors.
Read more about this secretive panel and the problems that Keating and Whoriskey identified wtih the process.
When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released payment data last month, health reporters paid attention. It allowed an unprecedented look at how $77 billion of public funds have been spent.
Now, AHCJ has made the data more accessible for its members. Members can follow this link to download Microsoft Excel files by state. The page includes links to the actual files, plus links to documentation, a rundown of caveats and tips, and descriptions of the each spreadsheet column.
The data covers payment information for individual doctors and other providers for Medicare Part B services delivered in 2012 – a total of 9,153,272 records in the original data file, totaling 1.7 GB. The file covers more than 880,000 physicians and other providers who received payments from Medicare.
The comprehensive file is too large for common desktop database software, so AHCJ took the extra step of breaking down the data by state and posting the files for download, along with some tips and caveats for reporters.
The new data provide a more detailed picture of how physicians practice in the Medicare program, and the payments they receive. The data contain information on health care professionals in all 50 states – plus the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and a handful in other countries. Because of privacy concerns, the government files exclude providers who seek reimbursement for services done for 10 or fewer patients.
With these files, it will be possible to conduct a wide range of analyses that compare thousands of different services and procedures provided, as well as payments received by individual health care providers.