For every hour that physicians spend with patients, they spend nearly an additional two hours on electronic health record (EHR) tasks and desk work each clinic day, according to a new study published, fittingly, on Labor Day.
The study is sure to add to the debate over how much EHR tasks are contributing to physician burnout.
Many reporters have tackled the subject of physician burnout in their own communities, and physician leaders have called for more clinician support in computer and administrative tasks. Continue reading
Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association
Language and cultural barriers negatively impact the health of Hispanic Americans, federal health officials say. A lack of access to routine health services has contributed to an increase in a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and gum disease, that disproportionately affect the nation’s more than 50 million Hispanics.
An increase in Hispanic health care providers could help address the need for “culturally competent and linguistically appropriate services,” said Elena Rios, president of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA).Yet Hispanic physicians, dentists and nurses remain in short supply. Continue reading
The agency responsible for overseeing dental education in the United States is moving forward with plans to establish a national accreditation process for dental therapist training programs.
In a move that was greeted with both criticism and praise, the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) voted Aug. 7 to begin the accreditation process for programs to train non-dentists to perform certain dental procedures, including drilling and extracting teeth.
Such providers are already providing care on tribal lands in Alaska as well as in Minnesota. A number of other states are considering employing the dental therapists, who work as part of a team of providers supervised by dentists. Continue reading
In a recent editorial, The Washington Post endorsed the licensing of dental therapists to expand care to millions of Americans who lack it.
“Everyone seems to agree that there is a dental crisis in the United States, particularly among people in poor and rural areas. People who have dental insurance or the means to pay out of pocket can get a high level of care. Those without struggle,” wrote members of the newspaper’s editorial board in the July 14 piece.
In building their case, the Post editors harked back to the 2007 death of Deamonte Driver, a child on Maryland’s Medicaid program who died after his abscessed tooth went untreated. (I covered his story when I worked at the Post).
While Maryland has made some progress in getting more dental care to underserved people, including Medicaid patients, the Post editors noted “the situation across the country has not dramatically improved.” Continue reading
The first in-depth look at long term care services in the United States was released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics.
“Long-Term Care Services in the United States: 2013 Overview” (PDF) analyzes supply, organizational characteristics, staffing and services offered by providers of long-term care services provided to some 8 million people in 2012. These findings establish a baseline for monitoring trends and effects of policy changes within and across the major sectors of long-term care services as policy makers, providers, researchers and advocates look to meet the needs of an aging population.
Key findings include : Continue reading
Conan Murat, one of Alaska’s first dental health aide therapists, provides a first-person perspective on providing oral health care to his fellow Native Alaskans on the isolated Yukon-Kuskokwim delta in this month’s issue of Health Affairs.
One of the perks of belonging to the Association of Health Care Journalists is free access to online versions of a number of useful journals. Health Affairs is one of those and the November issue is dedicated to the theme of “Redesigning the Health Care Workforce.”
In one piece, “How to Close the Physician Gap,” the authors suggest that registered nurses and pharmacists could help address the disparity between the demand for primary care services and the number of physicians available to provide the care. Another looks at meeting growing health care needs through the wider use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
But Murat’s piece weighs in on another health care workforce issue that touches the lives of millions of Americans: the shortage of dental providers. Continue reading