Physician Assistant Data

The concept of the Physician Assistant gained its inspiration from 17th century Europe where feldshers were used in the 17th century Russian Army. In the 1960s, China employed over 1.3 million “barefoot doctors” to improve delivery of health care, especially in rural areas. Not until the mid 1960s did the U.S. begin to use Physician…

Health ‘breakthrough’ anxieties

Nearly every day one reads about a revolutionary new pharmaceutical or medical procedure.  Years later, however, we often learn that this ‘breakthrough’ was only a marginal improvement, had serious side effects or simply did not work.  Ellen Goodman discusses in “Health ‘breakthrough’ anxieties” how a new breast cancer drug (raloxifene) seemed to offer a better…

Nurse-Staffing Levels and the Quality of Care in Hospitals

Most people intuitively believe that having more nurses on staff at a hospital improves health outcomes. After reading Money Magazine‘s report that an average RN earns approximately $70,000 per year, relying on ‘intuition’ may not be the most appropriate manner to judge a nurse’s cost effectiveness. Do health outcomes really improve to justify this cost?…

Failure of Medical Malpractice Law

The problems with the Medical Malpractice system in the US have been well-documented. President Bush has presented proposals to cap punitive damages in malpractice litigation. Other others have decried the fact that despite a large number of negligence cases each year, very few patients bring suit to court. Below are two studies which should give…

NeuroEconomics

Nearly since its inception, the field of Economics has used preference relationships, utility functions, and complete rationality as the theoretical basis for nearly all of its major findings.  Nevertheless, while the homo oeconomicus may preform well in certain contexts, in others areas the hypothesis of completely rational humans has been found to be patently false. …

California’s stem cell initiative a waste?

In November 2004, California passed Proposition 71 which allocated $3 billion over ten years to stem cell research. Many of my friends–especially those in the medical field–strongly supported the bill. While I support stem cell research, I do not approve of the referendum system by which this bill was enacted. Spending $3 billion on unproven research…

How are German Smokers and American Savers related?

Medpage Today recently released some statistics regarding the prevalence of smoking cessation among Germans with serious health diseases (“Smokers Can’t Say No in the Face of Serious Circulatory Disease“). “…the investigators found that among those with a single disorder, the proportion of current smokers among ever-smokers ranged from 29% for myocardial infarction to 44.4% for…

Can varying co-payment rates by risk reduce cost and improve health outcomes?

A RAND study published in the American Journal of Managed Care (“Varying Pharmacy Benefits With Clinical Status: The Case of Cholesterol-lowering Therapy“) claims that managed care administrators may be able to vary pharmaceutical co-payment amounts by risk group in order to reduce cost and improve health outcomes.  Thus study looks at Cholesterol-Lowering pharmaceuticals.  Co-payments are…