Another VA lesson — Healthcare needs to stop being like flying business class

The VA healthcare story has me thinking about the good aspects of delays in medical therapy. Typical American intuitive thinking holds that healthcare waiting lists are a bad thing. The two central tenets of this mindset are that healthcare brings health, and most of medicine is as time sensitive as cardiac arrest or heart attack. […]

The VA healthcare system — Can we handle the truth?

Memorial Day weekend is an apt time to consider the recent accusations of wrongdoing in the VA healthcare system. It’s an opportunity to face the truth. As a free American, I am connected to veterans. It has always been remarkable that young people give their life or health for their country, but now, in this […]

Struggling with the (relative) value of humanistic medical care –

I just arrived in San Francisco. I am here for the 2014 Heart Rhythm Society sessions. The meeting begins today. A poster session this evening is overflowing with notable studies. Stay tuned. I’ll be working hard for theheart.org to bring you the best stories. First, though, here’s a little appetizer. On the eve of the […]

A follow-up on the LifeVest…and decision quality

One of the most controversial posts I have ever written concerned Zoll corporation’s wearable cardiac defibrillator, which they have smartly branded the LifeVest. Here is the link to the 2013 post: LifeVest: A Precarious and Unproven Bridge . . . to Somewhere The less-than-glowing assessment brought me a great deal of criticism, both publicly and […]

Dear Girl Scouts: It’s time to cut out the cookies

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It happened while I was leaving a grocery store in the southeastern United States. The young girl who asked me if I wanted to buy Girl Scout cookies was strikingly perfect. She was thin, happy, and well spoken. So were her colleagues. The moms, too, were of healthy weight and cheer. It was as if […]

The simple reason the medical-home study failed…

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This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a comprehensive study that has major health implications. Major because the negative findings should change how Americans think about health and healthcare. Plus, the findings validate a belief this doctor holds as truth. First my belief, then the study. One blog is enough for […]

Dronedarone (Multaq), clinical guidelines and patient safety

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(What follows is a brief introduction for a post I wrote over at Medscape/Cardiology. The link is at the bottom of the page.)  It is appropriate to worry about medical errors and patient safety. Here the low-hanging fruit is plentiful: antibiotic stewardship, automated notification of drug interactions and attention to hand washing all join a […]

The truth about early diagnosis — this is more than just a Mammogram story

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The British Medical Journal published a monumental study on screening mammography this week. It’s garnered a ton of media coverage because the findings provocatively question the sacrosanct idea that early detection of breast cancer saves lives. Imagine that…Imagine if the entire pink machine was misguided. Of course, for people who have been willing to squint […]

NSAIDs — Yet another dubious “health” product at CVS

Now that the ‘healthiness’ of products sold at CVS stores is a matter of public discourse, it seems a perfect time to mention the common pain relievers known as Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). It just so happens that two FDA advisory committees are meeting today and tomorrow to discuss the cardiovascular risks of NSAIDs. The […]

The CVS tobacco decision is no small thing — Keep the chips and soda please

Yesterday, CVS Caremark announced that its 7600 stores will stop selling tobacco products. Company leadership said that selling tobacco is not consistent with being a health company. This decision, which takes effect in October 2014, will result in 2 billion less revenue. I am no business person, (though, as an observer of humans, I follow […]

When doctors meet with hospital administrators…

The meeting was remarkable. It’s not normal to get nine cardiologists to sit down with this many important hospital people. There was a CEO and CFO, two vice presidents, and a ‘consultant,’ a man who sported a nice suit but said no words. We gathered to discuss major issues in healthcare, things like budgets, pro […]