Best ad ever?!

Love, love, love this.  More here.


“I don’t have enough time for patients; I’ll keep rich people healthy”

Interesting article on primary care physicians feeling frustrated with how rushed they are with patients and how many are opting out of basic practices.  Having seen lots of doctors (mostly pediatricians) over the years and do agree that far too many of them really are just rushed.  My kids’ pediatrician and Alex’s neurological specialists never actually like they are rushed (even if they are)– and you can believe I always have plenty of questions– that’s why they are awesome and we are fortunate.

My own physician when I first got here was great, but he left for a “concierge” medical practice where doctors get fewer patients and more money and the patients get more access to the doctor and pay way more for the privilege.  Doctors in these practices keep rich people healthy.  Okay, fine, to each their own, but this part of the article just really bugged me:

Indeed, one of the drivers of physician dissatisfaction is their sense that they are shortchanging patients: that they are too rushed, don’t have time to listen and aren’t always providing good care.

Kanovsky said he used to worry about what might have eluded him because of his relentless pace. Now that he sees fewer patients, he said, he is more relaxed — and his patients are happier, too. Working with a consultant called MDVIP, which helps doctors switch to a concierge model, he went from 1,200 patients to 400.

Alright, I don’t want to judge Kanovsky too harshly, but the idea that the solution to being rushed is to simply become a doctor for rich people only really bugs me.  As does this:

At the same time, her income lagged far behind that of her peers in specialties. Salaries of primary-care physicians were around $220,000 in 2012, according to the 2013 Medical Group Management Association’s Physician Compensation and Production Survey, while specialists were averaging close to $400,000, with cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons earning more than half a million dollars.

$220,000 is just fine for a PCP.  More than fine.  Based on international comparisons you could easily argue this is overpaid.  Just because cardiologists are even more over-paid (again, international comparisons) doesn’t mean these GP’s are exactly suffering.  I know, though, human nature.  Always comparing.

The last part of the article addresses electronic records.

Perhaps the single greatest source of frustration for many physicians is a tool that was supposed to make their lives easier: electronic medical records.

Many do not merely dislike them — they despise them, said physician Mark Friedberg, a co-author of last year’s RAND study…

But many physicians say that instead of speeding things up, digital records have slowed them down. They say the designs often frustrate meaningful interaction — with the doctor’s face often turned to the computer screen while the patient is talking…

Using electronic medical records is more time-consuming for primary-care physicians than for specialists because they often are taking more comprehensive medical histories than specialists, tracking more tests and lab results, and filling in more fields.

I don’t doubt this is true and frustrating, but again, I feel like I’ve got a decent sample size of office visits (four kids and one with a special needs will do that for you) and that my interaction with the doctors is any worse.  Yes, they do spend a lot of time entering stuff into the computer while we talk, but before they were entering stuff onto sheets of paper.  I’m sure the process could be streamlined and improved, but from this patient’s (or patient’s parent) perspective, it does not seem nearly so onerous as the article suggests.

Anyway, lots of interesting stuff to think about in this one.

Photo of the day

So, this is totally bizarre and totally awesome.  A New Yorker gallery of Malaysian rooster photos (for some reason I think JDW will totally love this):

A Serama cockerel. (Ernest Goh)

In Malaysia, a type of chicken called the Serama is bred not for consumption but for its performance abilities and look. Chicken pageants are held in villages across the country; like at dog shows, owners bring their animals and display them for minutes at a time while judges rank them according to their feathers, strut, and disposition.

Is there any point to polling on the ACA?

Okay, of course there is.  But you could almost get the same results just from reporting Party ID.  From Gallup:

The Odds of Disapproving of the Healthcare Law, 2013-2014 results

Party Affiliation of Those Who Approve and Disapprove of Healthcare Law, August 2013-March 2014

On a political level, we’ll know that the law is seriously succeeding when we see meaningful increase in the percentage of Republicans who approve.  Conversely, if Democrats begin to abandon support, safe to say the law will be in trouble.

Colbert and the power of satire

If you haven’t followed the recent controversy over Stephen Colbert, this article pretty much summarizes the whole thing.  In a segment about the name of the Washington Redskins, Colbert said he was creating “The Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”  To belabor the obvious, the point of this joke is to suggest that the name “Redskins” is just as offensive as this so obviously offensive name.  Context got lost on twitter and a bunch of people hugely over-reacted.

Colbert struck back with another great segment, but the original “hashtag activist” (naturally) just doubled-down and insisted she was right:

Park said that intent did not matter. “Well-intentioned racial humor doesn’t actually do anything to end racism or the Redskins mascot,” she told the New Yorker. “That sort of racial humor just makes people who hide under the title of progressivism more comfortable.”

Nope.  Simply not true.  I’ll be blunt here– Park is a moron.  This isn’t funny because it gives me (a liberal) permission to laugh at Asians.  This is funny because it makes fun of people defending a presumably racist nickname (though Redskins really isn’t is bad as Ching Chong Ding Dong when you examine the history).  This is not “well-intentioned racial humor.”  This is satire.  And if Park doubts the ability of satire to have any meaningful impact, she might want to google Jonathan Swift among others.

How to lie with statistics/ how to create graphics for Fox News

Obviously, this should not be news to anybody who pays attention to how Fox does things.  It’s just sad and funny.  And it doesn’t speak well of how the estimate the intelligence of their audience:

Below, via the alert watchdogs at Media Matters for America, is a graphic that Fox News posted during a broadcast on Monday. It’s pretty simple. On one side you have the number of people who had signed up for insurance via an Obamacare marketplace as of March 27, the last time the Administration offered an official number. On the other side you have the original projection, from the Congressional Budget Office, of what enrollment would be at the end of March. Here’s what it looks like:Obamacare Enrollment, via Fox News

Notice something funny? Here’s the same graphic, but with a baseline appropriately placed at zero.

Obamacare Enrollment According to Reality

It’s like the people at Fox read this awesome book and decided to use it as a guide.

And, if you’d like some intelligent discussion of these sign-up numbers, you can’t beat Jon Cohn.

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