Category Archives: Medications

When it comes to health, what numbers do most of us REALLY need to know? Entry 12 – 2010

In a 2009 study of a heart disease risk, low-income women were screened at baseline for hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes (1). Participants were given their biometric “numbers” by their physicians at the time of screening. One year later, researchers asked the women about their risk status. A majority of high-risk women reported that they… Continue Reading

Implementing evidence-based care? Only if consumers demand it. Entry 4 – 2010.

Three years ago, in January 2007, we wrote a blog (1) about a new “blockbuster” study, the findings of which should have revolutionized cardiology. Results showed that the common procedure of placing “stents” inside heart vessels (at a cost of $15,000 or more each) was no more effective for stable patients, and sometimes more harmful,… Continue Reading

Openness to new ideas: the only cure then and now. Entry 24, 2009

It is not hard to learn more. What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong (1). ~Martin H. Fischer In the frightening time of the Black Plague, many held strong beliefs about how the disease spread. Clergy claimed it was a punishment directly from God; Hippocratic physicians said it was an imbalance… Continue Reading

How much does health drive healthcare costs anyway? Entry 20 – 2009

When medical and disability costs are high, conventional wisdom assumes there must be more illness driving up costs, right? But how much of total cost can we actually attribute to health status versus other things? Four Parts There are actually four driving components of health and absence cost, the first three of which we’ll cover… Continue Reading

What patients should be fighting for: Control of both dollars and decisions. Entry 19 -2009

If those who have the money are the ones with decision-making power, why not let patients have both? As government and insurers debate over who should grant permission to doctors about which treatments and care regimens are acceptable, why not award ultimate control to the person in the best position to decide—i.e., the person receiving… Continue Reading

The best prevention doesn’t come from doctors, it comes from your everyday life. Entry 16 – 2009

I know someone, Jane, who goes to the doctor all the time. She has every ache, bump, rash or other symptom seen by a physician, usually a specialist. Jane often starts a statement with “my (insert a specialist type like orthopedic surgeon) says….” She is vigilant about regular check-ups and timely screening tests, which in… Continue Reading

When a problem goes beyond illness, the solution must go beyond medicine. Entry 10 – 2009

Trivia Question: The following three questions are part of a screening that is more than 80% accurate at predicting what? (Clue—this is not about life satisfaction or stress). 1) Would you describe your work as monotonous? 2) How satisfied are you with your job? 3) How tense or anxious have you been in the past… Continue Reading

Supporting the whole person, rather than just fixing his parts. Entry 6 – 2009.

In our research for both public and private employers, we find that the top 5% of healthcare consumers in any group cost more than the other 95% combined. They get an amazing amount of healthcare services; the top one percent average 20 different doctors, 20 unique medications (not refills), 60 tests, and 15 procedures in… Continue Reading

It’s not more medical tests we should be fighting for, but more information and choice. Entry 4 – 2008

At least once a month, I hear about or receive a pass-along email regarding a medical test someone is “fighting for.” An advocacy group may be demanding a legislative mandate to have insurance cover their issue, or a patient fighting to have his insurance company approve payment for a specific procedure in a unique situation.… Continue Reading

Should you pay less for health care if you are sicker? Opening a can of incentive worms – Entry 6, 2006

In the January issue of the American Journal of Managed Care, a group of reputable researchers suggested a novel health payment strategy.* To get the most from our investments in pharmaceuticals (in this case treatments for high cholesterol), the authors reason that it is most beneficial to encourage high compliance from the sickest people. First,… Continue Reading