If 1 in 25 Hospital Patients Get An Infection, Then Let’s Keep People Out Of The Hospital

Healthcare technology continues to advance, but the CDC has new estimates on where infection rates aren’t falling — hospitals.

About one in 25 hospital patients in the U.S. pick up an infection during their care, according to a new estimate from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Direct Care Docs Left The Healthcare Blues Behind. Then John Stewart Sang Them.

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If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, check out this comedy round-up from The Atlantic. At the 1:30 mark, John Stewart decries Obamacare and its endless woes with a montage of politicians determined to save the monstrosity. You won’t believe how many times various proponents have uttered the phrase “Fix it. Don’t nix it.” in front of a camera. Is this our government’s way of fixing healthcare? Rhyming idealism? To be fair, we are visionaries, too. But as direct care practitioners, we spend less time trying to make our desires rhyme, and more time just making them a reality.

The Clash Of The Titans Or David & Goliath? Apple And Google Revolutionize Digital Healthcare

The Clash Of The Titans Or David & Goliath? Apple And Google Revolutionize Digital Healthcare

Bionic.ly put together a rather comprehensive list of Apple’s and Google’s digital healthcare milestones on their website. Even if you aren’t going to use or purchase all of them, it’s worth considering as we gain traction on the ever-changing healthcare landscape. For sure, it’s exciting. Startups are rushing to the market, both disrupting existing products — our Atlas.md EMR could definitely be considered a disruptive technology — and reifying existing problems e.g. digital EMRs that help doctors navigate exponentially crippling ICD-10 codes.

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Healthcare Spending On The Decline

Healthcare Spending On The Decline

When we got to this article, we crossed our fingers that it wasn’t some slanted link bait. The New York Times is actually reporting that healthcare is already slowing down growth on the U.S. economy. Thank you, Obamacare! Healthcare has been a sector known to help the economy recover from recession. And now, it’s lagging behind. Some facts to consider courtesy of the Times:

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17 Game-Changing Health Start-ups (And 5 Brought To You By Red Tape)

17 Game-Changing Health Start-ups (And 5 Brought To You By Red Tape)

Inc.com claims you can find everything you need to know to start and grow your business now. They published a slideshow of 17 promising healthcare startups and we noticed some trends: fitness is big, which makes sense. If we get more people moving, we get fewer people coming in for preventative care — heart attacks, obesity, Type-II diabetes. However, we also noticed how much inspiration for entrepreneurship stemmed from red tape.

Here are some slideshow highlights:

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LISTEN: Atlas.md Podcast, Ep. 13

LISTEN: Atlas.md Podcast, Ep. 13

Happy New Year! The direct care duo starts 2014 with good news and exciting updates. We’re happy to report that we’ve been consulted by Kansas University; in the near future, more students will be getting a glimpse into the world of insurance-free medicine through their curriculum. International pins were placed on the I Want Direct Care map (including clinics and patients in the U.K., Vietnam, Argentina, and more). And a humblebrag warning: we were interviewed by Harvard Business Review, so keep an eye out for that.

LISTEN TO EPISODE 13 OF THE ATLAS MD PODCAST HERE

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The Free Market Can Be A Crazy Place

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Wow. We’re pretty sure that most of our staff, and patients, haven’t bought trackers for their pets’ activity levels. Although, I guess if they really wanted to, they could attach a FitBit to an animal and send us the results via Atlas.md. Either way, a proprietor entered this niche market because they believed some people would buy it. Given the restricted nature of healthcare, it’s nice to be reminded that the free market is still ticking, oddities and all.

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 9, 2014

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Is The Answer To The Doctor Shortage In Our Pocket?

Is The Answer To The Doctor Shortage In Our Pocket?

BlueStar, a prescription-only smartphone app, is hitting the market this year. They’re banking on consumers who want to get medical advice directly from their phone. According to a Quartz article, the app was created by app-maker WellDoc and is the first to require a doctor’s prescription. Anyone can download the app but a prescription code provided by a pharmacy is required to use it. The cost varies by prescription, but is predicted to go much higher than $100 per month.

Since 2010 the app has been helping people with type 2 diabetes, by nudging them to check their blood sugar levels, reiterating tactics to moderate levels, and offering periodic advice. For instance, it might remind patients when to eat or commend them for tracking their glucose levels routinely.

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The Moral Hazard Of American Healthcare

John F. Hunt, MD writes on Kevin MD, “If you learn nothing else today, I would ask you to learn that moral hazard is the cause of medical price hyperinflation.” His is a controversial post, meant to elicit click-through with the title, “The cheapest form of health care is to let sick people die.”

Obviously, Dr. Hunt doesn’t want anyone to die. However, his argument is that so long as it’s the government’s obligation to take care of people, prices will skyrocket. This is due in part to the inherent moral hazard. He explains, “Moral hazard is when the person who bears the economic burden of a decision is not the decision maker.” In healthcare, the moral hazard is a third party payer (insurance/government) bearing the economic consequences of a patient’s decision.

Dr. Hunt makes an excellent point. When there’s moral hazard, the patient cares less about drug and procedure cost, and what doctors charge. As a result, he says, prices rise when the “buyer” doesn’t care about these costs. He compares this to teens given no-reins access to their parents’ credit card. “[Then] if everyone in America let their teenage daughters go shopping for clothes… the prices would skyrocket.”

He explains the catch-22 in play here. So long as the government/insurance are responsible for payment, the actual prices of services will be hyper-inflated. The only way to break this cycle is to make the patient the person who bears full financial responsibility. The problem is that we as a populace need to make that leap of faith. Direct care patients are doing this. Direct care docs are doing this. The question is when will everyone be doing this? Only then will we see prices return to realistic levels. Seriously, the out-of-pocket cost of an ambulance trip alone would break most Americans’ banks.

READ DR. HUNT’S BLOG POST ON KEVIN MD