Pre-Med News Roundup March 8, 2016

By: Ryan Kelly

New FDA chief will champion clinical trials. Now that Robert Califf has been voted FDA commissioner, critics worry that he’ll hand the car keys over to drug companies and let them drive their agenda. But his supporters think he'll improve the approval process and remove unnecessary industry hoops. Everyone agrees that his long-time commitment to clinical trials will guide his policy and decision making. Click the MedPage Today link to find out more.   

Hospice patients not always seen on last days. In the last 2 years, approximately 12% of hospice patients have not received a visit from professional staff during the last 2 days of life. Many would argue that this number is alarmingly high, especially given the expected sensitivity surrounding end-of-life care. This article explores correlating factors within the data in order to assess the problem and propose solutions. Click the MedPage Today link to find out more.

When cancer treatment offers more hope than cure. This heartfelt feature narrates a doctor’s story as he faces the unfortunate task of suggesting hospice to his seemingly terminal cancer patient. Even though he felt ethically justified, he compares this breach in conversation to a betrayal. After his anecdote, he uses chemotherapy as an example to theorize on the costs and power of providing hope during treatment. Click the New York Times link to find out more.

The price is wrong: the physical costs of behavioral health issues. With increasing patient complexity and rising costs (US healthcare at $3 trillion), the demands placed on physicians have increased in parallel. One possible fix is to mend the gap between physical and behavioral health within clinics. The separation makes little economic sense and decreases patient satisfaction. Enhanced integration between them is one logical target for improving the broader healthcare landscape. Click the Huffington Post link to find out more.