Pre-med News

Pre-Med News Roundup August 1, 2016

Pre-Med News Roundup August 1, 2016

By: Ryan Kelly

Naloxone Saves Lives, but is No Cure in Heroin Epidemic. Every day, thousands of people who overdose on opioids are being revived with naloxone. Hailed as a miracle drug, it carries no health risk. It cannot be abused and does no harm to non-drug users. Most likely, it saves a life. But some argue that this safety net encourages users to up the ante and seek higher highs. Click the New York Times link to learn more about the use and regulation of this “miracle drug.”

Pre-Med News Roundup May 2, 2016

Pre-Med News Roundup May 2, 2016

By: Ryan Kelly

New Medicare Rules Would Increase Bonus Opportunities, Ease Reporting. The Obama administration recently proposed two new rules: the Quality Payment Program, which gives doctors two options for getting reimbursed under Medicare. The second rule proposes changes to the highly unpopular Meaningful Use program regarding the documentation of electronic health records (EHRs). 

Pre-Med News Roundup April 4, 2016

Pre-Med News Roundup April 4, 2016

By: Ryan Kelly

Repealing Obamacare Lawmaker’s Main Mission. Democrats lauded Obama’s Affordable Care Act as a crucial step towards achieving equal access to care. But Rep. Blake Farenthold, member of the House Judiciary Committee, is now on a mission to repeal it. His goal is to incorporate reform ideas from a Republican Study Committee, such as making insurance portable and allowing plans to sell across state lines. Click the MedPage Today link to find out more.

Pre-Med News Roundup March 8, 2016

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.  

Pre-med News Roundup February 8, 2016

Pre-med News Roundup February 8, 2016

By: Ryan Kelly

Alzheimer’s advances on the horizon. For most of history, this neurodegenerative disease has puzzled scientists and left the afflicted and their loved ones in a state of emotional drain. Luckily, there is hope to better detect, diagnose, and treat the disease. This article from the San Diego Union Tribune covers the causes of Alzheimer’s and a new wave of experimental drugs and treatments. Also see the Tribune’s article about the revamping of UCSD’s Alzheimer’s program.

 

New guidelines nudge doctors to give patients access to medical records. This New York Times article discusses the Obama administration’s recent efforts to remove barriers in patients’ freedom and autonomy. The article covers the new set of guidelines and includes testimonials from both patients and healthcare professionals. Also see how patients are contributing their records toward Obama’s “precision medicine” initiative.


No antibiotics for colds and sore throats. This article in MedPage Today discusses the advice from two prominent doctors groups, urging physicians to avoid antibiotics for uncomplicated cases during the current flu season. The article includes the guidance published in the Annals of Internal Medicine and provides information about the dangers and costs of overusing antibiotics during treatment.   

Pre-Med News Roundup January 4, 2016

Pre-Med News Roundup January 4, 2016

By: Alison Herr

Medical and Health News That Stuck With Us in 2015. The New York Times has rounded up the top health and medical stories of 2015. Their top picks included Ebola, Medicare paid end of life conversations, the true costs of drugs, and many others. This is a great review of 2015.

CardioBrief: Precision Medicine Stuck in Second Grade. There is much hype around precision medicine these days, but a new study shows that genetic testing is a long way off from helping patients in a clinical setting. Researchers hope to change this with help from the NIH's Precision Medicine Initiative.

Kaiser Permanente plans to open its own medical school in 2019. The benefits of a new medical school founded by a healthcare system are the practical experiences students can have in both practitioner and administrative roles and the completely redesigned curriculum. The school will be located in Richmond, California.

Pre-Med News Roundup December 7, 2015

Pre-Med News Roundup December 7, 2015

I Am Paying for Your Expensive Medicine The New York Times editorial looks at how we value new medications versus how we pay for them.  A new effective cholesterol lowering drug would cost $14,000 per patient every year, but everyone’s insurance rates would go up to pay for the patients who require it.  Value in healthcare proponents argue that high prices should be linked to high health benefits.  

New questions require doctors to learn about military medicine The USMLE will now include questions regarding military medicine in each of its steps.  Physicians are seeing more patients with issues that disproportionately affect veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and the affects of Agent Orange, as more and more veterans are served in civilian facilities.  This also means that medical schools’ curricula will have to follow.

The Start-Up That Will Keep Health-Insurance Companies Honest Two Harvard millennials have used technology to help distill the huge amount of information that exists on health insurance to recommend the best plans for people based on their personal needs, rather than just showing them lists of options.  The website plots all the plans on a two-dimensional graph to allow customers to see what the real costs and deductibles will be at the end of the day.   

Pre-Med News Roundup October 5, 2015

Pre-Med News Roundup October 5, 2015

Medical Schools Teach Students To Talk With Patients About Care Costs  “What's the difference between cost, charge and payment?” Medical schools are helping students understand the costs of medicine through newly integrated coursework. The reason for the change is most likely high-value care or values based purchasing, which came in with the Affordable Care Act.

Pragmatic Advice For Would-Be Health Entrepreneurs From The Medicine X Conference This article takes a look at technology, entrepreneurship, and medicine.  It’s an interesting take from a tech guy who understands the world of medicine.  The author also gives a couple of great book suggestions, as well.

Top Medical Schools React to Harvard’s Curriculum Change

Pre-Med News Roundup August 31, 2015

Pre-Med News Roundup August 31, 2015

Women, minorities still underrepresented in certain medical fields Even with medical schools focusing on increasing diversity in admissions, many specialties still lack underrepresented minorities and women.  Radiology, orthopedics, and otolaryngology stand out as specialties where there's still "disproportionate underrepresentation of women and minorities.” This report looks to see what the causes of this are.

Four Strategies To Make The Practice Of Medicine Work Better -- For Both Physicians And Patients  This is a great read for anyone considering making an impact in the medical field, and it’s a great read before an interview when you’re asked how you would fix the problems in medicine today.  Here are the proposed strategies: 1) invest in public health, 2) shift from fee-for-service to pay-for-value, 3) reform medical malpractice, and 4) improve access to patient information. (This is the third in a series of three articles.)

Scientists Get One Step Closer to a Universal Flu Vaccine The flu vaccine is never 100% effective, but last year was especially off the mark.  So, when two new studies hint at a universal vaccine, people are talking.  Scientists tinkered with a piece of viral protein so it can teach immune systems to fight whole groups of viruses rather than just a single strain. Now we just need a cure for the common cold.  

Pre-Med News Roundup August 11, 2015

Pre-Med News Roundup August 11, 2015

Worries about HPV vaccine: European Union medicines agency investigating reports of rare but severe reactions Vaccines, and the HPV vaccine in particular, are hot topics in medical ethics.  Although the CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for 11 to 12 year olds, almost a third of teens have not.  So, when cases of severe reactions to vaccines hit the news, you should know the details in order to be able to discuss the risks intelligently.

Telemedicine: New and Easy Way to See the Doctor Telemedicine is being touted as the future of medicine, and a new report shows that it might help employers with savings of $6 billion in their cost of insurance premiums each year.  Other benefits include ease of access for remote patients and immediate assistance for stroke patients.  As a new doctor, technology is going to be part of your world, one way or another.

Medicare Plans to Pay Doctors for Counseling on End of Life Medicare will reimburse doctors for conversations they have with their patients about end of life issues.  This will allow patients to decide whether they would want to be kept alive if they became too sick to speak for themselves.  As the American population ages, many will be able to live longer but still suffer from grave illnesses, which will take its toll on family members, finances, and healthcare resources.  This is one of the biggest issues facing the future of healthcare.