Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.
Price's Travel Habits under Scrutiny
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD is facing scrutiny from various directions for his use of private charter planes to travel across the country. When asked about Price's travel, which according to Politico has cost taxpayers more than $1 million since May, President Donald Trump said he was not happy about it. When asked of Price's potential dismissal as the top health official in the country, Trump said, "We'll see." Democratic members of the House, where Price used to be a Congressmen, have called on the Secretary to resign. Price has promised to reimburse for part of the cost, specifically $51,887.31, which is the price of his seat on these charter flights. However, some like Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) are saying that's not sufficient enough because the cost of the flight, security detail, and support staff should be covered, since they were required to go at Price's request.
Survey: Health Professionals Use EHR Improperly
A majority of medical professionals have admitted to accessing an EHR system using a password improperly supplied by a fellow medical staffer, according to a new study from researchers from universities in Israel and the U.S. Published in Healthcare Informatics Research, the study looked at how 299 medical professionals, including residents, medical students, interns, and nurses, access and use EHR systems. Researchers found that 73 percent of the participants claimed to have used another medical staff member's password to access an EHR at work. Approximately 57 percent of participants estimated they have used someone else's password an average of 4.75 times. Doing so violates HIPAA in the U.S. and International Standards Organization (ISO) criteria in Israel.
"Enough is Enough"
Stephen C. Schimpff, MD says it's time for people to realize that primary-care physicians need more time with their patients, he writes on Medical Economics. He says primary-care physicians are limited to 15 minutes with their patients, which is not enough. "Certainly, 15 minutes is not enough time for an elderly patient with impaired vision, hearing or cognition, nor for the patient with multiple chronic illnesses and on multiple prescription medications now presenting with a new problem," he writes. Schimpff writes that it's time for insurers to realize that using price controls on reimbursement and adding extraneous work requirements has led physicians to this difficult spot. It's time for insurers to look for models that allow physicians more time with the patient.
Quote of the week:
"They want a fixed schedule of patients with no walk-ins or emergency patients. They have no interest in learning how to run a practice; buying supplies; hiring and firing employees, or office accounting. Why do all this when you can get a pay check from the hospital with no other effort? We have trained a generation of physicians who want a job not a profession. How sad is that?"
Daniel Hoffman, MD