policy

To Be or Not to Be? That is the Question of M4

Medical school is an extremely difficult endeavor that requires a true passion for its pursuit. Often, this passion is challenged by the sacrifice and struggle that come with a career in medicine. Many of the our contributors have discussed the deterrents , such as substantial student debt, lack of residency positions and the long and rigorous path to become a practicing physician. Still, each year, thousands of applicants are turned away from medical schools, and hundreds of graduating medical students are turned away from residency programs. So it’s clear that are there are enough people who want to go into medicine, and the problem with these deterrents is that they wear down medical students and doctors, often leading to hostile attitudes and negative incentives. Right now, America needs good doctors more than ever. Under the Affordable Care Act, almost 30 million more Americans will gain health insurance, so where are we getting the doctors to address this demand for care? Yes, medical school class sizes are growing, but residency positions are not. Healthcare is reforming so why shouldn’t medical education? A recent article in Kaiser Health News reported on medical schools that are creating accelerated programs, reducing medical school from 4 to 3 years. Some policymakers and medical school administrators believe that reducing medical school to 3 years is a great way to produce more doctors. Others argue that...

What Started Out as Revenge for One Doc Has Turned into Something Beautiful

They didn’t believe we’d do it. But we did it. Turntable Health is open for bid-ness. For REAL tho. We had an insane grand opening. We got a day named after us. And the ZPupp helped cut the cord. And there was all kinds of press, including Morgan Spurlock all up in our grillz. And now that we’re humming, it’s time to get back to the rap game. For REAL tho. Stay...

“There’s Something Else…” Incidental Findings and the Modern Physician

Last month, The Atlantic published a great piece on the phenomenon of incidental findings uncovered during routine medical exams. It’s not all that uncommon; some reports state that incidental findings show up in ⅓ of CT scans. I myself had an abdominal CT scan several years ago and the radiologist found that I have a second spleen; clinically referred to as an “accessory spleen” (which makes me imagine it as a little spleen purse that my spleen has slung over it’s shoulder). Incidental findings that are benign — like a spleen purse — are pretty neutral; no additional tests required, no monitoring, no surgery. Just something fun to share at parties. But other findings, like tumors, can lead patients and doctors down a treacherous (and pricey) path. The fact that incidental findings get uncovered isn’t the issue; defensive medicine is what complicates it. Even if a doctor can say, with resounding confidence, that an incidental finding is not going to pose a problem for the patient, they have to order a slew of tests in order to save themselves from a potential lawsuit down the road. This puts stress on not just the physician, but the patient too, particularly if they’re uninsured. And should the patient choose to forgo the tests, the emotional strain of asking “what if?” can lead to depression, anxiety and all the associated health problems those conditions present. To Scan...

This Short Video Will Change the Way You Look at Healthcare… and Low Budget Commercials

ZDoggMD wanted to make a commercial for Turntable Health. But then, he looked at his budget. Turntable Health is a a membership-based primary care and wellness ecosystem focused on everything that keeps patients healthy. It’s a really terrific idea, springboarded by the efforts of ZDoggMD in downtown Las Vegas and definitely worth checking...

Hep C Outbreak at Exeter Hospital; It Could Have Been Your Hospital

At Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, a patient and hospital’s worst nightmare is drawing to a close. The lab technician accused of reusing needles on patients, and transmitting Hep C to at least 45 of them, has been sentenced to 39 years in prison. David Kwiatkowski is a drug addict. He admitted to stealing drug-filled syringes from the hospital, using syringes to inject himself, and then replacing the drug with saline tainted with his blood. Kwiatkowski, thus, transmitted his blood to the intended recipients of the drug. Kwiatkowski has Hepatitis C. A quick refresher: Hep C attacks the liver, sometimes causing few to no symptoms until cirrhosis and jaundice have set in. It’s a virus, and it is treatable, but many people who are infected don’t know that they are. And some, like Kwiatkowski, know that they are infected but still engage in risky behaviors that allow the virus to spread. Hep C does a number on the liver, and most people who have it have the chronic form which causes damage, and even cancer, over time. So, for the patients at Exeter Hospital who were exposed, Hep C could literally be a death sentence. Kwiatkowski’s motivations were purely fueled by his drug addiction – and misguided attempts to cover up the problem. According to his statement in court, he used the syringes to infect himself with Fentanyl, a...

What Does the Doc Say? A ZDogg Parody

What does the Doc say? Finally a parody on “What does the Fox say?” for med students! see more my ZDoggMD here. Featured image is a screen shot from the video...

Is This the End of 23andMe?

NPR reported this morning that the FDA is hating, big time, on 23andMe, the personal genome service founded by Anne Wojcicki. Apparently, this feud has been ongoing for several years. 23andMe provides customers with a smattering of genetic data for the low-low price of $99…and a tube of their spit. The genetic information gleaned from the report runs the gamut from fun and random qualities, like being able to smell asparagus-pee, to more serious ones, such as carrier status of many major genetic diseases. You may recall that I actually partook in 23andMe’s services earlier this year. I went in to the experience with fairly low expectations and, admittedly, did it more for fun than anything else. The information that I received, however, more or less matched up with the realities of my heritage and the diseases that run heavily in my family. I was never under the impression that these results were the be it end all of my genetic destiny; 23andMe does a pretty adequate job of making sure you’re aware, at every step of the way, that your results only represent a small fraction of the possible genetic data that could be garnered from you, and it is not representative of all possible mutations known to exist– and you know, all the ones we don’t know about. Where the FDA seems to be hitting the hardest...