Saturday, January 25, 2014

Should People Visit the Doctor in Groups?

My opinion:  I think this might be a potential solution to a lot of problems, but it definitely won't work in all scenarios.  This may be best among people who share the same disease.  Hence, the doctor's appointment becomes somewhat like a therapy session where patients can learn how to prevent their conditions from worsening.  Moreover, it saves time and money for doctors, which could address the doctor shortage dilemma.  But this kind of thing isn't right for everyone.  You'd have to be willing to spend a longer amount of time in the appointment, and what if you have a severe problem and would like the doctor to extensively focus on you?  But with healthcare reform around the corner, I think we'll be seeing this practice pop up in a lot more places, despite the possible disadvantages.  Is this the thing of the future?  Feel free to comment and give your thoughts.

Need to See the Doctor? You May Have Company on Your Next Visit

Getty Images/OJO Images RF / Getty Images/OJO Images RF
Shared medical appointments, or group visits, are becoming a popular — and possibly more satisfying — way to see the doctor.
“As soon as I mention shared medical appointments, everybody automatically pictures a room full of people in their underwear,” says Dr. Richard Kratche, a family physician at Cleveland Clinic who conducts group visits for physicals. Rest assured, he says, these shared medical appointments don’t literally involve having an audience during a physical exam.
But they do require divulging and discussing private medical information in front of strangers (albeit ones who have signed waivers not to talk about other patients’ medical histories outside of the visit). And while that makes some people understandably uncomfortable, a surprising number of patients are finding these appointments to be rewarding and effective ways of getting more out of doctor’s visits. Since 2005, the percentage of practices offering group visits has doubled, from 6% to 13% in 2010. With major provisions of the Affordable Care Act due to be implemented by next year, such group visits are also becoming attractive cost savers — patients who learn more about ways to prevent more serious disease can avoid expensive treatments.
“It’s a different way of speaking about health that is more about friends around a circle learning together than talking with an authority figure in a white coat,” says Dr. Jeff Cain, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in describing shared medical appointments. Think of them as a blend between group therapy and support groups. The net effect is the same – a sense of comfort, support and even motivation that comes from sharing similar experiences.

Read more: Shared medical appointments streamline doctor's visits |

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Google to Produce Bloodless Glucose Meter, but is it Reasonable?

My opinion:  Though I think this idea is cool and exciting, I'm not sure it will actually be that popular.  Let's think about the kind of people who have diabetes.  They are very often the elderly.  Unfortunately, I don't believe very many old people wear contacts, making it difficult for this product to reach them.  Maybe it would be better if people could somehow take a tear or extract drop of liquid from their eyes and put it into a machine.  What's more, I can see this type of technology being replaced by something more efficient.  If we are supposed to have tiny robots traveling through are bodies to destroy cancer in the next couple decades, these machines will probably also detect blood glucose levels.  What's your opinion?  Feel free to comment.

Two great big hurdles for Google’s glucose-reading contact lenses: Accuracy, cost
January 17, 2014 4:30 pm by Deanna Pogorelc

If anyone can do it, Google can – right?
Not everyone is so convinced when it comes to the contact lenses Google X just announced it’s developing for people with diabetes. Mixed in with a lot of excitement around the cool technology behind the lenses is some reservation that it’s just too early to tell whether Google is any more likely than others to succeed.
In the quest for a bloodless glucose meter, the diabetes community has seen one promising company after another fail to deliver a product to the market. Google has tech chops, but Amy Tenderich of DiabetesMine underscored the importance of scientific accuracy – not just ballpark numbers – in a usable glucose meter.

For a blog post yesterday, she talked to Brian Otis, the project’s co-founder, who said the team realized that accuracy is the biggest challenge. The good news is, Google isn’t trying to do all of the science and commercialization by itself. The project founders said in a blog post they’re in discussions with the FDA and are planning to look for partners.
The vision is to embed a wireless chip and a miniaturized glucose sensor between two layers of soft contact lens material with a pinhole that would let tears seep into the sensor. It would take a reading every second and transmit it to a mobile device or a separate device specifically tied to the lenses.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

You'll Never Guess this Device that Medicare is Covering

My opinion:  The reason why waste is so hard to define is because each individual has a different idea of waste.  Since Medicare covers penis pumps, it may improve the sexual health of those suffering from erectile dysfunction, but it refrains from spending the money on people who are suffering even more from life-threatening illnesses.  Not to mention that medicare is overpaying for the penis pumps, as consumers could buy it on their own for less.  Ultimately, waste may be helpful to some people, but it doesn't not prioritize the money to those who need it more.  In this case, I think it's safe to call this waste.  The only issue is, can the money legally be transferred for other uses?  Feel free to comment.


Penis pumps cost U.S. government millions, watchdog cries waste

WASHINGTON Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:25am EST

(Reuters) - Penis pumps cost the U.S. government's Medicare program $172 million between 2006 and 2011, about twice as much as the consumer would have paid at the retail level, according to a government watchdog's report released on Monday.
The report by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services said Medicare, the government health insurance system for seniors, paid nearly 474,000 claims for vacuum erection systems, or VES, totaling about $172.4 million from 2006 to 2011. Yearly claims for the devices nearly doubled from $20.6 million in 2006 to $38.6 million in 2011.
According to the Mayo Clinic, penis pumps are one of a few treatment options for erectile dysfunction.
Government waste is a major issue in budget talks in the U.S. capital as lawmakers try to reach agreement on a $1 trillion spending bill.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Why Alcohol Content may be Harming us from Behind

My opinion:  No doubt that more alcohol in beer could help producers increase sales.  However, many are concerned that this will make it easier to unwillingly become drunk.  Some even claim that a mere two beers with 21% alcohol can cause a person to exceed the legal limit of 0.08% BAC.  It would be interesting to see if anyone does a study on this in the near future, because right now I think it is difficult knowing if this is actually true.  If it is, though, they'll have to change the saying from "don't drink and drive" to "don't drink then drive."  I really would like to hear what you think about this, given the amount of drunk driving that already occurs in our country.  Please comment, if possible.

Beer-alcohol proposed increase to 21 percent in Ohio draws mixed reviews

You think these fellows on April 7, 1933, could have foreshadowed double-digit alcohol percentage in beer? A proposal aims to hike the percentage in Ohio from a maximum of 12 percent to 21 percent. (Associated Press)

Craft-brewing proponents in Ohio are giving mixed reviews to Rep. Dan Ramos' proposal to raise the alcohol limit on beer made and sold in Ohio to 21 percent.
"Do I think it would be good for the state of Ohio? Yes, because we're (mostly) surrounded by states with no limits," Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.'s John Najeway told The Plain Dealer. There are some specialty brews that "beer geeks and fans are missing out on. I think a lot of Ohio breweries are vying to make bigger beers."
Ramos (D-Lorain) reintroduced the bi-partisan supported proposal this week.
Akron brewer Najeway said the current 12 percent limit "hasn't hindered us. But it would be nice to have the ability" to make higher-alcohol beers, depending on the style being brewed.
"Obviously there's a bunch we make that you can push the limit on – barleywines and bourbon-barrel beers. You have to work to keep them down (in alcohol)."