March 3, 2016
In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our healthcare system toward the right care for all patients.
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We can’t wait for the 4th Annual Lown Institute Conference next month! Just six weeks to go! The agenda is packed with inspiring, thought-provoking speakers and fantastic skills-building workshops. Come hear Drs. Jeffrey Brenner, John Ioannidis, Joanne Lynn, Gordon Guyatt, Rita Redberg and union activist, Eliseo Medina. You can read our blogs about four of the speakers. But before you do, read the quotes from the blogs below, and see if you can guess who said it.
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The United States is one of only two countries in the world that allows direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs; in 2014, the health care industry spent $14 billion on advertising—20% more than was spent in 2011. And as this spending increases, many are voicing concerns about the implications, including rising drug prices and unnecessary prescriptions, writes Elizabeth Rosenthal of The New York Times. The ubiquitous use of social media, including by health professionals, introduces new, complex challenges for patients and others who are trying to sort through recommendations that may have been influenced by payments from the powers that be in health care. Sheila Kaplan, writing in STAT recently examined “hundreds of social media accounts maintained by health-care professionals” and learned that “while [health professionals] often tweet medical advice, they almost never disclose potential conflicts of interests.” Some doctors say it’s impractical to require disclosure in the limited space that some social media sites, like Twitter, allow. One doctor, James Simon, was paid $142,000 in 2013 and 2014 by Sprout Pharmaceuticals, the maker of “female Viagra” (about which he has tweeted enthusiastically). Maybe there should be a box on tweets to check if the tweeter is promoting a product for pay. More details of other similar conflicts of interest played out over social media are illustrated by STAT here.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) have recently revealed the first sets of core measures for quality care. FierceHealthcare writes, “The Core Quality Measures represent a collaborative effort to design and implement a standard set of metrics across payers.” Unfortunately, many experts feel these metrics fall short. “Given the known harms of most of these traditional quality measures and unknown benefits, we ask that CMS not implement the metrics as planned and suspend their use.” This was the bottom line from a group of health care providers, members of Care That Matters and the Right Care Alliance’s Primary Care Council, who recently wrote a letter to CMS protesting the implementation of the proposed quality metrics. The authors of the letter explain that these measures “continue the use of . . . metrics that speak little—if at all—to an individual patient’s health.”
More on quality metrics
Cost of care
Conflict of interest
RightCare Weekly is made possible through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.