Longer Looks: A Doctor’s Attire; Calorie Counts; What’s Prompting The Falling Abortion Rate?
Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.
The Clothes Make The Doctor
A few years ago, I was looking for a new primary-care doctor. I was hoping for someone who was kind, smart, and caring, someone who’d listen with full attention. I didn’t care what the doctor looked like—or so I thought, until a woman clicked into the room in stilettos and a tailored expensive-looking suit. This wasn’t a case of a low-cut blouse or a thigh-revealing skirt. And yet I felt put off. I felt like a slob. ... In medical school, students learn to note a patient’s appearance and clothing (words like “disheveled” or “well-groomed” seem to pop up a lot in the medical record). They’re taught to interpret the patient’s gestures and eye contact, or lack of it, and to think about their own body language. And yet, somehow, the topic of doctors’ own clothing rarely comes up, save for the most flagrant lapses (plunging necklines, jeans, T-shirts) or the simple and vague admonition to appear “professional.” (Anna Reisman, 12/1)
Calorie Counts On Menus Won’t Change What Americans Eat
In one study of consumers in New York City and Newark, New Jersey, researchers found that consumers at fast-food chains underestimated the number of calories in the meal they purchased by about 200 calories. Only 15 percent of people surveyed stated an estimate within 100 calories of the content of their meal. Notably, however, people who do pay attention to calories tend to buy fewer of them. (Emily Oster, 12/2)
Why Is The Abortion Rate Falling?
If the precise number of abortions is uncertain, the trend is not. The incidence of abortion in the United States sharply rose in the 1970s and 1980s, reached a peak in 1990, and has tumbled by nearly half over the past two decades. ... Abortion rates are declining because more and more of these unintended pregnancies are being carried to term. Again, some conjecture that women are deciding to carry their unintended pregnancies because they are denied access to abortion. There isn’t much evidence for this proposition either. While access to abortion has been curtailed by conservative state legislatures since the 2010 election, most of the decline in abortion incidence occurred much earlier. (David Frum, 12/1)
This Drug Costs $84,000
The way the pharmaceutical industry developed, priced, and sold Sovaldi is an instructive study in how the American healthcare system allows drugs to become expensive — an incredible, unprecedented, and $1,000-per-pill type of expensive that the country has never seen before. The story of Sovaldi shows the American health care system is incapable of fighting back against these prices. The people who buy drugs — mostly private health plans and public insurance programs — are too fragmented to demand lower prices. (Sarah Kliff, 12/2)
The Man Behind The Nation’s Fastest Growing Hospital Chain
In 2006, Paradise Valley Hospital, just 13 miles from Mexico and a world away from the luxury condos, convention hotels and craft beer bars that dot nearby downtown San Diego, faced imminent closure. The money-losing safety net hospital needed a $61 million renovation to make it earthquake-compliant. Owner Adventist Health searched desperately for a financial savior. Only two came forward: a locally organized Paradise Preservation Group, which government officials doubted could finance the deal; and Prime Healthcare Services, a small, relatively new for-profit hospital chain owned by Dr. Prem Reddy, which offered to buy the hospital for $30 million and finance the upgrades. (Kutscher, 11/29)