KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medical Practice Evolves: Prescribing Habits, Doc-Patient Relationship, Health Law Changes

Several news stories examine how medical professionals are practicing today.

Medpage Today: Docs Feel Pressure To Give Addicts Opioids
A push to treat chronic pain and financial disincentives for treating addiction may pressure clinicians into prescribing opioids for patients who are already addicted, a researcher suggested. Over the past decade, there's been a perfect storm of changing clinician attitudes toward pain treatment and patient attitudes towards suffering, combined with a lack of compensation for time-consuming clinic visits such as addiction counseling, Anna Lembke, MD, of Stanford University, wrote in a perspective in the New England Journal of Medicine (Fiore, 10/24).

North Carolina Health News: Pharmacists Go To Class To Keep Up With Obamacare
Local pharmacists are sharpening their pencils and heading back to school to get ready for the changes coming to Medicare as the federal health reform bill kicks into effect. About 45 pharmacists – mostly Triangle-based – sat through a two-and-a-half hour presentation in Durham earlier this month that covered all the things they need to know to comply with the law as it gets implemented over the coming year. Many of those pharmacists work with seniors who depend on Medicare, and they’ll need to be up to speed on changes to that program too (Wang, 10/24).

The Wall Street Journal: Stanford Physician On A Mission
Abraham Verghese, a best-selling author and Stanford physician and professor, is on a mission to improve low-tech bedside medicine. In 2008, a year after being recruited to Stanford, Dr. Verghese launched an effort to teach the basics of the physical exam. Called the Stanford Medicine 25, the initiative is focused on re-emphasizing the importance of the patient-doctor relationship (King, 10/24).

Related, earlier KHN story: Checking In With Dr. Abraham Verghese On The Importance Of The Bedside Manner (Marcy, 9/15/2009)

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