Interim Physicians Blog

Dr. Ken's Corner: Competency of Older Doctors Being Questioned

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on May 23, 2019 5:16:21 PM

Instead of retiring at age 65, many doctors choose to continue practicing medicine well into their 70s and 80s. A national trend to test the competency of these older physicians appears to be gaining momentum, especially among some of the nation's largest hospital systems. Hospitals report growing concern that the mental and physical skills of some of their older physicians have deteriorated to the point of putting patient safety at risk. Paying special attention to "weeding out" impaired physicians once they have reached a certain age is proving to be a sensitive issue, to say the least.

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner, Physician Retirement

Dr. Ken's Corner: Is Telemedicine the New Frontier?

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Feb 21, 2019 3:35:15 PM

Robotic surgery, gene therapy, and deep brain stimulation are so-called "frontiers" of medicine.  Now there's a new frontier--telemedicine. "Research firm IHS Markit estimates that telemedicine visits will soar from 23 million in 2017 to 105 million by 2022" (Associated Press, 2/6/19). By then, one in ten doctors' visits could be via telemedicine. This could be an understatement if practitioners, health systems, and investors keep discovering new ways to expand telemedicine's reach.

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner, Telemedicine

Dr. Ken's Corner: Leaving Practice for a While? Think Reentry

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jan 31, 2019 12:00:00 PM

Despite reports of burned out doctors abandoning their careers, many other doctors simply want some time off -- perhaps a year or more -- to take a breather, spend time with family, or take a sabbatical abroad. The AMA warns that leaving clinical practice for an extended period of time should not be taken lightly: "Lack of retraining before reentry raises questions about patient safety and the clinical competence of reentered physicians." Doctors need to be aware that, "getting back in the game is expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes nearly impossible. So before you take a hiatus from medicine, ask yourself--can you afford it?" (medpage.com)

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Topics: Physician Burnout, Dr. Ken's Corner, Education

Dr. Ken's Corner: Warnings Issued for Prescribing Meds That Can Cause Depression

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jul 26, 2018 12:00:00 PM

One of the more serious side effects of commonly prescribed drugs is depression.  According to a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (June 12, 2018), 37 percent of U.S. adults are taking prescription medications that can potentially cause depression or increase the risk of suicide.  Although there's been a 25 percent increase in suicides in the U.S. since 1999, the risk of depression as a side effect of prescribed drugs is widely under-appreciated by doctors and patients alike.

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner

Dr. Ken's Corner: U.S. Life Expectancy Takes Another Alarming Drop

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Feb 21, 2018 11:45:00 AM

For the second straight year, U.S. life expectancy has fallen, according to a CDC report on 2016 data released in December 2017.  An American born today can expect to live to 78.6 years, a decrease of about a month when compared to 2015.  "It may not sound like much, but the alarming story is not the amount of the decrease but that the increase has ended," according to Steven Woolf at Virginia Commonwealth University.  "In 1960, the U.S. had the highest life expectancy in the world.  It's lost ground to other industrialized nations ever since" (USA TODAY, Feb. 8, 2018).

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner

Dr. Ken's Corner: Micro-Hospitals Fill Niche in Healthcare Marketplace

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jan 24, 2018 9:55:51 AM

Micro-hospitals, hospitals with fewer than 12 inpatient beds, are popping up nationwide in urban and suburban neighborhoods, extending the reach of larger metro hospitals.  Strategically located, these ultra small facilities are proving to be an efficient, cost-effective way to bridge the gap between the emergency room and the need for hospital care that doesn't require the infrastructure of a full-service hospital.

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner

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We write about the healthcare world and all-things locum tenens. From healthcare reform and new technology, to travel tips, and insightful commentary from our Medical Director, Dr. Ken Teufel – we cover what matters most to you. Is there a topic you’d like to read about? Share your ideas now.

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