Interim Physicians Blog

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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Dr. Ken's Corner: New Concerns About Patient Satisfaction Scores

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Dec 19, 2017 8:00:00 AM

At first glance, scoring doctors based on patient satisfaction surveys sounds like a good idea.  It's logical to assume that doctors would be more highly motivated to provide the best possible care if they knew they were going to be graded by their patients.  Unfortunately, it turns out that patient satisfaction scores may be causing more harm than good.

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Dr. Ken’s Corner: Hospital Admissions Stall As Outpatient Services Soar

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Oct 26, 2017 11:38:53 AM

The shift from inpatient care to outpatient care is the new normal, and hospitals are being forced to deal with the bottom-line consequences.  Hospital beds are being replaced by thousands of ambulatory surgery centers, free-standing emergency rooms, and urgent-care centers.  “In the early 1990s, outpatient care accounted for only 10% to 15% of hospital revenue.  Today, that figure is closer to 60%” (modern healthcare.com).

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner

Texting Protected Patient Information: A Slippery Slope

Posted by Interim Physicians on Jul 25, 2017 3:37:28 PM

A ton of patient information exchanges hands daily: patient to doctor, doctor to patient, doctor to doctor, doctor to hospital, and so on.  Much of this exchange is now by text messaging, as many doctors find it faster and more efficient than emails and phone calls.  Unfortunately, doctors are often completely unaware of the legal pitfalls involved in text messaging and how to avoid them.

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Topics: Dr. Ken's Corner