Interim Physicians Blog

Serving up Healthcare with Heart

Posted by Lauren Garvey on Feb 14, 2018 12:00:00 PM

 

As a physician, the desire to help others is inherent. That’s why locum tenens is an easy career choice.

Locum tenens doctors help underserved patients by stepping in when they’re needed most. Whether physicians service in a rural farm community, low-income district, or urban location, locum tenens provides access to care where it might not otherwise exist, so patients will receiv
 the high-quality care they depend on. In fact, more than 20 million people will see a doctor this year thanks to locum tenens.
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Topics: patient care, healthcare, American Heart Month

Dr. Ken's Corner: Do Threats of Malpractice Suits Improve Patient Care?

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jan 30, 2017 10:29:55 AM

The U.S. medical malpractice system deters physician negligence.  True or false?  A recent study by the American College of Surgeons looked at whether or not stronger malpractice laws prevent surgical complications (Journal of the ACS, December 16, 2016).  The widespread assumption has generally been that a strong malpractice environment equates with a better quality of patient care.  Not so, says the ACS.

“Measures of malpractice environment did not have significant, consistent associations with post-operative outcomes.”  Looking state-by-state, the study found that the strength of tort reform legislation has no apparent effect on improving patient outcomes.  Another unexpected (and unexplained) finding: States with the strongest laws in place are associated with a greater incidence of post-op complications—sepsis, pneumonia, acute renal failure, deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

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Topics: ACS, defensive medicine, Dr. Ken's Corner, Dr. Ken Teufel, Journal of the ACS, malpractice suits, patient care, physician careers, surgical complications

Dr. Ken's Corner: 1% of Physicians Responsible for 32% of Paid Malpractice Claims

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Feb 26, 2016 8:00:16 AM

Approximately 1% of all physicians account for 32% of paid malpractice claims (New England Journal of Medicine, January 28, 2016).  Using the National Practitioner Data Bank as their resource, Stanford medical law expert David M. Studdert and his colleagues concluded that "a small number of physicians with distinctive characteristics accounted for a disproportionately large number of paid medical malpractice claims" from 2005 through 2014.  Over this 10-year period, there were 66,427 claims paid against 54,099 physicians.  A physician with three paid claims was found to have three times the risk of incurring another paid claim when compared to a physician who had only one previous claim.  The vast majority of these claims were out-of-court settlements, and one-third involved alleged negligence leading to patient death.

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Topics: doctor-patient relationship, Dr. Ken's Corner, Dr. Ken Teufel, interim physicians, locum tenens, locums physician, Malpractice, patient care, physician

Dr. Ken's Corner: Is Health Care By Appointment in Jeopardy?

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jul 27, 2015 2:53:35 PM

Patients seem to be fed up with having to adapt their own schedules to fit in with what's convenient for the doctor.  "Cost-conscious patients facing higher health plan deductibles have helped make walk-in clinics one of the fastest-growing sectors in the health care market.  With no appointments required and most insurance accepted, advocates say, "the clinics bring a patient-first consumerism to the nation's outmoded health care delivery system" (mcclatchydc.com).

Some 20,000 physicians currently staff the nation's 9,300 stand-alone urgent care centers, according to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine.  The AAUCM reports that each center handles about 14,000 patient visits a year and projects that the number of urgent care centers will grow by 20 percent for the next several years.

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Topics: American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine, Dr. Ken's Corner, Dr. Ken Teufel, patient care, scheduling, stand-alone urgent care, walk-in clinics

Dr. Ken's Corner: Are Americans Getting Too Much Medical Care?

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Jun 24, 2015 4:32:34 PM

Nearly one-half of primary care physicians say their patients receive too much medical care.  Only 6% say  they are receiving too little.  This is according to a  random sampling of 627 practicing physicians published in  the Archives of Internal Medicine.  Doctors themselves  admit that there's way too much testing and overly  aggressive screening.  As a result, otherwise healthy  individuals become "patients," "suffering" from conditions that would never have  caused a problem in the first place -- a slightly increased  cholesterol, a mildly elevated blood pressure, or a slowly  developing prostate cancer.  Once a diagnosis has been  made, doctors are pretty much obligated to "do  something" about it.

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Topics: Archives of Internal Medicine, Brenda Sirovich, Dr. Ken's Corner, Dr. Ken Teufel, overdiagnosis, patient care, too much medical care, unnecessary care

Dr. Ken's Corner: Is "Standardized" Care the New Standard of Care?

Posted by Ken Teufel M.D. on Mar 25, 2015 5:23:01 PM

We all know that practicing defensive medicine is commonplace. "Overtesting" -- doing unnecessary lab work and other diagnostic studies (some invasive) -- is justified as a way to stay out of the court room.  In some cases, physicians are simply bending to "what the patient wants done."  To counteract test and procedure overuse, physicians are increasingly being told to stick to the guidelines, which generally recommend a less aggressive approach to both diagnosis and treatment.

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Topics: American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, diagnosis and treatment, Dr. Ken's Corner, Dr. Ken Teufel, patient care, standardized care

All the Locum Tenens News that Matters Most to You

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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