Wall Street Journal
The Center for Health Reporting Health News Page is a collection of articles useful to health reporters from selected sources. This list of articles is updated every 15 minutes, 24 hours per day.
WSJ's blog on health and the business of health.
Updated: 4 min 50 sec ago
Physician pay accounts for about 20% of total health-care spending, and in many specialties it has increased much faster than inflation in recent years. Some critics say that’s because most doctors get paid for every service they perform, which creates an incentive to order unnecessary tests and hospitalize people who don’t need it. That critique is the basis for a push to tie physician pay to performance, evaluating doctors on how well they follow procedures for patient care and how well they score on patient satisfaction surveys, among other things. [wsj-poll name="20130611-200308-1747367582" category="topic" size="E"]
One of the big problems in the U.S. health-care system is the shortage of primary-care physicians, especially in rural areas. And the shortages may worsen as more patients seek care under the Affordable Care Act. One candidate to help fill that shortage: nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners are trained to perform clinical care, including ordering lab work and X-rays, and are especially useful in assisting patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. About a third of states allow nurse practitioners to practice without the supervision of a physician, freeing up doctors to do more. Have you received medical care from nurse practitioners, and do you/would you have confidence in them? Vote and enter your comments, which may be excerpted in a coming Wall Street Journal special report. [wsj-poll name="20130604-153152-620572504" category="topic" size="E"]
Proponents of organic food extol its health virtues. One example: a finding that children who switched from conventional to mostly organic produce had no traces of pesticides in their urine within a matter of five days. But organic food is typically more expensive and harder to find than traditional food. And skeptics say the health benefits haven’t been demonstrated in published studies. Have you made it a point to eat as much organic food as possible? Did you feel better? Vote and post your comments, which may get excerpted in a coming Wall Street Journal special report. [wsj-poll name="20130604-150615-408805277" category="topic" size="E"]
Patients' complaints about doctors are finally being taken seriously, as poor communication is increasingly understood to be at the root of many of health care’s failures—and a leading culprit in rising costs. Research shows that when doctors don’t listen to patients, they miss important health cues and misdiagnose illness. Meanwhile, patients who don’t understand what their doctors say fail to follow their regimens, leading to preventable hospitalizations, complications and poor outcomes.