Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
Stat: Electronic Health Records Lack Tools To Improve Clinical Care
Early in my career as an ear, nose, and throat physician and surgeon, two different patients came to me with the same set of bizarre symptoms. Certain noises made their eyes move involuntarily, and objects they were looking at appeared to move around in patterns. After months of careful investigation, these patients led me to discover a rare disorder called superior semicircular canal dehiscence and to develop a corrective surgery for it. Today, anyone with Internet access can search the symptoms of superior semicircular canal dehiscence and get multiple hits for diagnosis and information about treatment. Yet most doctors who use electronic health records are years away from this kind of capability. There is no search engine to support our clinical decision making. (Lloyd B. Minor, 4/11)
The Washington Post: Republicans Are Pushing Another False Claim About Abortion To Rile Up Voters
An attempted abortion late enough into a pregnancy to result in a live birth is extremely rare and happens only when the mother’s life is at risk or the fetus has a fatal condition. But we’re in a presidential election cycle, and Republicans have learned that abortion can be a winning issue for them if they find a way to keep Democrats on the defensive. (Laura Bassett, 4/10)
The Hill: Pediatricians Need To Protect Children From Gun Violence
Over 300 pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics went to the Hill this week to urge Congress to appropriate $ 50 million for gun violence prevention research. As pediatricians in Chicago, we are also here because we know all too well the effects of gun violence on our community and our patients. In 2017, there were over 39,000 or 109 people killed with guns each day. (Nana Matoba and Angira Patel, 4/10)
The Washington Post: Health Care Is Shockingly Expensive. Why Can’t You Deduct It All On Your Taxes?
In late March, my right elbow suddenly ballooned up, becoming red, painful and hot to the touch. But what I assumed was tennis elbow proved to be cellulitis, a serious infection that required an IV of an expensive antibiotic dispensed during six hours in a Manhattan emergency room. The hospital billed my insurance company more than $ 10,000 per hour, or $ 65,892.04 to be exact. I wasn’t even admitted for the night. Fortunately, my insurer will significantly reduce my share of the charges but the ultimate out-of-pocket cost will still sting long after my elbow no longer does. Adding insult to injury, I can’t write off this unexpected and unavoidable expense on my taxes. (David Wallis, 4/10)
USA Today: Does Donald Trump Have Dementia? We Need To Know: Psychologist
If Donald Trump were your father, you would run, not walk, to a neurologist for an evaluation of his cognitive health. You don’t have to be a doctor to see something is very wrong. “He reminds me of Uncle Bruce in so many ways,” said my aunt, who nursed her brother through Alzheimer’s disease. (John Gartner, 4/9)
The New York Times: How A.I. Is Changing Insurance
A smartphone app that measures when you brake and accelerate in your car. The algorithm that analyzes your social media accounts for risky behavior. The program that calculates your life expectancy using your Fitbit. This isn’t speculative fiction — these are real technologies being deployed by insurance companies right now. Last year, the life insurance company John Hancock began to offer its customers the option to wear a fitness tracker — a wearable device that can collect information about how active you are, how many calories you burn, and how much you sleep. The idea is that if your Fitbit or Apple Watch can tell whether or not you’re living the good, healthy life — and if you are, your insurance premium will go down. (Sarah Jeong, 4/10)
USA Today: Parkland Student Suicides: Stoneman Douglas Mobilized But Didn’t Heal
More than a year has elapsed since 17 students and staff were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, including my 14-year-old daughter, Alaina. But even now, our community is still experiencing the aftershocks of the attack.Over the course of just one week in March, two more MSD students died, this time by suicide, adding to the horror of this senseless and preventable tragedy. Shortly after the Parkland suicides, the father of one of the 20 first-graders killed in the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, took his own life as well. (Ryan Petty, 4/10)
The Washington Post: New Program Finally Gives Kids With Addiction Issues Access To Treatment
The last of my six children will graduate from the Anne Arundel County Public Schools system in 2020 — the end of a 25-year-long sojourn as a parent who has watched superintendents, fads, teachers and trends come and go. It took several years for me to recognize that while some were simply the whims of the times, others really had the potential for changing and saving lives. Among these, my favorite was always the mandatory fifth-grade week of water-safety/drown-proofing at the county pools. In a county with about 500 miles of shoreline, this has always seemed like an act of brilliance. Another such act seems to have occurred with the launch of a new program, Screening Teens to Access Recovery (Star), for the county’s 12 high schools. (Janice Lynch Schuster, 4/5)
Arizona Republic: Doctor Shortage Hurts Arizona’s Wallet As Much As Its Health
Our concern is the current shortage of doctors and nurses across the state will eventually translate into slower economic growth. This would mean fewer new jobs being created in every county, lower levels of income for many, and a declining quality of life for residents. (Heather Carter and Jim Rounds, 4/10)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.