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Hospitals promote economic role amid talk of federal cuts

As Congress debates ways to cut health care spending, the American Hospital Assn. wants to remind it of the contributions the health care industry, particularly hospitals, makes to the economy and how any threat to the access of health services would have a negative impact on the nation’s financial stability. In a report issued in January, the AHA said the importance of hospitals extends far beyond health care. Hospitals are job creators, the organization said, employing nearly 5.5 million people and generating $2 trillion in annual economic activity, according to the AHA. “The economic contribution of hospitals … is often critical to communities,” the AHA said in a statement. The report said that even during a slow economy, health care continued to add jobs. In 2012, an average of 28,000 jobs per month were added, and the “ripple effect” of hospitals helped support 9.9 million jobs outside of health care, according to the report. The AHA also said its members h ...

Patient respect drops when doctors diagnose with computer

Patients understand that sometimes physicians need help in making a diagnosis, but more evidence suggests that they are less comfortable when that advice comes from a computer. Previous research has found that the use of clinical decision support seems to turn off patients, who grade doctors seeking such computer assistance about 10% lower than physicians who make a diagnosis without electronic aid. Findings published in January demonstrate that it is not merely doctors’ asking for outside help that it is troublesome, but something about the computer interaction that is turning them off. The results are especially surprising, because the research was conducted among college-age students who grew up with technology. Researchers surveyed 543 college students and provided them with three episode-of-care vignettes in which they visited a physician. Everything about the care provided was the same except how the doctor reached the diagnosis: unaided, with the EHR’s help, or consult ...

Health care trends most likely to pressure physicians

PwC’s annual “Top Health Industry Issue” report predicts that the pace of health care transformation will increase in 2013 because of technology, budget pressures and the Affordable Care Act. But an overarching theme in many of the trends is the role of the patient and how consumerism is expected to drive the way health care is delivered, especially in the primary care setting. “The days of a very transactional approach to health care … is getting some pushback from consumers,” said Warren Skea, director in PwC Health Industries Advisory. Consumers are more informed and are demanding from health care the service they can expect in other areas, such as retail. Keeping patients happy will not only help patient satisfaction and retention, it also will help physicians’ pay, Skea said. More payment models are tying patient satisfaction to payment, he said. In addition, population health models will rely on good relationships between physicians and patients and prompt ...