That’s the news 4.2 million Americans woke up to on Monday when the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new guidelines on what is considered hypertension. Now, if your sphygmomanometer reads 130/80, then your blood pressure is considered high. But the new guidelines aren’t changing much in terms of treatment—the physicians are advising that only about 80,000 more patients will benefit from hypertensive drugs. Those newly within the high blood pressure range are pretty much just being put on notice to change their lifestyle habits. However, nearly everyone can benefit from lowering their blood pressure—here’s 10 ways to do that without medication.
Hamlet would probably advise that MDs chill out on the whole posting thing. According to a new study led by Dr. Kevin Koo of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, young doctors are having an issue with hitting “Post” well beyond the lines of professionalism and ethics. The study, which focused on urologist new grads, found that 40% of those with publicly identifiable Facebook profiles contained iffy content. And by iffy we mean those “What happened last night?” pictures all the way to divulging patient information. Great. Apparently, millennials grow up to be doctors, too. Remember, when in doubt, hit delete. Here are the AMA’s guidelines for social media use for all you docs who skipped ethics class. What do you think? See this week’s FastPoll™ question below.
Newsflash, physicians who spend more on hospitalized patient care saw no improvement in patient outcomes compared to those who spend less. The study, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, analyzed Medicare spending across 72,000+ physicians and 3,000+ hospitals, tracking mortality and readmission rates over a 3-year-period. Researchers not only found that spending varied more across individual physicians than across hospitals, but also the cost of tests, imaging studies and other procedures varied up to 10.5% among doctors. More spending with no decrease in patient mortality or hospital readmission rates. The US has long taken the cake for wasteful healthcare spending. Needing what we buy? That’s just crazy.
A study published in Pediatrics last week demonstrated that many teens who abuse opioids start out being prescribed them for legitimate medical use. The bad side of that is pretty obvious, but there’s a good side to this revelation as well—knowing that physicians are integral to an important piece of this problem means that we can go about designing effective solutions for it. Like those “careful prescribing practices” we keep hearing about. Some more good news, this study and another published last week both report a decline in opioid misuse among youth. Keep fighting the good fight docs, and one day we’ll celebrate that the kids are alright.