Weekly Roundup

Made it through the first full work week of 2014 and many of us did it in freezing or well below freezing temperatures. Obamacare continues to take center stage in the world of health care news. To keep you apprised of some of the other stories below are some interesting ones from the past week.

The New York Times ran an article that brings to light an issue many of us do not like the idea of…our doctors could possibly be googling their patients. Why do they do it? To learn things that don’t come up during the routine history-taking or medication checks or to check to see if a patient is telling the truth.

Orthopedic surgeons don’t know much about how much their work contributes to Medicare spending. According to a Health Affairs study they were only able to correctly estimate the cost of a device 21 percent of the time. The lack of transparency on the cost of devices at hospitals is a bit concerning, but some are looking to address the issue. Kaiser Health News has more on this.

A quick conversation with your doctor is all it takes in many cases to reduce excessive drinking, but more than 80 percent of adults say they’ve never discussed alcohol use with a health professional. According to the article on NPR’s Shots Blog this makes it hard to address a potential health problem.

The Huffington Post has a story that looks at a new “heat test” that might be a less invasive way to detect cervical cancer. Here is how the test works, “Using some of the patient’s blood plasma, researchers generate a plasma thermogram by heating the sample. Once the blood plasma is “melted,” it produces a unique signature based on proteins in blood. The signature then serves as an indicator, denoting whether the specific biomarkers for cervical cancer are present.” The test also provides researchers the ability to see extent the cancer has spread.

Doctors have warned Congress that cutting food stamps could lead to bigger health bills over time if the poor end up in doctors’ offices or hospitals as a result. The health and financial risks of hunger have not played a major role in the debate, but the medical community thinks they should. Read more in the Associated Press article.

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