Surgery the biggest cost, say Gawande

According to Reuters, Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon who was named this week to head the company being formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to trim employee healthcare costs,  cited surgery as the single biggest U.S. healthcare cost and said there are ways to both cut costs and improve patient care. 

Gawande, 52, is a surgeon, writer and public health thought leader and practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.  He is also a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School and founding executive director of the health systems innovation center, Ariadne Labs. Gawande also is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and author of four books on health care.

End-of-life care needs to take into account the wishes of patients, something which he said is now sorely lacking. 

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High-intensity primary care may help lower costs and improve quality

“High-intensity” primary care, a model of care similar to the Patient-Centered Medical Home specifically for patients with chronic and multiple conditions, shows promise in lowering costs and improving quality, according to a press release by the National Institute for Healthcare Reform.
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CT screening for lung cancer is debated

A recent study by the National Cancer Institute found that annual low-dose CT screening of asymptomatic current or former smokers could reduce the death rate from lung cancer by 20 percent over screening with X-rays. However, the findings come with some risk to patients, and are being debated across the nation, according to Kaiser Health News.
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