Medical professionals include doctors, nurses, hospice workers, emergency medical technicians, and other trained caregivers. RAND research has analyzed retention and job satisfaction among medical professionals, examined civilian and military health care education and training, and explored the impact of the many policies that affect physicians' and nurses' duties and performance.
Large coverage expansions under the ACA have reignited concerns about physician shortages. These estimates result from models that forecast future supply and demand for physicians based on past trends and current practice. While useful exercises, they do not necessarily imply that intervening to boost physician supply would be worth the investment.
If it doesn't seem that state laws as currently written can help increase the number of health care workers vaccinated against influenza, then what can? There is evidence that imposing consequences for vaccination refusal, including the requirement to wear a surgical mask, can help.
If Congress wants to save Medicare, it can start by driving waste and excess out of the system. This can be done without impoverishing patients or driving doctors out of business, if physicians are willing to practice smarter, more efficient medicine. Spending on prescription drugs is a case in point.
Many people assume that it is enough to present clinicians and managers with the results of medical research for them to adopt those techniques that work best. This is quite untrue. The scale and pace of medical advance poses a continual challenge, and there is often a gap between recommended care and actual care received.
The growing number of Americans newly-insured under the ACA will undoubtedly lead to a surge in demand for care, whether through Medicaid or insurance exchanges. But, if predictions hold, the increase won't be as dramatic as some may fear, writes David I. Auerbach.
There are times when no amount of care, however cutting-edge it is, will save a patient. In these instances, further critical care is said to be “futile.” This type of treatment is not uncommon in intensive care units, and that raises some uncomfortable questions.
There are proposals to have England's National Health Service offer non-emergency service on weekends. Since there is a strong association between the health and well-being of staff and the quality of patient care, 24/7 working could have unintended consequences for patients.
As a Southerner who learned to shoot at an early age, I've never had a problem with guns. But emergency-room doctors like me also know how much damage they can cause if misused or allowed to fall into the wrong hands, writes Arthur Kellermann.
Before we allow others to implement policies attempting to optimize the use of physician time or reduce the amount of equivocal or inappropriate care, we need to understand what physicians think about these issues and what they are prepared to do about them, writes Robert H. Brook.
Because the budget crisis is really a crisis, it behooves physicians to answer the waste question as rapidly as possible. Without an answer, there is no hope that an appropriate policy process for reining in health care costs will be identified, writes Robert H. Brook.
Published commentary by RAND staff.