Tuesdays are usually work-at-home days for me, and Monday night I had an exceptional sleep. (They usually follow terrible ones, which Sunday’s was.) Woke up, worked out, felt strong, came home, breakfasted, showered, dressed and worked all day in lipstick. Didn’t eat any junk food, either. To say rest and fuel have an effect on one’s mood is hardly deep-dive science, but man is it ever true.
The older I get, the less I drink. The less I drink, the better I feel. Goddamnit.
But now we’ve established a theme for the day: One’s good health. And with that…
This is an abstract for an academic paper, and I haven’t read beyond it, but I found it interesting, as I did some reporting on telemedicine a couple years ago (helped by our own Dexter, who was receiving weight loss and nutrition counseling via telemedicine at the time). Here’s the gist of the paper:
The use of direct-to-consumer telehealth, in which a patient has access to a physician via telephone or videoconferencing, is growing rapidly. A key attraction of this type of telehealth for health plans and employers is the potential savings involved in replacing physician office and emergency department visits with less expensive virtual visits. However, increased convenience may tap into unmet demand for health care, and new utilization may increase overall health care spending. …We estimated that 12 percent of direct-to-consumer telehealth visits replaced visits to other providers, and 88 percent represented new utilization. …Direct-to-consumer telehealth may increase access by making care more convenient for certain patients, but it may also increase utilization and health care spending.
This is disappointing. I like telemedicine for a number of reasons — it can allow people who live far from excellent doctors and hospitals to enjoy some of their benefits; it can facilitate one-on-one coaching like that enjoyed by Dexter; it makes sense as an efficiency measure at a time when, as we’re told more or less constantly, we all have to find ways to save. And yet, as this study shows, it doesn’t save. Because people need to see doctors, a lot. The more you see doctors, the more doctors you see.
And we’re going to fix this with health savings accounts! Also, tax credits!
Meanwhile, I’m sure this guy is headed for a bright future in politics:
A long-running battle to establish a database to monitor for prescription drug abuse in Missouri — the only state without one — is about to hit a boiling point.
On one side is Republican state Senator Rob Schaaf, who once said that when people die of overdoses that “just removes them from the gene pool.”
This was something else I did some reporting on this year — prescription drug monitoring programs, or PDMPs. They’re computer databases, with monitors in every doctor’s office and pharmacy, that allows staff to check the prescribing history of individuals seeking opiates. Makes sense, when doctor-shopping is a prime driver of the opiate crisis, don’t you think? Every single state, except for Missouri, has one. Most of the Missouri legislature wants to establish one. One guy doesn’t. So far he’s managed to block every attempt to enact one. His latest gambit is to set up a PDMP-like system, but one that wouldn’t talk to other states’. And why does he feel this way, despite the charming gene-pool comment?
“They don’t work. And it’s an infringement upon people’s privacy,” Schaaf said in an October 2016 interview with local television station KSHB. “Most people don’t want the government to have that information and have it on a database in which many people can get it.”
They don’t work, said the one guy in the one state that doesn’t have a PDMP. This reminds me of a story I did a few years ago, about a bill to allow health-care workers to opt out of private employers’ policies requiring vaccines. The sponsor wasn’t interested in considering what might happen when a nurse in a pediatrician’s office opts out of a flu shot; he was interested in the idea that a person could be required to do anything.
Maybe I should go yell at a TV for a while, and see who’s listening.
Happy hump day, all.