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Most Top U.S. Surgeons Are White and That's Not Changing

White people continue to dominate top surgery positions at U.S. universities, while the number of Black and Hispanic surgeons remains flat, a new study finds.

"There are a lot of talented surgeons of different races, ethnicities and genders who do wonderful work and are being underrecognized or not recognized at all. And that's contributed to a lot of frustration," study co-author Dr. Jos...

Many Older Americans Aren't Telling Their Doctors They Use Pot

MONDAY, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Aging potheads are now past 50 and still puffing away, but new research shows that many don't disclose this to their doctors.

Folks who use marijuana for medical reasons are more likely to tell their doctors about it than recreational users. Still, just a fraction of medical marijuana users opened up about their use, the study fou...

Finding a Doctor Is Tough and Getting Tougher in Rural America

Health care in rural America has become ever more scarce during the coronavirus pandemic, with folks finding it increasingly difficult to find a doctor or get to a hospital.

For a decade, rural areas have been losing hospitals to financial problems, forcing residents to either drive long distances or shrug their shoulders and forgo needed care.

Add to that a nationwide shortage of d...

Little Progress in Boosting Numbers of Black American Doctors

The percentage of U.S. doctors who are Black has barely risen in the past 120 years, and there's still a wide pay gap between white and Black physicians, a new study finds.

The analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data from 1900 to 2018 included about 150,000 physicians, with about 3,300 Black male physicians and 1,600 Black female physicians.

The study "findings demonstrate how slow prog...

Americans Still Avoiding ERs in Pandemic, But Uptick Seen in Mental Health Crises

FRIDAY, April 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- While ER visits have stayed below normal levels as the coronavirus pandemic continues, the number of people showing up in the emergency department with mental woes is increasing, new federal government data shows.

Between March 29 and April 25, 2020, visits to emergency departments dropped 42%, researchers from the U.S. Centers...

4 in 10 Adults Over 50 Consult Online Reviews When Picking a Doctor

Finding a new doctor can be a daunting task. For help, many older adults turn to online reviews, a new study finds.

In fact, many people rate online reviews as highly as they would a recommendation from friends and family when picking a doctor, the new research found.

"Doctors and policymakers should know that many older adults are viewing and valuing online ratings and reviews when...

Stressed, Exhausted: Frontline Workers Faced Big Mental Strain in Pandemic

Doctors, nurses and other frontline health workers in U.S. emergency departments have struggled with significant mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll reveals.

"As the nation moves into what many believe is a fourth wave of COVID, this study is important to our understanding of the impact of the pandemic on the mental well-being of frontline medical personnel,"...

Strain of COVID Care Has Many Health Professionals Looking for an Exit

After the pandemic, the next great health care challenge in the United States could be retaining highly trained doctors, nurses and scientists, a new study warns.

Up to one in five employees at an academic medical institution are considering leaving their professions because of the strains of coping with the pandemic, according to the researchers.

"It's sobering to learn that, d...

COVID Fears Mean More Cancers Are Being Diagnosed at Later Stages

Cancer screening rates are beginning to rebound after plummeting during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey finds.

And patients are being diagnosed with more advanced cancers than before the pandemic, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

"The trend toward more advanced disease, while alarming, does not automatically mean worse outcom...

Too Few Minorities in U.S. Health Care Workforce: Report

Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans are significantly underrepresented in U.S. health professions, with little indication that diversity will improve, a new study says.

In 2019, Black people made up about 12.1% of the U.S. workforce, but their representation in 10 health professions studied ranged from 3.3% for physical therapists to 11.4% for respiratory therapists.

"Our finding...

Most Post-Surgical Opioids Go Unused: Study

Using cellphones to track patients' painkiller use, a new study found more than 60% of opioid painkillers prescribed to surgical patients after their procedures went unused.

That has implications for the ongoing epidemic of opioid misuse in the United States, where unused medications can be diverted to others. Giving surgical patients only the amount of pills they need could help curb the...

In Rare Cases, People Can Get COVID After Vaccination

It's very rare, but it is possible to catch COVID-19 even if you've been vaccinated, a new study finds.

Looking at vaccinated health care workers at two University of California campuses, researchers found a tiny number tested positive for the virus. This finding highlights the need to keep wearing a mask and to keep social distancing, the researchers said.

"Because of the compulso...

Study Finds Growing Acceptance of COVID Vaccine by U.S. Health Care Workers

Health care workers were just as uneasy as everyone else when COVID-19 vaccines were about to be approved in the United States, with large numbers hesitant to take the shot in early December, a new study reveals.

But that hesitancy dwindled over the next few weeks, as health system employees learned more about the safety and efficacy data gathered during clinical trials of the vaccines, r...

Shortage of Primary Care Doctors Is Costing American Lives

The United States could save thousands of lives each year by addressing its lack of enough primary care doctors, a new study projects.

There has been a shortfall of U.S. primary care doctors for a long time, with much of the problem concentrated in rural areas and poverty-stricken urban centers.

And the future looks bleak: A report last year from the Association of American Medical ...

Surgical Patients Allergic to Penicillin Have Another Safe Alternative

The antibiotic cefazolin is a safe alternative to prevent infection in most surgical patients who are allergic to penicillin, according to a new study.

Cefazolin is a type of antibiotic known as a cephalosporin. It's the recommended antibiotic for most surgical procedures, but some doctors are reluctant to give it to patients with penicillin-allergies based on research from the 1960s and ...

Talks With Doctors May Be Key to Vaccine Acceptance: Study

Talking with their doctors may help convince reluctant Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines, evidence from a previous pandemic suggests.

Researchers analyzed responses from more than 19,000 people in the United States who were surveyed during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009.

The poll assessed respondents' attitudes toward doctors, their openness to discussing vaccines with their p...

Health Care Workers More Likely to Catch COVID at Home, Not Workplace

Health care workers are more likely to catch COVID-19 at home or in their community than on the job, a new study finds.

"The news is reassuring in that it shows the measures taken are working to prevent infections from spreading in health care facilities," said study co-author Dr. Anthony Harris. He's professor of epidemiology and public health at the University of Maryland School of Medi...

Choice of Brand-Name Drug Over Generics Costs Medicare Nearly $2 Billion Annually

Wider use of prescription generic drugs could save Medicare nearly $2 billion a year, researchers say.

The new analysis of Medicare Part D prescription drug claims for 2017 used a random 20% of beneficiaries, 224 drugs with one or more generic substitutes and at least 1,000 claims.

Medicare Part D accounts for roughly one-third of all prescription drug spending in the United States....

Many Blacks, Hispanics Believe They'll Get Worse Care If Dementia Strikes

Black and Hispanic Americans already face higher risks for dementia than the general population. Many also believe they'd get worse dementia care compared to white patients, according to a new Alzheimer's Association special report.

Older Black Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's or another form of dementia as older white people, and older Hispanics are about 1.5 times...

Many Women Getting Wrong Antibiotics to Treat a UTI: Study

If you've gone to the doctor for a urinary tract infection (UTI), chances are that you've been given the wrong antibiotic or a longer-than-necessary treatment plan.

That's even more likely if you live in a rural area, researchers say.

A new study of private insurance claims data found that 47% of women were prescribed antibiotics that were outside recommended guidelines and 76% were...

Many Older Adults Confused About Proper Use of Antibiotics: Poll

Many older Americans lack knowledge about antibiotics, with some admitting to using leftover medication, a new survey reveals.

More than 2,200 adults, aged 50 to 80, were questioned. Nine out of 10 said they're cautious about using antibiotics, and nearly that number knew that overuse of the drugs can lead to them becoming ineffective, according to the University of Michigan National Poll...

Specialist Care for Alzheimer's Is Tough to Find for Poorer, Rural Americans

Although Alzheimer's disease is a devastating diagnosis that is better delivered earlier rather than later, new research suggests poor patients living in rural areas may not have access to the specialists who could spot the first signs of memory declines.

The team from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., led by Sayeh Nikpay, now an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota...

Patients With Diabetes Need More Counseling on Low Blood Sugar

Doctors need to do a better job of discussing low blood sugar with patients who take high-risk diabetes medications such as insulin, researchers say.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is the most common serious side effect of diabetes treatment. Severe cases can lead to falls, emergency department visits, and may increase the risk of stroke and death.

"For patients to have safe diabete...

Bedside Manner Even More Important for Hospital Patients Admitted Via the ER

Being rushed into hospital care can be an emotional experience. So, what a surgeon says to trauma or emergency surgery patients plays a role in how satisfied they are after their operations, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 187,000 patients discharged from 168 HCA Healthcare hospitals in the United States in 2018 and 2019. HCA Healthcare is a publicly traded compan...

Most Dermatology Patients Like 'Telehealth' Visits: Survey

A majority of dermatology patients are happy with telehealth appointments in place of in-person office visits, a new study finds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many medical specialties to move from in-person to online appointments, but dermatology had already seen increased use of telehealth visits over the last decade, according to the George Washington (GW) University researchers.

Why Do Black Children Get Fewer Scans When They're Seen in ERs?

Black and Hispanic children who land in the emergency room are less likely than white kids to receive X-rays, CT scans and other imaging tests, a new study finds.

Looking at more than 13 million ER visits to U.S. children's hospitals, researchers found that white children underwent imaging tests one-third of the time.

That was true for only 26% of visits made by Hispanic children, a...

Too Many U.S. Doctors Biased Against Patients With Disabilities: Study

Dr. Lisa Iezzoni is all too familiar with the discrimination that patients who have a disability can face: Having lived with multiple sclerosis for more than four decades and now in a wheelchair, she has also studied health care experiences and outcomes for people with disabilities for more than 20 years.

But her new survey on doctors' attitudes towards disabled patients still surprised h...

Too Many Kids With Special Needs Are Going Without Adequate Support

As many as one in five U.S. children has special health care needs, and some of their caregivers are struggling to get them the support, care and services they need, new research shows.

Kids with special health care needs may have physical conditions (such as asthma or diabetes), mental health issues (including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or anxiety), developmental disorders ...

Vision Problems? Here's a Guide to Which Specialist Is Right for You

If you're having eye problems, you may not know which type of specialist to consult.

Here's some help from experts who explain the roles of an optometrist, ophthalmologist, pediatric ophthalmologist, orthoptist and optician.

Optometrists provide comprehensive eye care, including evaluations for glasses and contact lenses and common eye diseases.

"They play a role in monitoring...

1 in 4 Doctors Harassed Online, Study Finds

One in four doctors has been personally attacked or sexually harassed on social media, a new study finds.

Women are more likely to be sexually harassed, while both men and women are attacked based on religion, race or medical recommendations, researchers say.

Doctors received negative reviews, coordinated harassment, threats at work, public exposure of their personal information and...

Some Americans Can't Access Telemedicine, Study Shows

Telemedicine rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic as people turned to their phones and computers rather than leave their homes for health care.

But some groups of people were left behind in the telemedicine boom, a new study reports.

Middle-aged and older folks are much less likely to complete their scheduled telemedicine visits, as well as Medicaid recipients and those who...

Health Care After COVID: The Rise of Telemedicine

In late December, Dr. Ada Stewart asked her staff to check on a patient who had missed an appointment.

She soon learned that the patient had no transportation for the 45-minute drive, so Stewart offered to conduct the appointment by phone instead.

"It still accomplished so much. I was able to see how their diabetes was doing, how they were preparing for the holiday seaso...

Despite Setbacks, Reason for Hope Against COVID as 2020 Ends

As 2020 careens to a close, one thing is clear: With infections topping 19 million and a death toll over 333,000, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended nearly every facet of American life.

As a new year nears, two leaders in the response to the pandemic talked over mistakes made, hard lessons learned and new reasons for hope.

No one can say the United States has performed well against C...

Blood Pressure Often Differs Widely Between Two Arms: Study

Blood pressure readings between the two arms can be different, and that disparity can sometimes be a warning sign of heart trouble down the road.

That's the finding of an analysis of 24 past studies: When people have at least a 5-point difference in blood pressure between the two arms, their risk of heart attack, stroke or premature death inches up. And the greater the difference, the mor...

Pandemic Taking Big Mental Health Toll on Health Care Workers

Frontline health care workers have been through tremendous challenges this past year while treating COVID-19 patients throughout the world.

It should come as no surprise that many are having trouble emotionally.

A new study looked at the impact of the pandemic on sleep and mental health among the general population and health care workers by analyzing 55 studies involving nearly 190...

Pandemic Fuels Interest in Careers in Infectious Disease

As scientists have labored to understand COVID-19 and develop a vaccine to combat it, interest in infectious disease careers seems to be growing.

Academic leaders from the United States and Israel have noted the increased interest among medical students.

"We just went through an applications season for fellows, and we had more applicants than in recent years," said Richard D'Aquila,...

How to Talk to Your Doctor About Arthritis Pain

Chronic pain can be excruciating, debilitating and hard to describe.

Yet the best way to get the right treatment for the exact pain you're experiencing is to put those symptoms into words, so your doctor can pinpoint a diagnosis and help you find relief.

The Arthritis Foundation created a guide with suggestions for communicating your discomfort. Included are questions ranging from, ...

Don't Schedule Your Operation on Your Surgeon's Birthday

If you have a choice, you might want to avoid having an operation on your surgeon's birthday.

A new study finds that seniors who have emergency surgery on their surgeon's birthday have a much higher risk of dying in the following weeks.

Researchers analyzed data on nearly 981,000 emergency surgeries performed on Medicare beneficiaries by about 48,000 surgeons between 2011 and 2014. ...

'Repeat After Me' for Better Diabetes Care

Repeat this: The key to helping people with diabetes stay healthier and out of the hospital could be as simple as better communication.

And an underutilized technique called "teach-back" may make a big difference for type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients, a new study finds.

It's a simple concept: After a health care provider explains various details on treatment plans, medications a...

Years Leading to Menopause See Uptick in Women's Heart Risks: AHA

Heart disease risk increases in women as they near menopause, so it's crucial to monitor their health and take preventive measures as needed, a new American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement says.

"Over the past 20 years, our knowledge of how the menopause transition might contribute to cardiovascular disease has been dramatically evolving," Samar El Khoudary, chair of the writ...

Add Kids to COVID Vaccine Trials, Pediatricians' Group Says

Children should be included in COVID-19 vaccine trials at the earliest possible stage, a leading group of U.S. pediatricians says.

If that's not done, youngsters' lives could be at risk, according to the 67,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"If we do not add children to these research trials very soon, there will be a significant delay in when children are able to ac...

Wrongly Prescribing Antibiotics Sets Dangerous Pattern

Prescribing antibiotics for viral respiratory infections increases the risk of future infections and more antibiotic prescriptions, a new study warns.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viral infections.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from a U.S. insurer on more than 200,000 initial visits for acute respiratory infections at 736 urgent care centers nationwide and found th...

COVID CPR Safety Measures Don't Lessen Survival: Study

The effectiveness of CPR isn't compromised when EMS crews and others take recommended safety precautions against the new coronavirus, researchers say.

Interim guidance issued by the American Heart Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says health care providers should take extra precautions during the pandemic. That includes using personal protective equipmen...

If Elected, Joe Biden Has Big Plans for Health Care

If Joe Biden becomes the next president, he would have clear and ambitious plans for the nation's health -- expanding the Affordable Care Act, empowering public health agencies to deal with COVID-19, and passing a stimulus bill that would support struggling doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.

The question is how much he'll be able to accomplish with a Senate that remains in the han...

Preventive Health Care Falls by Wayside During Pandemic

Americans saw their doctors for preventive and elective care far less often than usual in the first two months of the pandemic shutdown, according to a new study.

That meant far fewer colonoscopies, mammograms, blood sugar tests, vaccines for infants and toddlers, MRIs and more across the United States, according to RAND, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based nonprofit.

Though telehealth v...

Telemedicine Out of Reach for Those Who Can't Get Online

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the United States, many people changed the way they live: As shopping, education and work shifted online, so did routine health care appointments.

However, while telemedicine seemed to make it easy to check in with a primary care doctor, a new study suggests that wasn't the case for everyone.

Researchers found that certain patients with con...

Don't Let COVID-19 Keep You From Seeing Your Doctors

Patients with chronic health problems don't need to put off seeing their doctors in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, that could lead to other health problems, according to an expert from Rutgers Center for State Health Policy at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, in New Jersey.

In a news release from Rutgers, assistant research professor An...

Pandemic Dangers Drive Some Doctors to Switch Jobs, Retire Early

Dr. Brad Cotton enjoyed working on the front lines as an emergency room doctor. Yet in March, as the coronavirus pandemic burst through the doors at hospitals across the world, Cotton left that more dangerous work behind.

"I left emergency medicine because that was much higher risk. I'm actually still working full time for urgent care, but the urgent care -- as we have it structured -...

Many Health Care Workers Who Have Coronavirus Don't Have Symptoms: Study

Four in 10 health care workers who test positive for COVID-19 don't have symptoms, which means they could unknowingly spread the disease to co-workers and patients, researchers say.

For the new study, the research team reviewed 97 studies that included more than 230,000 health care workers in 24 countries. Rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection among the health care workers ranged from 7% ...

More Than 1 in 3 U.S. Pediatricians Dismiss Vaccine-Refusing Families

Parents who choose to forgo or delay their children's vaccinations may quickly find themselves without a pediatrician.

Just over half (51%) of pediatric offices in the United States have a policy to dismiss families that refuse childhood vaccines, a nationwide survey found. Thirty-seven percent of pediatricians themselves said they often dismissed families for refusing vaccines, ...