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The Nursing Shortage Myth

By DAVID E. WILLIAMS

For years we’ve read that the US faces a looming shortage of nurses. Shortfalls in the hundreds of thousands of nurses are routinely predicted. These predictions have been good for nursing schools, which have used the promise of ample employment opportunities to more than double the number of nursing students over the last 10 years, according to CNN.

Yet somehow 43 percent of newly-licensed RNs can’t...

I Doubt Higher Debt Will Encourage Doctors to go into Primary Care

DAVID E WiLLIAMS

I woke up today and found a weird headline in my inbox: “Med School Debt May Push Docs to Primary Care.” It struck me as weird because I thought it was commonly agreed that the effect is the opposite. To the extent choice of specialty is motivated by concerns over debt repayment, it should push doctors to sub-specialties like radiology, oncology and...

HealthPocket: The Kayak of Health Insurance (transcript)

By DAVID WILLIAMS

The audio for this podcast can be accessed here.

David Williams: This is David E. Williams, cofounder of MedPharma Partners and author of the Health Business Blog. I’m speaking today with Steve Zaleznick, Director for Consumer Strategy and...

Data Analysis, the Election and Health Care Reform

DAVID E. WILLIAMS 

The re-election of President Obama dramatically increases the chances that the Affordable Care Act will be fully implemented. It also demonstrates the power of data and analytics to drive results and to improve over time. Karl Rove helped get George Bush elected by pioneering the use of consumer data to finely segment voters, but in the last two elections the GOP has been far eclipsed by the Democrats who have built on what Rove did and took it much further.

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An alternative to having “skin in the game”

The third-party reimbursement model drives up medical costs because patients miss out on the price signals that in a normal market would cause them to seek less costly alternatives and avoid wasteful spending. Various types of cost-sharing approaches –co-payments, deductibles, tiered networks, consumer directed health plans– have been tried, but they have limited effectiveness. A major shortcoming is the assumption that patients actually want more health care services, just like they would presumably go wild in the Apple store or Nordstrom if you set them loose there with...

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