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Is the Demise of the Doctor's White Coat Near?

TUESDAY, Aug. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Your doctor walks into the exam room wearing a white coat. Or perhaps your physician has on a fleece or softshell jacket.

Does it make a difference?

Yes, according to a survey that sought public perceptions on doctor attire and professionalism in the United States.

The lay public still appears to associate the tradi...

Leading U.S. Ob-Gyn Groups Urge COVID Vaccines for All Pregnant Women

All pregnant women should be vaccinated "without delay" against COVID-19, two leading groups of U.S. obstetric specialists recommend.

That advice — from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) — is based on tens of thousands of cases over the past several months showing that vaccination during pregnancy is safe....

Seniors Rarely Discuss Their Drinking With Their Doctors

Plenty of seniors may struggle with problem drinking, but a new study shows that less than half of them discuss their alcohol use with their health care providers.

"Older adults are at high risk for the harms of alcohol use, especially for those with existing chronic disease and who take prescribed medications," said lead study author Pia Mauro. That makes "discussions about alcohol with ...

Major Medical Groups Call for Mandatory COVID Vaccination for Health Workers

All health care workers should be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, dozens of major U.S. medical groups said in a joint statement released Monday.

"Due to the recent COVID-19 surge and the availability of safe and effective vaccines, our health care organizations and societies advocate that all health care and long-term care employers require their workers to receive the COVID-1...

Survey Finds U.S. Parents Split on COVID Vaccination for Kids Under 12

As a new school year approaches, U.S. parents are nearly evenly split on whether they'll vaccinate their young kids when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for their age group, a new survey finds.

"It's important that parents and providers don't wait for full COVID vaccine approval to begin discussions about vaccination," said Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital Nati...

Doctors Divided Over Use of Controversial New Alzheimer's Drug

The controversial new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm is creating something of a civil war in medicine, as health networks, hospitals, insurers and individual doctors weigh impending discussions with patients about whether they should take the medication.

Many doctors believe the U.S. Food and Drug Administration "moved the goalposts" to approve Aduhelm (aducanumab) in early June, and they aren'...

White Men's Grip on U.S. Health Care May Be Slipping

TUESDAY, July 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. medical field is less dominated by white men than it used to be, but there are still few Black and Hispanic doctors, dentists and pharmacists, a new study finds.

The study, which looked at trends over the past 20 years, found that white men no longer make up the majority of physicians and surgeons in the United States....

Do Women or Men Make the Best Doctors?

MONDAY, July 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- When you're hospitalized, you'll want qualified medical professionals treating you, but does it matter if your doctor is a man or a woman?

It might.

A new study in Canada found that patients cared for by female physicians had lower in-hospital death rates than those who had male doctors.

"Our study overall shows th...

Friends, Family Key to Turning a 'No' on Vaccination to a 'Yes'

Public health officials and government workers are trying everything they can to promote COVID-19 vaccination — advertisements, news releases, cash lotteries, and even incentives like free beer, joints or doughnuts in some places.

But nothing sways a vaccine-hesitant person more than a word with a family member, friend or their own doctor, a new Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) poll revea...

Why Even the Healthy Need a Primary Care Doctor

A primary care doctor isn't only for when you're sick. Even folks who are generally healthy need a doctor who can help them stay that way.

"Everybody should have one," said Dr. Vera Guertler of Penn State Health Medical Group-Eastbrook in Ronks, Pa.

"Just like everyone should have a mechanic, you need to have a relationship with a primary care provider from infancy to geriatrics," ...

Telehealth: Tips for Helping Kids With Autism Take Part

Telehealth is increasing in popularity in the United States, partly due to the pandemic. But some children with autism have difficulty sitting through these virtual appointments.

Yet those visits can be a helpful part of a child's ongoing medical care, and their convenience may help limit time away from work and school, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Healthy Children web...

Too Many Older Americans Are Taking Daily Aspirin

Many older adults are still taking a daily baby aspirin to ward off first-time heart problems -- despite guidelines that now discourage it, a new study finds.

Researchers found that one-half to 62% of U.S. adults aged 70 and up were using low-dose aspirin to cut their risk of heart disease or stroke. And aspirin use was common even among those with no history of cardiovascular disease -- ...

More Than Half of People With Asthma Aren't Seeing a Specialist

Among Americans with severe asthma, less than half see a specialist to manage their condition, new research shows.

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends patients with severe asthma be referred to a specialist for evaluation and care.

To find out how many people with severe asthma see a specialist, researchers examined insurance data from more than 54,000 pati...

Almost All U.S. Physicians Have Gotten a COVID Vaccine

While COVID-19 vaccination rates may lag among some groups, that's not the case for practicing physicians in the United States.

More than 96% are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with no significant difference in vaccination rates across regions, according to a new survey from the American Medical Association (AMA).

Even among the 4% not yet vaccinated, 45% said they do plan to g...

Most Editors at Leading Medical Journals Are White, Study Finds

The vast majority of editors at leading medical journals are white - with few of those influential spots going to Black or Hispanic professionals, a new study finds.

The study comes on the heels of a controversy that prompted the resignation of the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It all started in February when Dr. Ed Livingston...

Think You Can Skip That Annual Physical?  Think Again

Despite calls from some leading health experts to scrap annual physicals because they are a waste of time and money, a new study finds advantages to routine screenings.

"While it is disappointing that I can't tell my patients a visit with me or my colleagues will help them live longer, it is good to know there are proven, measurable benefits," said senior study author Dr. Jeffrey Linder. ...

Your Doctor Appointments Might Look Different Post-Pandemic

If it's been a while since you've seen your doctor, it may be time to schedule a visit to catch up on preventive health screenings or discuss any health concerns and chronic medical conditions.

During the 15 months since people began quarantining, many have avoided leaving their homes except when necessary, including not going to the doctor. But now COVID-19 cases in the United Sta...

After Editor-in-Chief's Resignation, JAMA Journals Outline Steps to Address Racism

Reacting to recent controversy, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced Thursday a series of steps it will take to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the medical society and its network of 12 influential journals.

Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), is stepping down at the end of June, forced out ov...

JAMA Journals' Editor-in-Chief Steps Down After Deputy's Racism Comments

Because of controversial statements about racism made by a staff member, the editor-in-chief of JAMA and JAMA Network will step down on June 30, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced Tuesday.

Dr. Howard Bauchner, JAMA's chief since 2011, has been on administrative leave due to a JAMA podcast and tweet about structural racism in medicine that...

Just 1 in 10 People With Alcohol Problems Get Treatment

Americans with drinking problems are rarely referred for treatment, even though most say a doctor has asked about their alcohol use, a new study finds.

The study is not the first to uncover low rates of treatment for alcohol use disorders (AUDs) -- the medical term for drinking that interferes with a person's life and well-being.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Hea...

Pandemic Caused Rise in Telemedicine Visits for Kids, But Will the Trend Continue?

Virtual doctor visits for children grew this past year during the pandemic, but a new poll shows U.S. parents are divided on whether they will continue using this option in the future.

The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan found that about one in five children had a virtual visit with their doctor for check-ups, minor illnesses...

Parents' Input Key When Screening Toddlers for Autism

Early screening for autism can speed up diagnosis and treatment, and now new research shows that pediatricians are more likely to act when parents express concerns.

According to pediatricians surveyed in the study, only 39% of toddlers who had failed a screening looking for autism signs were then referred to additional expert evaluation.

"The lack of referral follow-through was beca...

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

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 found.

"Older adults may worry about how doctors would r...

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

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 for Disease Control and Prevention found. Although the number...

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 ...