Some healthcare headliners to finish out the week…

Facebook me, Doc

Docs want to find ways to better communicate with customers. Sounds harmless, right? Well, just in case, the Ohio State Medical Association has put together a tool kit for docs in dealing with employment and patient matters when it comes to social media. That’s right, physician playbook for the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

Physicians and office staff posting to social media, Wikipedia and online physician-rating and discussion sites could run afoul of federal civil rights, disability, advertising and patient privacy laws and therefore should exercise caution, the medical association’s guide says.

The guide advises doctors to take care when accepting friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter, especially if such contacts could lead to giving casual medical advice. In doing so, the guide advises, “The physician most likely has created an electronic record of an exchange that could be construed as a physician-patient relationship,” with all the medical liability and patient privacy risks that entails.


Money where his mouth is … if we knew who “he” is

Harvard’s initiative to improve primary care got a huge boost – to the tune of $30 million. As an anonymous gift, reports the Boston Globe.

Ultimately, Harvard — which some physicians believe has neglected primary care — wants to help fix the nation’s shortage of primary care doctors by raising their status among their peers and improving working conditions, said the dean, Dr. Jeffrey Flier.

He said the center will pay part of the salaries for 20 to 30 faculty, oversee expansion of the curriculum in primary care, and fund research and experiments to test new models of providing primary care. The school hopes to recruit a renowned national leader in the field to head the center, which Harvard planned to announce today. It will open over the next few months.

Your customers need a raise

Here’s one of the reasons why primary care is getting so much attention. A new study found primary care docs to be on the low end of the physician pay scale.

Overall, clinicians worked an average of 53.1 hours per week and earned an average annual income of $187,857. Compared to primary care specialists, wages were 48 percent higher for surgeons, 36 percent higher for internal medicine and pediatric subspecialties, and 45 percent higher for clinicians in other specialties.

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