Obama Interviews the Medical Blogosphere on Healthcare Reform

"If Dr. Rob can interview Santa, why can't I interview a select group of health & medical bloggers? They will have some good ideas to share."

So did President-elect Obama came to realize a few days ago. After his people kindly contacted our people, we felt compelled to grant him open access to our collective healthcare blogging wisdom. Without further ado, below you have this week's Grand Rounds -- a Q&A session with over 30 bloggers led by the incoming President on how to reform (for the better, we hope) healthcare.

On Health Insurance

Q: How does the blogosphere perceive the problem of having a significant group of people uninsured?

Health Insurance Colorado: a growing economic burden, which may lead to emergency rooms turning people away if they are unable to provide proof of health insurance.

>Dr Rich: well, a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed how overcrowding in American emergency rooms is NOT due to the uninsured. Rather, it is due to insured Americans who cannot get in to see their primary care physicians. We may need improved care both for the insured and uninsured groups.

InsureBlog: I'd second that. Lack of health insurance is a major problem but is it really our Biggest Problem?

It's All about Attitude

Q: You may have heard my campaign mantra, "Yes We Can". Can I count on your support?

ButYouDontLookSick: Yes. If Leslie Hunt can talk so openly about her chronic illness (Lupus) yet fulfill her American Idol dreams, we can fulfill our dreams too.

Notes of an Anesthesioboist: you are talking to the group of professionals willing to self-experiment with our own body for the benefit of science and our patients.

Medviews: My wife, son, and I signed up to work as medical volunteers for your upcoming inauguration.

EmergiBlog: I am on board too. But, please, remember that caring is the essence of nursing. And that is why my patients will always be my "patients" and never my "clients."

Neuroanthropology: Mr. President-elect, it seems to me that, despite all our good intentions, balancing the budget and multiple competing priorities will be a challenge. May I suggest you start practicing some capoeira for equilibrium training?

Shrink Rap: Happy to help. Now, we will need to protect some time for quality sleep time.


Q: I am encouraged by your words. How can my team and I better support you in your daily activities?

Aequanimitas: We need more role models for us to "learn to think, observe, and compare" and that the patient is our "first, last, and only teacher."

Mudphudder: Couldn't agree more. We need better mentors (and to learn how to select and appreciate them).

New York Public Library: also, help us maintain our brains in top shape. We need more sardines.

Other things Amanzi: and clear standards of excellence.

Allergy Notes: Having more free video lectures would help professional development on-the-go.

Degranulated: Above all, please help us clean the system from abrasive clinicians.

Mental Health

Q: The Mental Health Parity Act just passed into law. What are our major risks and opportunities?

Canadian Medicine: our country just went through a comprehensive, system-wide review of the most common mental health problem, depression, and found out that the healthcare system hasn't been effective in delivering on non-pharmacological treatments. We need to change this. Medicine does not equal drugs.

CockroachCatcher: I have come to the rather unpleasant conclusion myself that parents nowadays may not have been told the full story about Antipsychotics. How many of them have been made aware of their range of side effects when it is suggested that their very young child should go on such medication?

Dr Deb: we need to break old stigmas. When people need help, they should consider seeking professional medical and psychological help.

SharpBrains: plus, why would one wait to care about our brains until problems like depression have snowballed. Let's encourage the wider use of side-effect-free tools such as meditation to help people learn how to cope with stress.

Patient Outreach

Q: How can we empower everyone in this country to make informed decisions about his or her health?

HealthBusinessBlog: let me start by saying that maybe we aren't all as dumb as we look. True, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows that not as many people as expected use web sites that rate health services when selecting insurance plans, hospitals or physicians.

DuncanCross: Having said that, searching through trusted social networks, instead of rating websites, is an entirely rational way to go about finding care.

Jolie (no, not that one): I see too many people following random web advice. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Perhaps, in fact, what we need is a ratings system for the quality of the information available in the web?.

OutdoorHealth: we also need to provide more clear information on the side effects of drugs -and how to manage them.

The Happy Hospitalist: and to manage the expectations of families in the care of end stage illness. It makes no sense to me to things just because we can do them. We need to protect the dignity of each person.

In Sickness and In Health: we can also encourage patients in general -and breast cancer ones in particular- to have a positive outlook and a supportive partner.

Technology and Innovation

Q: What would you add to the agenda of my new Chief Technology Officer?

Life in the Fast Lane: widespread training in medicine 2.0 tools will be a must. Here I have prepared an in-depth review trying to reach out to the less computer literate of the physician fraternity.

Clinical Cases and Images: we hope the revolution will be Twittered . Even hospitals are doing so already.

ACPinternist: please consider the potential to aggregate online information and analyze patterns to track the spread of diseases like flu.

HealthBlawg: focus on innovations are either directed at, or have the effect of, ameliorating the primary care physician shortage.


Q: Talking with all of you has been a wonderful experience. Thank you. I need to go now to my next appointment, with financial bloggers. Any departing pearls of wisdom?

SixUntilMe: above all, give me a good dentist.

RebuidYourBack: now that you and your team will be lifting the whole economy, remember that lifting belts have not been shown to be effective at preventing back injuries. And they'd look funny on you.

Teen Health 411: please encourage teenagers to exercise.

DiabetesMine: and reckon the things a diabetic has to live with.

AdventureHealth: this may look a bit pedestrian...but here are some tips to deal with marine and saltwater infections .

DocGurley: Mr. President-Elect, it has been a pleasure to chat with you. We wish you a happy National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month!


That's it for this edition, hosted originally at SharpBrains . A Chronic Dose will host next Grand Rounds blog carnival. Happy holidays!