Posts filed under ‘General’

Movin’ Out!

We are outta’ here!

….and moving to our new location on our website –

There we’ll have our opinions about the latest from the world of surgery, pathology, evidence-based medicine, structured data, synoptic reporting, and a whole host of other issues. There will be more writers covering more areas of discussion. So please head on over to learn more about us (although it may take a few days for it to stop looking so wonky).

August 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

Behavioral Economics, Insurance and Making Healthy Choices

I was reading this piece on Dark Daily, entitled “Behavioral Economics Likely to Push Up Utilization of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests” which suggests that laboratory usage will increase due to a trend in insurance companies to lower premiums through proactive intervening tests instead of costly reactive procedures. These tests would measure and inform certain healthy/unhealthy behaviors and would influence the price of coverage for individuals.

The piece’s author, Michael McBride, believes that more people will choose for less expensive coverage in exchange for living healthy, which will result in more testing sent to clinical and pathological labs.

While I thought it was interesting – especially as we at mTuitive have a pathology product – I was unsure about the validity of McBride’s assumptions. Luckily, I’m fairly familiar with behavioral economics as my friend Ryan has been studying it for years and is currently in the economics PhD program at Duke University. I asked Ryan if he could clarify for everyone the definition of behavioral economics and provide any examples that either support or contradict McBride’s findings. Here is Ryan’s response:

Behavioral economics is a burgeoning field due to its robust nature in explaining economic decisions. Where many view standard economics as too rigid, relying on assumptions of consistent preferences, full information, and unbounded rationality, behavioral economics use of flexible concepts like social/cultural framing, the status quo, and loss aversion seem to be more representative of the “real” world. Due to its accommodating assumptions and straightforward approach, though, there is a tendency for people to simplify or generalize the predictions of behavioral economics. An example of this trend can be seen in the Dark Daily article, “Behavioral Economics Likely to Push Up Utilization of Clinical Pathology Laboratory Tests.”

The article presents a well thought-out premise; new insurance schemes which incentivize improving health will have large take-up and thus subsequently lead to major increases in clinical lab tests. To motivate this discussion the author states, “given a choice of either unhealthy activities (e.g., smoking, eating badly, not exercising) coupled with an expensive health benefit plan, or an inexpensive, even zero cost, health plan that promotes healthy choices, behavioral economics theory predicts that consumers eventually choose the latter. That choice should lead to improved health while driving down the cost of healthcare.” This statement though is not completely valid. Nothing inherent in “behavioral economics”, or standard neo-classical economics for that matter, makes a costly insurance program with no behavior related stipulations necessarily the preferred choice over a cost-less but regulated alternative.

February 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm Leave a comment

Best Behavioral Study Ever?

Reddit alerted me to this excellent study conducted in Brockton, Massachusetts and published in the Fall 1974 volume of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis:

Be sure to check out the follow up study.

January 13, 2011 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

Becker’s ASC Conference – Come Hang Out with mTuitive!

Are you at Becker’s ASC Review’s 17th Annual Ambulatory Surgery Center Conference? Or are you just in Chicago and want to check out mTuitive OpNote in person? Want to see if we can rile up Bobby Knight enough to throw a chair at our booth?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of those questions, then come on down to mTuitive’s booth (#62) at Becker’s ASC Review’s conference. Say hello to Chris & Colin! Grab some of our free swag! Watch OpNote in action on iPads.

Come on down!

October 22, 2010 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Animated Differences Between Pathologists & Surgeons

(some language NSFW)

A video highlighting what Pathologists mean vs. what Surgeons mean when they’re talking about the same case:

How can we get both parties speaking the same language?

October 1, 2010 at 9:29 am Leave a comment

Words from Around the Web

Hey Everyone!

Hope people are having a great Friday the 13th. Here is a frightening round-up of some spooktacularly interesting links:

August 13, 2010 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

Don’t Panic: Assuaging Concerns as ICD-10 Approaches Our Shores

The times they are-a becoming quite different. In a few years (by October 1, 2013 to be exact), the US will adopt ICD-10 as the official (and sole) system for coding diagnoses. This will mean that the volume of codes available for diagnosing patients will explode from 14,000 to over 155,000 different codes. This astronomical expansion of the numbers of codes is a way of addressing the need for greater refinement of codes and data capture. But let’s take a step back and examine the origins of ICD and what the future of this coding system will hold for all of us.

August 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm 2 comments

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Disclosure Statement - The authors of this blog are paid employees of mTuitive Inc. and are compensated for their services.