Vital Signs

September 20, 2016

Sometimes when you catch a bug, you need to look for the bite

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Focus on Lyme disease and flu-like symptoms

In continuation of our Health Matters series, we’d like to direct our focus on Lyme disease and the ways you can educate yourself to reduce the chances of misdiagnosis of Lyme disease the future.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by deer ticks that affects more than 300,000 North Americans per year. However, because diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult, many people who actually have Lyme disease may be misdiagnosed with other conditions, and many experts believe the actual number of cases may be much higher.

Lyme disease affects people of all ages. The Centers for Disease Control notes that it is most common in children, older adults, and others such as first responders and forest rangers who spend time in outdoor activities and have higher exposure to ticks.

The symptoms of early Lyme disease resemble those of the flu, including:

  • fever
  • chills and sweats
  • muscle aches and fatigue
  • nausea
  • joint pain

In addition, one of the most common indicators of early Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite. However, this telltale symptom is often faint or hidden on a remote part of the body, while some people don’t get the rash at all.

As with these early indicators, other Lyme disease symptoms (such as cognitive impairment, poor sleep, mood problems, and neurological issues) also occur in other diseases, making the symptoms of Lyme disease significantly overlap those of a host of other conditions, including:

  • fibromyalgia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (also called ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Because misdiagnosis of Lyme disease is particularly common, the need for a comprehensive approach to your care becomes even greater. Today’s complex health care landscape requires that we all become advocates for our own health and welfare. If you have flu-like symptoms and other circumstances that could indicate the prospect of Lyme disease, you should be skeptical about any diagnosis and open to the value of a second opinion.

 

400-06068735

Focus on Lyme disease and flu-like symptoms

In continuation of our Health Matters series, we’d like to direct our focus on Lyme disease and the ways you can educate yourself to reduce the chances of misdiagnosis of Lyme disease the future.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection primarily transmitted by deer ticks that affects more than 300,000 North Americans per year. However, because diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult, many people who actually have Lyme disease may be misdiagnosed with other conditions, and many experts believe the actual number of cases may be much higher.

Lyme disease affects people of all ages. The Centers for Disease Control notes that it is most common in children, older adults, and others such as first responders and forest rangers who spend time in outdoor activities and have higher exposure to ticks.

The symptoms of early Lyme disease resemble those of the flu, including:

  • fever
  • chills and sweats
  • muscle aches and fatigue
  • nausea
  • joint pain

In addition, one of the most common indicators of early Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite. However, this telltale symptom is often faint or hidden on a remote part of the body, while some people don’t get the rash at all.

As with these early indicators, other Lyme disease symptoms (such as cognitive impairment, poor sleep, mood problems, and neurological issues) also occur in other diseases, making the symptoms of Lyme disease significantly overlap those of a host of other conditions, including:

  • fibromyalgia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (also called ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Because misdiagnosis of Lyme disease is particularly common, the need for a comprehensive approach to your care becomes even greater. Today’s complex health care landscape requires that we all become advocates for our own health and welfare. If you have flu-like symptoms and other circumstances that could indicate the prospect of Lyme disease, you should be skeptical about any diagnosis and open to the value of a second opinion.

 

September 07, 2016

Industry Spotlight: The Financial Sector

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Finance is one of the most visible industries in America, but the financial sector faces unique challenges. To address the ongoing pressures, financial services firms are often forced to downsize and cut benefits, putting them at a disadvantage in both attracting new talent and keeping their employees satisfied. At the forefront of this issue is also the question of quality in medical care. Medical uncertainty is dangerous and wasteful. In the United States, a third of health care spending—equaling almost $800 billion a year—is wasted on unnecessary services, missed prevention opportunities and inefficiently delivered services.

In our newest Industry Spotlight, we go over the challenges of medical uncertainty in the financial sector, the value of Best Doctors in the industry and case studies from clients and members of Best Doctors.

Download the Industry Spotlight for free here.

400-04785386

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finance is one of the most visible industries in America, but the financial sector faces unique challenges. To address the ongoing pressures, financial services firms are often forced to downsize and cut benefits, putting them at a disadvantage in both attracting new talent and keeping their employees satisfied. At the forefront of this issue is also the question of quality in medical care. Medical uncertainty is dangerous and wasteful. In the United States, a third of health care spending—equaling almost $800 billion a year—is wasted on unnecessary services, missed prevention opportunities and inefficiently delivered services.

In our newest Industry Spotlight, we go over the challenges of medical uncertainty in the financial sector, the value of Best Doctors in the industry and case studies from clients and members of Best Doctors.

Download the Industry Spotlight for free here.

August 22, 2016

HEALTH MATTERS SERIES: Lupus

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Best Doctors is a company that provides individuals with access to the best medical minds around the globe. To contribute to this mission, we’ve started a Health Matters series which will dive into relevant health topics on a monthly basis. By curating information from trusted sources, we hope to provide individuals with the confidence they need to tackle any health issue they face.

Our focus this month is lupus. Lupus is a chronic and incurable autoimmune disease that occurs when our tissues attack our own immune systems. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. The condition is extremely complicated and unpredictable, making it one of the most easily misdiagnosed medical conditions.

The symptoms of lupus resemble those of other more common conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, influenza, and many others. Some of the most common lupus symptoms are:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Fever and muscle pain
  • Hair loss and skin rashes

Another hallmark of lupus is that the symptoms tend to be sporadic, meaning that they sometimes can “flare up” and other times are in remission, further confusing the prospect for a proper and accurate diagnosis. There is no single test to diagnose lupus and it sometimes takes months or even years for a diagnosis of lupus.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, from the time they first notice their lupus symptoms, it takes nearly six years for individuals with lupus to be diagnosed. 63 percent of people with lupus report being incorrectly diagnosed. Of those in the group reporting misdiagnosis, more than half reported seeing four or more different providers before their accurate diagnosis!

In addition to its complex and confusing symptoms, lupus can have big effects on your wallet. An October 2008 study found that the average annual direct health care cost of individuals with lupus was $12,643. The same study states the mean annual productivity costs (lost hours of productive work) for participants of employment age was $8,659.

The similarities of lupus symptoms to those of other diseases and the lack of testing protocols makes this inflammatory disease one of the most obvious candidates for the Best Doctors service. It’s important to take note of the symptoms you are experiencing. Having these in mind as you visit your physician will help you find the correct diagnosis. It goes without saying that second opinions are never a bad idea for health issues that are known to be so difficult to diagnose.

400-08109410

Best Doctors is a company that provides individuals with access to the best medical minds around the globe. To contribute to this mission, we’ve started a Health Matters series which will dive into relevant health topics on a monthly basis. By curating information from trusted sources, we hope to provide individuals with the confidence they need to tackle any health issue they face.

Our focus this month is lupus. Lupus is a chronic and incurable autoimmune disease that occurs when our tissues attack our own immune systems. Lupus can affect many parts of the body, including the joints, skin, kidneys, heart, lungs, blood vessels, and brain. The condition is extremely complicated and unpredictable, making it one of the most easily misdiagnosed medical conditions.

The symptoms of lupus resemble those of other more common conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, influenza, and many others. Some of the most common lupus symptoms are:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Fever and muscle pain
  • Hair loss and skin rashes

Another hallmark of lupus is that the symptoms tend to be sporadic, meaning that they sometimes can “flare up” and other times are in remission, further confusing the prospect for a proper and accurate diagnosis. There is no single test to diagnose lupus and it sometimes takes months or even years for a diagnosis of lupus.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, from the time they first notice their lupus symptoms, it takes nearly six years for individuals with lupus to be diagnosed. 63 percent of people with lupus report being incorrectly diagnosed. Of those in the group reporting misdiagnosis, more than half reported seeing four or more different providers before their accurate diagnosis!

In addition to its complex and confusing symptoms, lupus can have big effects on your wallet. An October 2008 study found that the average annual direct health care cost of individuals with lupus was $12,643. The same study states the mean annual productivity costs (lost hours of productive work) for participants of employment age was $8,659.

The similarities of lupus symptoms to those of other diseases and the lack of testing protocols makes this inflammatory disease one of the most obvious candidates for the Best Doctors service. It’s important to take note of the symptoms you are experiencing. Having these in mind as you visit your physician will help you find the correct diagnosis. It goes without saying that second opinions are never a bad idea for health issues that are known to be so difficult to diagnose.

August 11, 2016

Improving Quality of Care, Facilitating Return to Work – A Different Approach to Workers’ Compensation


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In addition to providing second medical opinions and medical excellence to employees, organizations are increasingly thinking about enhanced medical programs for their population that is at risk for work-related injuries. Why? Because every workday, some 5,000 workers sustain injuries which disable them for at least a week. The American Journal of Medicine states that at least 15 percent of all medical cases in developed countries are misdiagnosed. With workers’ compensation cases, not only do you need a correct diagnosis and treatment plan, you need a correct diagnosis and treatment plan quickly.

The urgent nature of these complex or catastrophic cases should not put the quality of diagnoses and treatment plans at risk. This is where Best Doctors comes in. With complex or catastrophic cases, early expert intervention, decision support and the knowledge of medical experts can dramatically increase the chances for success. Think: shorter recovery times, higher levels of functional recovery, avoidance of unnecessary treatments and lower costs. A win-win for employers and employees.

Now let’s think about and analyze your outcomes and cost data and determine return-to-work recovery times. How are the numbers looking? Back injuries, catastrophic injuries and chronic pain management are the biggest pain points facing individuals, employers and claims professionals today. Which areas represent your highest costs? Do you currently have a strategy or process in place for managing claims and identifying areas of improvement?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees who miss work for more than a year due to on-the-job injury or illness have a 25 percent chance of returning. After two years away, that number drops to almost zero. The numbers say it all. It’s important to help these injured employees recover by matching the claim to the medical resources.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about how Best Doctors’ Workers’ Compensation program could work at your organization, please reach out.


400-04639876

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to providing second medical opinions and medical excellence to employees, organizations are increasingly thinking about enhanced medical programs for their population that is at risk for work-related injuries. Why? Because every workday, some 5,000 workers sustain injuries which disable them for at least a week. The American Journal of Medicine states that at least 15 percent of all medical cases in developed countries are misdiagnosed. With workers’ compensation cases, not only do you need a correct diagnosis and treatment plan, you need a correct diagnosis and treatment plan quickly.

The urgent nature of these complex or catastrophic cases should not put the quality of diagnoses and treatment plans at risk. This is where Best Doctors comes in. With complex or catastrophic cases, early expert intervention, decision support and the knowledge of medical experts can dramatically increase the chances for success. Think: shorter recovery times, higher levels of functional recovery, avoidance of unnecessary treatments and lower costs. A win-win for employers and employees.

Now let’s think about and analyze your outcomes and cost data and determine return-to-work recovery times. How are the numbers looking? Back injuries, catastrophic injuries and chronic pain management are the biggest pain points facing individuals, employers and claims professionals today. Which areas represent your highest costs? Do you currently have a strategy or process in place for managing claims and identifying areas of improvement?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees who miss work for more than a year due to on-the-job injury or illness have a 25 percent chance of returning. After two years away, that number drops to almost zero. The numbers say it all. It’s important to help these injured employees recover by matching the claim to the medical resources.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about how Best Doctors’ Workers’ Compensation program could work at your organization, please reach out.

August 01, 2016

HEALTH MATTERS SERIES: When the symptom is a headache, finding the right treatment shouldn’t be

Headache

According to the World Health Organization, it has been estimated that almost half of the adult population has had a headache at least once within the last year. Chronic headaches can be among the most mysterious of health conditions, indicating other conditions or sometimes simply existing as a standalone problem.

The high probability of misdiagnosis in headaches raises some serious issues. Headache disorders collectively, were the third highest cause worldwide of years lost due to disability. A difficulty in diagnosis leads to more suffering, money spent and time wasted. And in the case of headache disorders, this applies to an amazingly large population.

Let us familiarize ourselves with two different types of headache disorders with common symptoms: migraines and cluster headaches.

Cluster headaches occur in cyclical patterns or clusters, and they are one of the most painful types of headache. A cluster headache commonly awakens you in the middle of the night with intense pain in or around one eye on one side of your head. Bouts of frequent attacks, known as cluster periods, can last for several months, usually followed by remission periods when the headaches subside for many months, and sometimes even years.

A cluster headache strikes quickly, usually without warning, although it is sometimes preceded by migraine-like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Common signs and symptoms during a headache include:

  • Excruciating pain, generally situated in or around one eye
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness and swelling in your eye on the affected side
  • Stuffy or runny nose on the affected side

Other migraine-like symptoms—including sensitivity to light and sound—can occur with a cluster headache, though usually on one side.

A migraine, on the other hand, is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head. Some people also have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light or sound. The intensity and severity of migraines often cause misdiagnosis between the two types of headaches.

Cluster headaches are also sometimes confused with sinus headaches, further complicating the diagnosis.

The similarities between cluster headaches and migraines are subtle, but they are enough to make it difficult for your doctor to make a certain diagnosis. If you are experiencing severe, debilitating headaches, pay special attention to the symptoms you are experiencing and write them down so you can remember to tell your doctor. In addition to advocating for your own health, never be afraid to ask for a second opinion. It’s estimated that half of the affected population self-treats with over-the-counter medications, but a lot of the time this Band-Aid fix is not as effective long-term as an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Headache

According to the World Health Organization, it has been estimated that almost half of the adult population has had a headache at least once within the last year. Chronic headaches can be among the most mysterious of health conditions, indicating other conditions or sometimes simply existing as a standalone problem.

The high probability of misdiagnosis in headaches raises some serious issues. Headache disorders collectively, were the third highest cause worldwide of years lost due to disability. A difficulty in diagnosis leads to more suffering, money spent and time wasted. And in the case of headache disorders, this applies to an amazingly large population.

Let us familiarize ourselves with two different types of headache disorders with common symptoms: migraines and cluster headaches.

Cluster headaches occur in cyclical patterns or clusters, and they are one of the most painful types of headache. A cluster headache commonly awakens you in the middle of the night with intense pain in or around one eye on one side of your head. Bouts of frequent attacks, known as cluster periods, can last for several months, usually followed by remission periods when the headaches subside for many months, and sometimes even years.

A cluster headache strikes quickly, usually without warning, although it is sometimes preceded by migraine-like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Common signs and symptoms during a headache include:

  • Excruciating pain, generally situated in or around one eye
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Redness and swelling in your eye on the affected side
  • Stuffy or runny nose on the affected side

Other migraine-like symptoms—including sensitivity to light and sound—can occur with a cluster headache, though usually on one side.

A migraine, on the other hand, is usually a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain at the front or side of the head. Some people also have other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light or sound. The intensity and severity of migraines often cause misdiagnosis between the two types of headaches.

Cluster headaches are also sometimes confused with sinus headaches, further complicating the diagnosis.

The similarities between cluster headaches and migraines are subtle, but they are enough to make it difficult for your doctor to make a certain diagnosis. If you are experiencing severe, debilitating headaches, pay special attention to the symptoms you are experiencing and write them down so you can remember to tell your doctor. In addition to advocating for your own health, never be afraid to ask for a second opinion. It’s estimated that half of the affected population self-treats with over-the-counter medications, but a lot of the time this Band-Aid fix is not as effective long-term as an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

July 25, 2016

A Word from Our Experts

We enjoy sharing our members’ and clients’ success stories with you. However today, it’s time to hear from our Experts, some of the most talented physicians across the globe, about their experience working with Best Doctors.

The Best Doctors database includes over 53,000 of the world’s top medical experts in 450+ medical specialties. Each has been designated as among the best by other doctors through an exclusive, Gallup®-certified process. Best Doctors takes great pride in its highly regarded physician network and it turns out these physicians applaud our program as well.

 

Here’s what a few of them have to say:

 

“Without a doubt, Best Doctors is a simple and transparent way of providing high-quality second opinions to patients in difficult situations, and in a way that benefits both the patient and the doctor. I myself have had patients who used Best Doctors, and I found the expert reports to be reliable and highly informative.”

Dr. Luís Costa
Professor of Medicine
Director of Oncology
Hospital de Santa Maria

 

“I have had the privilege of working with Best Doctors for the past six years, both providing Best Doctors evaluations and receiving them and am continually impressed by the excellence of service to the patient, their families, and all health care providers involved in the patient’s care. This is a single source, that provides expert analysis and opinions in a timely, accurate and efficient way to optimize diagnosis and treatment for often complex medical and surgical problems. The collaboration among the Best Doctors staff and consultants combined with a user-friendly platform allows state of the art and cost-effective care to be carried out in every situation. With the patient always at the center, everyone benefits and there is no better service available today.”

Dr. Neal Futran
Director of Head and Neck Surgery
Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology

University of Washington Medicine

 

“Best Doctors’ members receive expert advice from specialists with documented and internationally acknowledged expertise. They benefit from unbiased advice, which aims at working in collaboration with their attending doctors, not against them. Additional travel for seeing another expert doctor for a second opinion and the burden of additional diagnostic tests and procedures can often be avoided. I am happy to support an organization that is aiming to help people both in Germany and around the world to improve the quality of their health care. As a pediatrician, I am convinced that parents will highly appreciate the reassurance to achieve optimal medical care for their sick child. Best Doctors can provide accurate and independent medical advice and expertise.”

Dr. Sibylle Koletzko
Professor and Director of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Dr. von Haunersches Kinderspital

 

“Having been a consultant for Best Doctors for over three years, I can say to patients and their treating doctors that Best Doctors is a virtuous and transparent organization. Never feel ashamed about asking for a second or third opinion. Excellent medical care and optimizing quality of life are the primary goals for every doctor in every country.”

Dr. Frans Moll
Professor and Director of Vascular Surgery
Chairman of the Department of Surgery

University Medical Centre Utrecht

 

“As a member of the Best Doctors European Medical Advisory Board, I am proud to be part of an organization that puts Europeans in touch with the world´s best available specialists. Having seen how my own expertise has helped members and their treating doctors make confident, informed decisions on their health, I would recommend Best Doctors to anyone seeking reassurance and certainty for themselves, their families and their loved ones.”

Dr. José Luis Zamorano
Professor of Medicine and Director of Cardiology
University Hospital Ramón y Cajal

We enjoy sharing our members’ and clients’ success stories with you. However today, it’s time to hear from our Experts, some of the most talented physicians across the globe, about their experience working with Best Doctors.

The Best Doctors database includes over 53,000 of the world’s top medical experts in 450+ medical specialties. Each has been designated as among the best by other doctors through an exclusive, Gallup®-certified process. Best Doctors takes great pride in its highly regarded physician network and it turns out these physicians applaud our program as well.

 

Here’s what a few of them have to say:

 

“Without a doubt, Best Doctors is a simple and transparent way of providing high-quality second opinions to patients in difficult situations, and in a way that benefits both the patient and the doctor. I myself have had patients who used Best Doctors, and I found the expert reports to be reliable and highly informative.”

Dr. Luís Costa
Professor of Medicine
Director of Oncology
Hospital de Santa Maria

 

“I have had the privilege of working with Best Doctors for the past six years, both providing Best Doctors evaluations and receiving them and am continually impressed by the excellence of service to the patient, their families, and all health care providers involved in the patient’s care. This is a single source, that provides expert analysis and opinions in a timely, accurate and efficient way to optimize diagnosis and treatment for often complex medical and surgical problems. The collaboration among the Best Doctors staff and consultants combined with a user-friendly platform allows state of the art and cost-effective care to be carried out in every situation. With the patient always at the center, everyone benefits and there is no better service available today.”

Dr. Neal Futran
Director of Head and Neck Surgery
Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology

University of Washington Medicine

 

“Best Doctors’ members receive expert advice from specialists with documented and internationally acknowledged expertise. They benefit from unbiased advice, which aims at working in collaboration with their attending doctors, not against them. Additional travel for seeing another expert doctor for a second opinion and the burden of additional diagnostic tests and procedures can often be avoided. I am happy to support an organization that is aiming to help people both in Germany and around the world to improve the quality of their health care. As a pediatrician, I am convinced that parents will highly appreciate the reassurance to achieve optimal medical care for their sick child. Best Doctors can provide accurate and independent medical advice and expertise.”

Dr. Sibylle Koletzko
Professor and Director of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Dr. von Haunersches Kinderspital

 

“Having been a consultant for Best Doctors for over three years, I can say to patients and their treating doctors that Best Doctors is a virtuous and transparent organization. Never feel ashamed about asking for a second or third opinion. Excellent medical care and optimizing quality of life are the primary goals for every doctor in every country.”

Dr. Frans Moll
Professor and Director of Vascular Surgery
Chairman of the Department of Surgery

University Medical Centre Utrecht

 

“As a member of the Best Doctors European Medical Advisory Board, I am proud to be part of an organization that puts Europeans in touch with the world´s best available specialists. Having seen how my own expertise has helped members and their treating doctors make confident, informed decisions on their health, I would recommend Best Doctors to anyone seeking reassurance and certainty for themselves, their families and their loved ones.”

Dr. José Luis Zamorano
Professor of Medicine and Director of Cardiology
University Hospital Ramón y Cajal

July 13, 2016

White Paper: Ensuring Medical Quality and Improving Outcomes

White Paper Cover for BlogThe higher cost doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality. In fact, misdiagnosis is rampant in the medical world, affecting hundreds of thousands of people each year.

It’s so common the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that most Americans will encounter at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, sometimes with severe consequences to their mental or physical health. Recent studies have found medical error causes up to 440,000 deaths in the United States. In Canada, misdiagnosis accounts for up to 60,000 deaths per year at its highest estimate—equaling over 20 percent of the country’s total annual deaths.

Though much effort in the medical world has been focused on improving that quality, some care still lags far behind what it should be. Faced with this conundrum, employers are struggling to find the balance between medical care that is both cost-effective and efficient.

Our newest white paper explores the relationship between cost and medical quality, how to identify the top quality medical providers and our recommendations for improving medical quality in your programs.

Download the white paper for free here.

White Paper Cover for BlogThe higher cost doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality. In fact, misdiagnosis is rampant in the medical world, affecting hundreds of thousands of people each year.

It’s so common the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that most Americans will encounter at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, sometimes with severe consequences to their mental or physical health. Recent studies have found medical error causes up to 440,000 deaths in the United States. In Canada, misdiagnosis accounts for up to 60,000 deaths per year at its highest estimate—equaling over 20 percent of the country’s total annual deaths.

Though much effort in the medical world has been focused on improving that quality, some care still lags far behind what it should be. Faced with this conundrum, employers are struggling to find the balance between medical care that is both cost-effective and efficient.

Our newest white paper explores the relationship between cost and medical quality, how to identify the top quality medical providers and our recommendations for improving medical quality in your programs.

Download the white paper for free here.

March 22, 2016

VIDEO: Employer Client Testimonial

Every once in awhile our clients give us their perspectives on partnering with Best Doctors and allow us to share them in a video. Cory Fitts is the Benefits Director at Hines Interests and took a couple of minutes to discuss what drove her team’s decision in selecting the Best Doctors program:

Cory touches on many of the themes we hear from our clients all the time. Just to highlight a few—

  • As an employer, their goal is to help make their staff better consumers of health care and provide the tools to ensure the right diagnosis and right treatment
  • They further want to demonstrate to their leadership team that they are making a true impact on their employees, and they have the reporting and results to prove it
  • One theme we hear constantly: Best Doctors has been one of the easiest programs to implement and manage, owing to our many years of experience and hundreds of clients
  • After an extensive review of the marketplace, including consulting their peers, they found that Best Doctors was the best in class partner

It’s always gratifying when clients share their first person perspectives on why they selected Best Doctors and how the program helps address their specific challenges.

Every once in awhile our clients give us their perspectives on partnering with Best Doctors and allow us to share them in a video. Cory Fitts is the Benefits Director at Hines Interests and took a couple of minutes to discuss what drove her team’s decision in selecting the Best Doctors program:

Cory touches on many of the themes we hear from our clients all the time. Just to highlight a few—

  • As an employer, their goal is to help make their staff better consumers of health care and provide the tools to ensure the right diagnosis and right treatment
  • They further want to demonstrate to their leadership team that they are making a true impact on their employees, and they have the reporting and results to prove it
  • One theme we hear constantly: Best Doctors has been one of the easiest programs to implement and manage, owing to our many years of experience and hundreds of clients
  • After an extensive review of the marketplace, including consulting their peers, they found that Best Doctors was the best in class partner

It’s always gratifying when clients share their first person perspectives on why they selected Best Doctors and how the program helps address their specific challenges.

November 18, 2015

Are Seniors to Blame?

A recent Globe and Mail article’s startling headline “Canada’s health-care system braces for hike in costs with influx of seniors” appears to point the finger at the aging boomer demographic, stating that because the senior demographic is growing exponentially in Canada, this will cost Canadian taxpayers and governments more in health care dollars.

It’s inevitable that as we age we require more medical care. And the more health care needed, the greater the expense. However this information begs to question – what exactly makes up the hike in costs? After doing a little research, it became clearer to me that the issue isn’t necessarily the demographic, but rather how government coffers are spent.

The infographic below (courtesy of CIHI - the full report can be found here) shows that the largest health expenditures are for Hospitals, Physicians and Drugs. And it’s no surprise that when seniors’ health begins to decline, this is typically where the costs end up.

Where are Canada's health care dollars going?

Picture this: a boomer has heart palpitations, goes to his family doctor (PHYSICIANS), is referred to a cardiologist (PHYSICIANS) who diagnoses him with heart disease and prescribes medications (DRUGS). As the months and years go by, the medications cease to assist and the patient is hospitalized after a triple-bypass surgery (HOSPITALS). Unfortunately this is an all-too common scenario.

But what would happen if the boomer were regularly seeing a personal trainer and nutritionist? Maybe the palpitations wouldn’t appear in the first place. Or if the patient had received an alternate opinion on the treatment prescribed by the cardiologist? Maybe the medication would have been sustainable.

What would happen if we invested more in alternative or preventative health care? Maybe seniors who don’t require acute care can go to a long-term care or rehab facility, instead of occupying very expensive hospital beds. Maybe instead of going through costly procedures, Canadians can get a second opinion and learn that there are more economical (yet equally successful) alternatives for treatment.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s not on whom we’re spending our health care dollars, but rather how we are spending them.

A recent Globe and Mail article’s startling headline “Canada’s health-care system braces for hike in costs with influx of seniors” appears to point the finger at the aging boomer demographic, stating that because the senior demographic is growing exponentially in Canada, this will cost Canadian taxpayers and governments more in health care dollars.

It’s inevitable that as we age we require more medical care. And the more health care needed, the greater the expense. However this information begs to question – what exactly makes up the hike in costs? After doing a little research, it became clearer to me that the issue isn’t necessarily the demographic, but rather how government coffers are spent.

The infographic below (courtesy of CIHI - the full report can be found here) shows that the largest health expenditures are for Hospitals, Physicians and Drugs. And it’s no surprise that when seniors’ health begins to decline, this is typically where the costs end up.

Where are Canada's health care dollars going?

Picture this: a boomer has heart palpitations, goes to his family doctor (PHYSICIANS), is referred to a cardiologist (PHYSICIANS) who diagnoses him with heart disease and prescribes medications (DRUGS). As the months and years go by, the medications cease to assist and the patient is hospitalized after a triple-bypass surgery (HOSPITALS). Unfortunately this is an all-too common scenario.

But what would happen if the boomer were regularly seeing a personal trainer and nutritionist? Maybe the palpitations wouldn’t appear in the first place. Or if the patient had received an alternate opinion on the treatment prescribed by the cardiologist? Maybe the medication would have been sustainable.

What would happen if we invested more in alternative or preventative health care? Maybe seniors who don’t require acute care can go to a long-term care or rehab facility, instead of occupying very expensive hospital beds. Maybe instead of going through costly procedures, Canadians can get a second opinion and learn that there are more economical (yet equally successful) alternatives for treatment.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s not on whom we’re spending our health care dollars, but rather how we are spending them.

October 23, 2015

What a Pain in the Back

As I begin to write this blog post, I realize I’m the epitome of what “NOT” to do when it comes to posture and back pain: I sit hunched over my desk, which is where I’ve been for several hours, without a break or change in position.backache 72 dpi

Fortunately I’m still young-ish and have an opportunity to fix things. And I should try, because the statistics are startling: back pain is a common problem among adults affecting up to 80% of people at least once in their lifetime. Moreover, the cost of medical expenditures alone for low back pain are estimated between $6 and $12 billion annually with additional costs associated with the impact on society due to the loss in worker productivity from time off work and the associated disability payments.

It seems though there are three main causes for back pain across Canada:

  • Our aging population
  • Our growing waistlines
  • Our increasingly sedentary lifestyles

There’s obviously nothing we can do about our aging population (although my fingers are crossed for the miracle elixir to be on store shelves soon!) but the other two factors are definitely preventable.

To keep our BMI (which is our Body Mass Index, a way to calculate our weight in proportion to our height, age and sex) down, the simple solution is to eat sensibly and maintain a level of physical activity for at least 15-30 minutes a day (although we all know it’s not “that” simple especially this time of year with pumpkin pie and candy corn…but we can at least try)!

But other than changing your career to become a landscaper or mechanic, how else does one “prevent” the sedentary action of sitting at your computer all day? Stats show that over 75% of workers sit for long periods of time – so this affects most people.

First and foremost – take breaks. Instead of sending an email or picking up the phone to your colleague who literally sits 100 feet away from you, walk over! It is said that a 5-minute break every hour is better for the health and safety of workers. Posture at your desk is also very important, and so is the design of your workstation. And if you have an open (and perhaps private if you prefer) space at your office, you can try some quick back and core strengthening exercises – it’s said that training your core muscles is extremely important in stabilizing and sparing undue stress on the spine.

In the long run, taking on these simple tactics and minor changes are definitely worth preventing years of lower back pain and anguish in the future. I know I’ll try it!

As I begin to write this blog post, I realize I’m the epitome of what “NOT” to do when it comes to posture and back pain: I sit hunched over my desk, which is where I’ve been for several hours, without a break or change in position.backache 72 dpi

Fortunately I’m still young-ish and have an opportunity to fix things. And I should try, because the statistics are startling: back pain is a common problem among adults affecting up to 80% of people at least once in their lifetime. Moreover, the cost of medical expenditures alone for low back pain are estimated between $6 and $12 billion annually with additional costs associated with the impact on society due to the loss in worker productivity from time off work and the associated disability payments.

It seems though there are three main causes for back pain across Canada:

  • Our aging population
  • Our growing waistlines
  • Our increasingly sedentary lifestyles

There’s obviously nothing we can do about our aging population (although my fingers are crossed for the miracle elixir to be on store shelves soon!) but the other two factors are definitely preventable.

To keep our BMI (which is our Body Mass Index, a way to calculate our weight in proportion to our height, age and sex) down, the simple solution is to eat sensibly and maintain a level of physical activity for at least 15-30 minutes a day (although we all know it’s not “that” simple especially this time of year with pumpkin pie and candy corn…but we can at least try)!

But other than changing your career to become a landscaper or mechanic, how else does one “prevent” the sedentary action of sitting at your computer all day? Stats show that over 75% of workers sit for long periods of time – so this affects most people.

First and foremost – take breaks. Instead of sending an email or picking up the phone to your colleague who literally sits 100 feet away from you, walk over! It is said that a 5-minute break every hour is better for the health and safety of workers. Posture at your desk is also very important, and so is the design of your workstation. And if you have an open (and perhaps private if you prefer) space at your office, you can try some quick back and core strengthening exercises – it’s said that training your core muscles is extremely important in stabilizing and sparing undue stress on the spine.

In the long run, taking on these simple tactics and minor changes are definitely worth preventing years of lower back pain and anguish in the future. I know I’ll try it!