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The PMD Critical List: The Moment of Death


This week's list of must-read stories includes a book excerpt on pinpointing the moment death occurs, a call for docs to join the Twittersphere, and a look at drug companies' new emphasis on digital marketing.

This week’s list of must-read stories includes a book excerpt on pinpointing the moment death occurs, a call for docs to join the Twittersphere, and a look at drug companies’ new emphasis on digital marketing.

How Doctors Determine the Moment of Death (Scientific American)

A compelling excerpt from a book by a Harvard neurologist. “Knowing when someone’s alive and knowing when someone’s dead: it’s one of the most important jobs that doctors do. If we can’t do that, we can’t do anything,” he explains.

To Bring Doctors Back to Medicare, Fix the ‘Doc Fix' (Washington Examiner)

To ensure that the best doctors treat the neediest patients, a think tank scholar says the only “formula” is to end the Washington political parlor game on paying doctors who care for Medicare patients.

Why Every Young Physician Should Be on Twitter (Huffington Post)

A resident doctor says his colleagues who don’t Tweet are missing out on an “entirely different world.” Easy access to individualized professional news and info, networking with health thought leaders, and reputation building are the benefits.

Drugmakers Using More Digital Ads to Target Physicians (

According to a New England Journal of Medicine survey, about 25% of drug ads for doctors are now of the digital variety. This includes via electronic health record systems, mobile health apps, and social media. All can have good and bad ramifications.

What If There Is No Physician Shortage? (MedCity News)

Calling the perceived doctor scarcity “reflexive and antiquated thinking,” this report finds that “new care models and technologies are improving physician efficiency and increasing effective supply, while population health efforts and the retail insurance environment are reducing demand.”

Volunteer Work Can Inspire Aspiring Physicians (US News & World Report)

A young doctor who helped in devastated Haiti thinks properly executed volunteer efforts can aid med school admission. Too many “students get caught up in the numbers and competition of applying to medical school,” he says.

Michigan Doctors with Highest Payments Explain Why (

The new federal Open Payments database listing drug and device company compensation to doctors desperately needs context. Here, several doctors (GP, orthopedic and plastic surgeons, radiologist) get to speak out on why the pay is justified and the record misleading.

Dr Donald F. Steiner, Diabetes Researcher, Dies at 84 (New York Times)

RIP to a University of Chicago physician whose research transformed the understanding of insulin and other hormones. The caring, soft-spoken scientist produced more and better medicine.

Cost to Develop a Drug More Than Doubles (Bloomberg News)

The latest study shows that the expense can reach $2.6 billion to get a new drug from lab to launch. But there are a couple of sides to the story.

50 Statistics on Physicians Today (Becker's Healthcare)

A fast and fascinating look at America’s doctors by the numbers, including: 81% of physicians have a 401(k) plan, 55% of physician pay $7,000+ annually for malpractice insurance, 65% of physicians don't have their compensation tied to value provided.

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