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Health Care

Health Care

An existential crisis, burnout affects nearly two-thirds of physicians and increases health care costs. Burnout decreases quality of care through effects on patient safety and satisfaction, physician turnover, and reduced productivity. Although the causes are multifactorial, administrative burdens from poorly designed systems and ineffective regulatory policies are central to clinician frustration, with time-motion studies demonstrating […]


A new paper suggests a simple fix to the primary care physician shortage

The U.S. is running low on primary care physicians, with an estimated shortage of between 17,800 and 48,000 predicted by 2034. The dearth of doctors in this area has broad ramifications, ranging from more patients seeking care from specialty and emergency medicine to increased costs to the health care system and poorer public health outcomes.

One of the challenges to growing the ranks of primary care doctors is that family physicians and others in primary care typically have a much lower income than specialized doctors, as highlighted by a recent working paper from the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago.

Looking at tax data for nearly a million doctors over 13 years, the paper’s authors found that the average doctor in the U.S. earns $350,000 annually. Pay can climb much higher than that, with doctors between the ages of 40 and 55 who are in the top 10% of earners making an average $1.3 million per year. By comparison, primary care physicians in that age range, at their peak earning potential, earn an average $201,000 per year.

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Amazon’s chief medical officers on where the company’s health care bets are headed next

The graveyard is littered with Amazon’s bets in health care: wearables, Care, the ill-fated Haven. Out of their ashes, a new health strategy has emerged at the tech goliath. And while its leaders insist that Amazon has no grand plan for health care, a flurry of moves in the last year offer a glimpse into its ambitions at a time when they seem more cohesive than ever.

“We have learned a lot in the years that we’ve been dabbling in health care,” said Sunita Mishra, chief medical officer for Amazon Health Services. “And it’s now made us more confident that we’re on the right track.”

STAT spoke to four of Amazon’s chief medical officers about the company’s recent plays and how they fit into the company’s health care goals. Last November, it launched Amazon Clinic, a marketplace for virtual-only appointments for straightforward medical needs like pink eye, UTIs, and birth control. Two months later, its Amazon Pharmacy business launched RxPass, a $5 generic medication discount program, setting it up as a Walmart rival. And in February, it closed the acquisition of hybrid primary care company One Medical in a deal valued at $3.9 billion.

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