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Online physician communication

Concerns about time, cost and liability persist, while use of electronic communication raises issues including privacy and security regulations under HIPAA, efficiency, efficacy, care coordination, care documentation, practice marketing potential, and the patient-physician relationship.

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Appraising the value of hospitalists

While the hospitalist model has gained widespread acceptance within the health care delivery system, research remains surprisingly inconclusive as to whether it has improved the efficiency and quality of patient care, or lowered costs; while concerns remain about its potential erosion of continuity of care, the physician-patient relationship, and the supply of office-based general internists.

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Physician websites evolve

While these Web 2.0 technologies facilitate rapid access and exchange of medical information, democratizing the promulgation of that information requires more vigilance to vet its credibility and potential bias, as sources may be anonymous and/or have commercial ties to industry that are not immediately apparent.

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Growing uninsured strains safety net

As the number of uninsured grows, the strain on the health care safety net intensifies. Inherent weaknesses of that safety net – maintaining adequate resources and coordinating patients’ specialty care needs – may be reaching a critical point.

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Reducing health care disparities

Definitive causes of persistent health disparities remain elusive, but recent research from key agencies sheds new light on the issue, as well as which models of intervention may hold the most promise for closing the health status gap, and those models are being applied at the state and local level.

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