The Wednesday Post

Howdy all!

Wednesdays are our slowest days on the blog so on Wednesdays we will be putting up something, not necessarily disease related, that has caught our eye from the last week in science. Thomas and I are both interested in more than just infectious disease so you might even see physics and engineering here (probably not from me, Thomas is the one who likes math). So come back every Wednesday to read about what caught our eyes this week!

For this weeks post I came across a press release that described some interesting results presented the 14th International Conference of the Israel National Institute for Health Policy. Prof. Talma Kushnir of the Department of the Sociology of Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has found an association between the mood of a physician and professional behaviour. She found that when in a good mood (as assessed by a questionnaire) the physician “spoke more to patients, wrote fewer prescriptions, ordered fewer tests and issued fewer referrals”. The opposite was true for bad moods leading her to speculate that “on bad mood day’s physicians tend to talk less, and may needlessly prescribe and refer more than on good mood days”. The implication of this work is that when in a bad mood physicians needlessly prescribe and refer more and this leads to lower quality and more expensive healthcare. If physicians are in a better mood it could act as a cost cutting measure.

This actually reminds me of a study I read long ago (but cannot remember who wrote it or when – bad scientist James) that made similar correlations between physician behaviour and the weather. Although if this study is accurate (and as yet I cannot find a paper, just a press release) the influence of the weather might have been included due to weathers already documented effects on mood.

Well, among other things this stood out to me this week. Check back next Wednesday for our next Wednesday Post!


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