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Posts made in May, 2012

PAMF & Stanford Project Offers Health Screenings, Wellness Advice to South Asian Taxi Drivers

For South Asian taxi drivers, it isn’t traffic that threatens their safety, it is the sedentary lifestyle – sitting all day, every day.

Studies have found that taxi drivers are highly susceptible to a number of health problems because of their sedentary lives spent sitting behind the wheel. Drivers are must often eat on the go, making fast food their easiest option. Few of them get any exercise whatsoever, and many often suffer from back, hip and leg pain from sitting in a car all day.

South Asian taxi drivers are highly susceptible to a number of health problems because of their sedentary job.

“This lack of exercise combined with an unhealthy diet leads to disproportionately high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure among taxi drivers,” says Latha Palaniappan, M.D., Internal Medicine physician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

As part of PAMF’s cultural competency initiatives, Dr. Palaniappan and PAMF’s Cultural Competency Coordinator Edith Gamboa collaborated with Stanford’s student-led Screen Team on outreach to one of Silicon Valley’s most vulnerable communities—Mineta San Jose Airport taxi drivers.  They were joined by other PAMF employees who volunteered on Saturday, May 18, to provide health screenings and wellness advice. Read More

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards PAMF Research Institute $100,000 Grant for Unique Study of Health Care Payment

Research may inform policy to improve U.S. Health Care System

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Program on Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization for a unique study of health care payment, according to Harold S. Luft, Ph.D., director of PAMFRI.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program on Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization supports research that may inform policy to improve the health care system in the United States.

With this grant, a team of researchers led by Dr. Luft will be exploring the question of what resources and what types of physicians are involved in treating episodes of care commonly seen in outpatient settings, and seek to determine how “bundled payments” might be implemented.

The concept of  “bundled payments” is one of the new approaches to encourage greater coordination of care among physicians, and greater efficiency in the delivery of medical services. Instead of paying separately for each service rendered, an amount would be paid for an episode of care that covers all the necessary services.  The focus on the episode of care also makes it easier to assess overall quality. This idea has been used for decades by Medicare in paying hospitals, but is only beginning to be applied to physician services. Read More

PAMF Breast Health Center Provides Free Mammograms for Ravenswood Clinic Clients

Every day, Rita Sohlich, M.D. a radiologist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation,  sees the benefits of early detection of breast cancer. As an expert at breast MRI, breast biopsy and intervention, mammography and outcome analysis, Dr. Sohlich is passionate about making breast health screenings available to everyone.

Rita Sohlich, M.D.

“When I started at PAMF six years ago, I took over as lead radiologist in Breast Imaging from my colleague and friend, Dr. Tracey Dellaripa, and continued her goal to bring high quality breast ultrasound to the clinic,” Sohlich says. “Under the mentorship of Dr. Tony Marzoni, Palo Alto Division president and Dr. Solon Finkelstein, a PAMF radiologist for 45 years, we conceptualized and designed the Breast Imaging Center.  Offering something back to the community was an integral part of our mission.”

In February, 2012, Dr. Sohlich oversaw the launch of a new program that has been an ambition of hers for years. Building on PAMF’s long-time relationship with East Palo Alto’s Ravenswood Family Health Center, Dr. Sohlich has been collaborating with Ravenswood for more than a year to provide free mammograms to more than 250 eligible Ravenswood patients, who come to the Palo Alto Center one Saturday each month. Read More

Two PAMF Doctors, One Nurse Named Silicon Valley Health Care Heroes

On Thursday, May 10, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal held its annual Health Care Heroes Awards. The ceremony and awards highlight the individuals in the Silicon Valley health care industry: doctors, nurses, CEOs and others who have improved the way the health system works in the valley’s hospitals, labs, start-ups, nonprofits and universities. The 2012 winners were announced at the awards breakfast held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, and this year, there were three finalists from Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF).

Dr. David Quincy, Frank delaRama, RN, and Dr. Albert Chan

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Patients’ Fear of Being Labeled “Difficult” a Barrier to Shared Decision-Making

Shared decision-making is an approach to patient centered care that was featured prominently in the Affordable Care Act as a way to give patients a greater voice in making decisions about their health care. A new study finds that some patients are concerned about being labeled “difficult” if they ask too many questions or disagree with a recommendation from their physician and worry that this could result in receiving lower quality care in the future.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute and the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, was published in the May issue of Health Affairs. It identifies important barriers to shared decision-making that have received little attention to date.

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