Sunday, June 29, 2008

Have you heard of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)?

Have you heard of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)? There's a company called Neuralieve that is developing a device that may be effective at preventing migraines. I love how technology is allowing us to develop devices that may alter the disease course and even prevent or stop certain symptoms from developing. All those companies manufacturing triptans may something to worry about.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Some Nurses Land Higher Salaries Than Primary Care Doctors

Care to read some lively discussions on the WSJ health blog? This particular story has caught a lot of attention recently:

Some Nurses Land Higher Salaries Than Primary Care Doctors

In the past year, nurse anesthetists recruited through the staffing firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates landed salaries that averaged $185,000.

That beats the pay for family practice docs hired through the firm, who averaged $172,000, and internists, who averaged $176,000.

Revisiting the Online MBA for Physicians

Which online MBA is the best program for physicians interested in transitioning to a non-clinical career? I've been doing some research on this question for a while now. There are some programs specific for hospital administration, medical management, etc. Some popular ones seem to be:

1. George Washington Healthcare MBA online

2. University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA online

The American College of Physician Executives ( also lists some other suggested programs for an MBA or MMM (medical management).

It you're not interested in medical management/administration, then you need to think about what aspects of business you're interested in. Why do you want to get an MBA?

Do you see yourself pursuing a career in:

  • Marketing?
  • Finance?
  • General management?
  • Starting a business?
  • International business?
  • Etc.

Then, ask: do you want to do a program that is 100% online? Don't assume that every online MBA is 100% online. Many require some campus (or residency) time. Are you willing to travel to these programs that require some on-campus face-to-face interaction?

The Financial Times ( lists which online programs are 100% online vs. 80%, vs. 60% etc.

Consider flexibility. How much time do you have to devote to an MBA? Some online programs are cohorted while others are much more flexible. The cohorted programs usually run 2 years and require that you follow a structured curriculum. Other schools offer a very flexible format where you can take your time and complete your education over 5, 7, or even 8 years - depending on the school.

Find a school that is accredited by the AACSB.

Finally, consider the tuition. Who's going to pay for the education? Tuition costs vary tremendously from school to school.

Jobs for Physicians with No Residency Experience

I've met many medical students considering the non-clinical path. The infamous question that always seems to come up is: "What types of non-clinical jobs can I get if I don't do a residency?"

The answer is that it really depends on many other factors. The question is not a simple one, since if you're interested in the business/finance side of the world and have an MBA with some real-world work experience, then you may be fine without doing a residency. In fact, many very successful people have gone that direction.

However, if you don't have an MBA and you don't have any real-world work experience, then it may be more difficult (but certainly not impossible) to find some really promising careers that align with your goals and interests. This will largely depend on your geography, your flexibility, and your willingness to learn new things and to explore your talents and capabilities.

Ask yourself a few things:
  • Are you absolutely certain that you don't enjoy clinical medicine? It may be much more difficult to go back to a residency later in your life. Have you explored Preventive Medicine/Public Health? Have you considered part-time work? To get to some of the best opportunities, you may need to start in a clinical career, get some experience, and then transition out of clinical medicine.
  • How important is salary? I realize that it may seem superficial, but it's very practical if you have loans, a family, etc. If you have another source of income or if you're married and your spouse makes plenty, then you're in a totally different category when you're looking for work. This is why some people love part-time or even freelance jobs where they can work from home.
  • What do you really enjoy? Some love/hate business. Some love/hate writing. At the end of the day, your work/life balance may be the most important thing to you. After all, if you have the opportunity to pursue a clinical career, the main reason driving you away from that must be because you don't enjoy that type of work.
Take a look at this post to think about some of your options:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drug Discovery & Development of Innovative Therapeutics

Drug Discovery & Development of Innovative Therapeutics is the ONE conference that continues, year after year, to bring together cutting edge scientists, leading academia, and the world's top drug discovery and development experts - all in one place, at one time.

August 4-7, 2008
World Trade Center Boston
& Seaport Hotel
Boston, MA

Highlights for 2008:

  • Pre-Event Online Partnering System: A Community to Schedule Meetings Prior to the Conference
  • New Expanded Areas of Content in 2008: Orphan Disease, Anti-Infectives, Imaging, Cardiovascular Disease
  • FDA Keynote Panel on Biomarker Qualification
  • Keynote Panel on Politics and Change in Pharma/Biotech
Register here:

Register Now for the 19th Annual Conference on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration

Register Now for the 19th Annual Conference of the National Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration

Online registration is now available for the 19th Annual Conference on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration, titled "Certified CME for Better Patient Care: Navigating the Regulatory Environment," to be held October 21-23, 2008 in Baltimore, MD. View the complete program and register online

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A free EMR Solution?

MD Bug is a FREE electronic medical record (EMR) solution. So what's the catch? Advertising.

Is it working? Well, I'm not sure that doctors want to trust a free solution. After all, service calls and support issues may get neglected.

However, perhaps someday Google will come up with a professional solution that will interface with Google Health. There is a huge market out there and I have to think that Google is working on developing such an offering.

Improved Prosthetic Foot: The K3 Promoter

I've always had a passion for advances in biomedical engineering. I've also always enjoyed reading Popular Science. There's a story about the K3 Promotor - an artificial foot that may result in more natural walking. Designed by a mechanical engineer named Rifkin, this foot design may revolutionize the prosthesis industry. Read about this foot here.

Computers Dosing Coumadin

Dosing Coumadin (or warfarin) can be a perplexing challenge. Dosing to get that ideal INR can be very difficult because every patient is different. Well, researchers in the UK have been testing the effectiveness of some computer-based dosing programs. Once again, technology comes through to improve patient care. Want to read more? Check out the article in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.

I'm sure there are other companies developing dosing algorithms and other types of software to simplify Coumadin administration. If this sounds interesting, then you may want to dig around and find some of these companies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Since I'm a physician executive working in a medical, nursing, and pharmacy education company, in my world, ACPE means two very different things:

ACPE = American College of Physician Executives

ACPE = Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

The pharmacy CE (continuing education) programs we develop are certified for ACPE credit. The ACPE is the pharmacy equivalent of the ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education) for CME (continuing medical education) programs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

MIT Tech Talk: June 11, 2008

The June 11th issue of MIT Tech Talk has many stories about nanotechnology research. Much of the research is in the area of biotechnology and healthcare. What an exciting research topic!

If I were a college student these days, I'd certainly be very interested in nanotechnology research. This research isn't just theoretical. The potential for real-world application is tremendous.

Master of Science in Health Communication

Interested in health communications? Medical writing?

Well, two major schools in the Boston area are offering a Master of Science in Health Communication

Tufts and Boston University

The program at BU is an online multidisciplinary program consisting of 10 courses. The program at Tufts is offered by Tufts University Medical School in collaboration with Emerson College.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Medical Writing Community

What does it mean to be a medical writer? How do you get started? If you're not sure, I invite you to join me in a FREE community of medical writers.

Here, you can ask questions, meet others, exchange ideas and stories, and get advice. I hope you find it useful.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Excited about the 3G iPhone

I don't plan to buy an iPhone (yet). I'm a loyal Verizon Wireless customer. Besides, I need actual keyboard buttons since I do so much typing on my phone.

The main reasons why I'm so excited include the following:

1. The 3G iPhone sets a new standard for mobile devices. Although many devices have been using an internal GPS to allow navigation, when a company like Apple does it on the iPhone, such publicity makes this the new 'standard.' So, hopefully all future smartphones and mobile devices will have internal GPS chips to allow them to act like fully functional navigators.

2. Style. Apple wins when it comes to style. Forget about functionalty. Who cares if you can't replace the battery? If style matters to you, then go for the iPhone. Personally, I need to replace my battery without a screwdriver.

3. Integration of functionality. The iPhone combines several devices into one: GPS, MP3, mobile internet, PDA, phone, etc.

Have you recently taken a look at the A.D.A.M. Symptom Navigator for the iPhone?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

How much traffic do websites get?

Do you ever visit a website and wonder: "how much traffic does this website get?"

Well, there is an easy (although not always completely accurate) way to roughly estimate how much traffic a website gets.

Visit: and enter the URL of the site you're interested in. You may discover that it's a site that's hardly ever visited, or it gets millions of hits each month. Interesting? Check it out.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Working from Home

I seem to be meeting more and more professionals who decide to get a job where they can work from home. There have been times when I've had to work from home and it can be very challenging if you're not used to it. There are so many potential distractions and ways that you can lose focus. However, if you prioritize and place the important tasks in front of you, then you can do it successfully.

Among those I know who are working from home, the main things they emphasize are:

1. Have strong computer and technology skills. Know how to web conference and make effective use with speaker phones for long conference calls. You'll be e-mailing attachments back and forth so be familiar with various applications and file types.
2. Be available. Use a mobile device if you have to, but make sure that people can reach you by phone and e-mail during normal business hours.
3. Be willing to travel as needed. Depending on your type of work, you may be required to travel for certain meetings.
4. Deliver on time. That will show that you're focused and dedicated.
5. Set time apart for work. Some people I speak to tell me that they work even more hours at home compared to the office. Make sure that you're not trying to do different things while you're working.
6. Balance your life. The home/work balance must be checked periodically. Otherwise, you're entire life may get engulfed by work.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Medical Writing Salaries

There's an interesting blog that quotes salary figures. The blog is called "MD Salaries" and there is an entry about "medical writer salaries."

The difficult thing about quoting salary figures is that the range can be extremely broad depending on your experience, education, background, skills, etc. It also really depends on the industry. The phrase "medical writing" now covers such a diverse field, ranging from creative writing, research protocols and safety reports, news articles and reporting, CME/CE, marketing and promotional documents, and so much more.

I don't think I've ever found an industry that has a broader salary range that the non-clinical healthcare industry for clinicians.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Medical Communications and CME

Wherever you have a cluster of pharmaceutical companies, you're likely to find communications companies that provide one of two services: 1) certified medical education (CME/CE) or 2) marketing/promotional education.

Both offer what is known as "medical education" but the key difference is whether the education is certified CME/CE or non-certified.

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has changed its guidelines in many places over the last 5 years, so the rules on CME has evolved dramatically. If you have interests in the CME/CE world, I suggest that you get familiar with the North American Association of Medical Education and Communication Companies, Inc., (NAAMECC). That's a good place to get started.

" On doctor's wall, an MBA"

Here's an interesting article on physicians pursuing an MBA.

On doctor's wall, an MBA

This article was also picked up by a Business Week blog here:

So what do you think? Is an MBA worth your time?
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