Integrated Healthcare Principles Receive New Guidelines

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American Medical Association
Image: ama-assn.org

Dr. Kevin Buckwalter is a physician in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the director of a local medical office for almost a decade. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter’s professional affiliations include membership in the American Medical Association (AMA), which released new guiding principles on integrated leadership in early June 2015.

Study Suggests Connection Between Healthcare Service Scope and Costs

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American Board of Family Medicine
Image: theabfm.org/about

A certified physician in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter has nearly 18 years of experience treating a variety of ailments in patients of all ages. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter is a member of the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), which released the results of a new study on the correlation between comprehensive care and lower hospitalization numbers.

Despite comprehensive care being one of the five core virtues of primary care, its relationship with patient outcomes remains unclear. The study sought to shed light on the relationship by measuring the scope of care provided against healthcare costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Samples in the research pool consisted of approximately 31,000 direct patient care physicians from the American Medical Association Masterfile and oversampled physicians in smaller states to allow for more approximate state-level estimates.

According to the study results, family physicians who offered a broader range of services to patients reported lower costs and fewer patient hospitalizations. The study’s findings established a strong connection between comprehensive care and hospitalization numbers. Researchers determined comprehensive care to be an essential component of healthcare measures. However, it only included exploratory data and thus remained unable to provide a complete and full understanding of the correlation between comprehensiveness and hospitalization numbers. For instance, the study was unable to include the full spectrum of ailments, ages, and modalities encompassed by family medicine.

Researchers concluded that the study’s findings and limitations demonstrate the need for further exploration of the connection between comprehensiveness and care costs, quality, and access.

Common Causes of Childhood Stomachaches

Dr. Kevin Buckwalter, a family physician in Nevada, treats patients of all ages. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter sees a number of pediatric patients and regularly addresses their everyday health concerns.

A common childhood complaint, stomachaches often mystify parents because of their wide range of causes. Abdominal pain can come from a virus, constipation, or a chronic condition. One of the most common causes is gastroenteritis, commonly known as the stomach flu. This virus, not actually influenza, typically brings on vomiting and diarrhea as well as pain across the belly area. More serious conditions such as appendicitis also present with vomiting; this particular condition is frequently characterized by acute pain in the lower right abdomen and tenderness when the child jumps or is jostled.

General pain without vomiting may be a result of gas building up in the child’s digestive system. Constipation may cause similar symptoms; both conditions are typically not serious and are manageable at home. If a child presents with chronic generalized belly pain, however, he or she may be showing signs of irritable bowel syndrome or a food intolerance. Other potential causes include reflux, ulcers, or simple digestive sensitivity; only a qualified pediatrician can make a definitive diagnosis.

Diagnosing and Treating Ear Infections

By Kevin Buckwalter, M.D.

As a family practice doctor in Henderson, Nevada, I treat a wide range of health issues in patients of all ages. Ear infections are one of the most common medical issues among children under the age of six. These infections can take many forms, including external otitis or “swimmers ear,” which affects the outer ear and ear canal. When a young child has an outer ear infection, it is identifiable by an earache that becomes more acute when the outer earlobe is moved. While ear discharge is a symptom of external otitis, fever is not, and the condition is generally treatable through antibiotic ear drops.

The most common type of ear infection is otitis media, which involves infection of the middle ear and often results in fluids filling the middle-air space behind the eardrum. Middle ear infections may occur within a week or two of a child experiencing upper respiratory tract infection. If the fluid becomes infected, pain and fever may develop. Symptoms of this condition among infants include irritability, continuous crying, trouble sleeping, and tugging at the ears. Parents who suspect their infant has such an infection should bring the child to a hospital or clinic immediately. The physician will examine the eardrum for redness, pus buildup, and other signifiers of otitis media. While middle ear infections may get better on their own, it is generally best to treat them with an antibiotics regimen. Unfortunately, resistance to antibiotics is growing in the United States. This is particularly true among children who have been prescribed antibiotics recently and those who are exposed to other children who have recently undergone antibiotics treatments. During the recovery phase, keep in mind that it is common for children to retain fluid behind the eardrum for one to three months. Otitis interna, which affects the inner ear, is relatively uncommon. As this part of the ear contains sensory organs essential to hearing and balance, a common symptom of its inflammation is vertigo.

Risk factors for ear infections that parents should be aware of include changes in climate or altitude, pacifier use, recent illnesses, exposure to cigarette smoke, and daycare attendance. Ear infections are most common during the winter months, when the weather is cold. They are also relatively common among infants who spend significant time drinking from sippy cups while lying on their back.

About the Author: A family practice physician, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter completed his M.D. at the Ross University School of Medicine and served his medical residency at the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.