MD News

Serving the Bay Area Medical Community

Archive for December, 2005

The Medical Spa Buzz

Posted by Alex Gault on December 22, 2005

Healthcare industry experts, medical ethicists and traditional cosmetic surgeons are all watching the fastest growing trend in the spa industry. There are now an estimated 1,250 medical spas in cities across the nation, offering treatments ranging from the common massage to ultrasound facials and Botox injections. Family practitioners, eye doctors, and gynecologists are augmenting their practices with spa services or starting new medical spas.

On San Francisco’s Union Street, two medical spas — SKN Medical Spa and the Union Street Medspa — offer a variety of cosmetic and anti-aging skin treatments. SKN Medical Spa founder Dr. Robert Colvin, formerly an emergency room specialist, says he finds his new enterprise more satisfying because he can more easily see results. His business offers Botox, laser skin rejuvenation, hair removal and skin peels. He performs all the treatments himself, spending far more time with patients than he did in the ER.

California requires that medical spas be owned by doctors. Cosmeticians may not hire doctors to run the spas or share profits with them, but can rent out space to doctors who perform treatments themselves and charge their own fees.


Posted in Commercial, Leaders, Patients | 2 Comments »

Health Search Engine Launches

Posted by Alex Gault on December 15, 2005

San Francisco based Healthline has launched the first search engine which focuses exclusively on the health care domain.

The Healthline search engine interprets everyday words used by searchers and matches them with medical terminology so that users can burrow down to the information they need. It draws upon a database of more than 800,000 medical terms and synonyms. Already, the engine has indexed 62,000 health web sites (40 million pages) and partnered with the leading proprietary medical databases. 

Posted in Commercial, Technology | 1 Comment »

Study Concludes Pay-for-Performance Works

Posted by Alex Gault on December 5, 2005

Doctors will provide higher quality care when given financial incentives to do so, concludes a 3 year study of 7 pay-for-performance (P4P) programs.

P4P programs have been gaining traction lately. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has launched 7 programs in hospitals, chronic care management and outpatient physician services — the “largest experiment in the country” for assessing P4P, said Suzanne Delbanco, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, a consortium of health care purchasers that provided technical assistance to the programs.

The study suggests that incentives need to be at least $5,000 per physician or perhaps as high as 10 percent of a physician’s income to make a difference.

Blue Cross of California is implementing a P4P project in San Francisco and plans to expand it statewide.

Funds for the projects came from the RWJF (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), the CHCF (California HealthCare Foundation) and the Commonwealth Fund.

Posted in Insurance, Leaders | 1 Comment »