Doctor visits, breast feeding and ovaries

April 21, 2009 3:18:31 PM PDT
You may expect to see more of your doctor when you're hospitalized, but a new study says that's not necessarily the case. Seeing your doctor when you're hospitalized can ease a lot of anxiety.

"This is the time that patients are the most vulnerable," said Dr. Gulshan Sharma, from the University of Texas.

It's called "relationship continuity," and it's at the core of quality health care.

Dr. Sharma and colleagues looked at a national sample of Medicare claims. They found that the number of patients who saw their regular doctor while hospitalized dropped 12 percent from 1996 to 2006. Medicare re-imbursement policy is one reason patients are more likely seen by hospital physicians."

"The most noteworthy finding of our study was that the majority of older hospitalized patients are seen by physicians that they had never seen before," Dr. Sharma said.

The researchers say electronic health records could help communications between doctors.

There's also new research questioning routine removal of ovaries. It's happening when women get hysterectomies, one of the most common surgeries had by women.

Now, a new study in the journal "Obstetrics and Gynecology" says women who have routine removal of ovaries during hysterectomies face a higher risk of death. The risk of heart disease and stroke for women under 50 is also increased. The authors say "routine" ovary removal is not a good choice.

Also, new research finds that breastfeeding has a previously unknown benefit.

The study finds postmenopausal women who breastfed their children were less likely to develop high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease when compared to women who never breastfed. However, this benefit could be due to the fact moms who breastfeed may be more aware of and practice healthier health habits. Breastfeeding also has many benefits for babies.


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