Oncologist Chilakamarri Yeshwant, M.D., and his internist wife, Akhileswari, created quite a stir in the tony town of Barrington, Ill., when they paid $180,000 cash for a house so their son could use the driveway as a parking lot.
The house is near Barrington High School, where 17-year-old Srinu Yeshwant is a student. Construction at the school has reduced parking, making it difficult for Srinu to find a place to deposit his 1999 Honda CRV. So, the Yeshwants last year bought the bungalow for what in Barrington is chump change. A few of Srinu's friends park in the driveway, and Srinu sometimes hangs out at the house when his parents are working late.
It's not uncommon in wealthy Chicago suburbs for parents to buy rights to park in driveways near high schools, but for the residents of Hager Avenue, this went beyond the pale. However, tempers may cool: In mid-May, the Yeshwants donated the house to a women's shelter, which agreed to allow Srinu -- but not his friends -- to park in the driveway during the day.
A side note to the Yeshwants: Buying a house so your kid can park? A 1999 Honda CRV? You aren't helping doctors get sympathy for their complaints about declining income.
Just like Margaret Mead. When Intel Corp. wanted to find out how physicians use technology in their practices, they didn't send technology types -- they sent anthropologists.
Intel wanted to "observe them, like New Guinean tribesmen, in their native habitat," says Steven McGeady, vice president and content director of Intel's Internet healthcare division.
Among other things, the anthropologists found stacks of paper strewn over a physician's desk, but no computer. They also found an office station with four computers that weren't being used. Instead, doctors and nurses consulted over a binder full of medical records.
The anthropologists' conclusion: Doctors either don't want to use technology or have technology that doesn't suit their needs. Not that you needed an anthropologist to tell you that.
Show me the money. Looking for a raise? Try leading a managed-care company into financial distress. Some of the nation's highest-paid managed-care executives represent companies that posted large net losses in 1998, according to Washington-based Managed Care Week (see chart below).
A leading example is Malik Hasan, M.D., former chairman and chief executive officer of Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Foundation Health Systems, which lost $165 million on revenues of $8.9 billion last year. Meanwhile, Hasan received almost $6 million in salary and bonus. Norman Payson, M.D., CEO of struggling Oxford Health Plans, received salary and bonus of $700,000, plus $2.6 million in other compensation, including stock options, according to Managed Care Week.
Into telemedicine. Last month, six physicians went to the top of the world -- literally -- to test the limits of telemedicine.
The group trekked to Mount Everest to study the effects of living and working in a high-altitude, low-oxygen environment.
The physicians are affiliated with the Yale/NASA Commercial Space Center for Medical Informatics and Technology Applications, which is part of the Yale School of Medicine.
They set up a medical clinic at Everest's Base Camp, 17,500 feet above sea level, and communicated in real-time with physicians at Yale via computers and videoconferencing. At Modern Physician's press time, the team had treated several medical emergencies.
In an e-mail from Base Camp, Ken Kamler, M.D., chief high- altitude physician, wrote: "This expedition demonstrates the vast reach of telemedicine. If it can be done from Mount Everest, it can be done from anywhere where medical care is inaccessible, including (U.S.) inner cities and remote rural areas."