Daily Briefing's editorial team covered a wide range of health care stories this year, including evolving U.S. mortality rates, physician pay, and medical mysteries. Below, we round up Daily Briefing's top 10 most-read stories of 2019.
A 2019 report from National Safety Council (NSC), along with data from CDC mortality statistics, shed light on how U.S. residents are dying, how the top causes of death are changing, and much more. For example, the CDC data showed U.S. residents are more likely to die from heart disease than any other cause—but suggested cancer might soon overtake heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Take a look at the five charts visualizing the data to learn more about the leading causes of death in the United States.
Medscape's Physician Compensation 2019 report revealed the average physician salary rose to $313,000 in 2019, but the gender pay gap among physicians grew. According to the report, the average overall physician salary in 2019 is $313,000, up from $299,000 in 2018. However, the gender compensation gap grew in 2019—with male physicians earning 25% more than female physicians in 2019—up from an 18% wage gap in 2018.
Newsweek released its list of "The 10 Best Hospitals in the World," which ranked Mayo Clinic as the No. 1 hospital in the world. The hospitals included on the list are "at the forefront of adapting to … new challenges while providing top-notch patient care," according to Newsweek. Other hospitals on the list were Cleveland Clinic, Singapore General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Charité.
In April, New York Times Magazine published the story of a 16-year-old boy who suffered from chills, sweats, aching, and lethargy. Despite visiting EDs around the world over the course of a summer's travels, he could never get a diagnosis—until his mom offered an unusual suggestion.
U.S. News & World Report in January released its 2018 list of the 25 "Best Paying Jobs" in the United States, and health care professionals made up all of the top 10 highest paid jobs in the list. For example, anesthesiologists ($208,000), surgeons ($208,000), obstetrician and gynecologists ($208,000), oral and maxillofacial surgeon ($208,000), and orthodontists ($208,000) ranked in the top 5. Others on the list included physicians, dentists, and optometrists—just to name a few.
CMS in late February updated its hospital quality star ratings for more than 3,724 eligible hospitals on Medicare's Hospital Compare website. CMS said 293 hospitals received a five-star rating, up from 112 hospitals in December 2017 and 1,087 received a four-star rating up from 970 in December 2017. However, the number of hospitals that received one-star also rose from 121 in December 2017 to 282 in the March update. CMS is currently working on a new methodology for calculating its star ratings to address stakeholders' growing concerns, which is expected to be released in 2020.
U.S. News & World Report in January released its Best Diets for 2019, with the Mediterranean diet ranking No. 1. For the list, diets are rated by a panel of nutrition, diet, obesity, and food psychology experts and placed into one of nine categories. This year's Best Diets Overall featured the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet, and the Flexitarian Diet.
When a Taiwanese woman—identified by her last name, He—started experiencing extreme pain and swelling in her eye, she went to the hospital, where doctors discovered four bees living in her eyelid. Matan Shelomi, an associate professor of entomology at National Taiwan University, "To my knowledge, this is the first case of a bee or a wasp getting caught in a part of a person's anatomy, as far as I know."
In May, the Washington Post published a story about Aliana Deveza—a 19-year-old who came up with a risky idea that saved both her mother's and another patient's life—and could change the way transplant centers conduct donations in the future.
For the millions of Americans who consume artificial sweeteners every day an unresolved question has long surrounded the habit: Could artificial sweeteners be hazardous to your health? In January, BMJ published a research review that seeks to settle the debate.