Computers, more specifically, electronic health records (EHRs), will someday revolutionize the practice of medicine. In fact, successful computerization of medical care is the most critical step necessary to transform the American health care system from its current sorry state to the 21st-century system of our dreams. It is ironic, then, that today EHRs represent one of the worst problems plaguing medical professionals. At this point, many physicians would say that ...

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Two hours of administrative tasks for every hour with patients. A proliferation of non-physician administrators deciding how the day is going to run. Little in our training about how to cope with uncertainty and change. It’s no surprise that burnout rates are approaching 60 percent. Despite being so common, when we see a colleague struggling with physician burnout, we may not know what to say. Responding appropriately can bring someone ...

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Your brain is a three-pound hunk of biological tissue. And though it’s nothing more than a conglomeration of specialized cells, it generates the taste of cheesecake, the ecstasy of enchantment, and the misery of suffering. Amazing, right? I certainly think so, though I find myself among a shrinking minority. Whereas the eyes of our medical forefathers were turned toward the heavens in search of answers to seemingly unknowable questions -- ...

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Once during my TV news days, I was feeling pretty good about myself during a three-hour drive to the Mayo Clinic. “I am so glad I don’t practice!” I crowed to my photographer. “Practicing physicians are so sad. They’ve lost their income, their autonomy, and the public’s respect.” My photographer didn’t miss a beat. “Yeah,” he replied. “They sound just like you.” By which he meant that as a journalist, I’d lost ...

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I see them every time I wait in the inescapably long lines at the grocery store. They’re offering me so much. Fat-melting foods that “work like gastric bypass.” Sleep masks that prevent breast cancer. One day diets. And, of course, the perennial “medical miracles.” All these revelations can be mine with a simple magazine purchase. It’s easy to dismiss the medical advice being propagated through the supermarket checkout aisle. Who would ...

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President Trump told a group of Republican Senators that the House-based American Health Care Act is “mean” -- and on this he surely called it right! How else would one describe a bill that would take health insurance away from 23 million people, allow states to waive rules requiring insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions at no extra charge, and raise premiums and deductibles to the oldest and ...

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In my last year of training, I came to realize the difference between doctors who felt successful and those who didn’t. From the beginning, I had always been hard on myself. I always thought about the decisions I made for every patient in detail, played them over and over in my head, and wondered what I could have done differently for each one. Whether or not their outcome was satisfactory, ...

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Dear Senators, I know that the plan is to meet soon to pass the latest GOP health plan. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, failed with a price tag of over a trillion dollars. Yes, this faulty plan is not sustainable as is. Yet, your proposed plan is just a rehashing of the failed elements. While you look at the economics and short-fallings, I look patients in the eye ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old pregnant woman is evaluated for a cardiac murmur identified on examination by her obstetrician. She is asymptomatic. She is in her 24th week of pregnancy. Medical history is unremarkable, and there is no family history of heart disease. She takes prenatal vitamins and no other ...

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Any physician who firmly believes in the ethical principles of beneficence and justice will recognize the legislation recently passed by the United States Congress known as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) as a moral travesty. The bill’s provisions to shift costs from the wealthy to the impoverished, diminish protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and strip away essential health benefits for patients are cruel measures that run directly counter to ...

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