Diana Cole told me, “The internet saved my life,” and recounted a story about using the internet to identify a bat bite and learn about rabies in bats, leading to an emergency room trip. She later introduced me to her sister, Carolyn Kingston, who attributed her successful outcome from hip replacement surgery to her use of the internet. I asked Carolyn about her general use of the internet for health, her ...

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by James Merlino, MD The patient experience is the right thing to do, and a business necessity. But improving it is not necessarily easy. The fact is, large medical centers are at a real disadvantage when it comes to performing well on HCAHPS. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) do not discriminate or differentiate the scores of small community hospitals from those of large academic tertiary care ...

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This item has nothing to do with OpenNotes itself – it’s what I’m seeing now that I’ve started accessing my doctor’s notes. In short, I see the clinical impact of not viewing my record as a shared working document. Here’s the story. In OpenNotes, patient participants can see the visit notes their primary physicians entered. Note – primary, not specialists. I imagine they needed to keep the study design simple. So, ...

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by Val Jones, MD Vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical intervention in history. They are incredibly safe and effective and are well-tolerated by most people. In the US, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carefully reviews all reports of adverse reactions that could be associated with vaccines. Over decades of review, they have found that the rate of potential severe ...

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Patients’ gender preferences for medical care are a factor that we all know exists yet most physicians prefer to ignore it in daily practice hoping that modern medicine is gender neutral.  Forty plus years ago when I started in medicine this wasn’t a consideration.  Nearly all physicians were men and nurses were women.  Patients simply had no choice.  Male physicians felt entitled to see all comers and present day women ...

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Doctors and nurses are leaders in health care.  Being a great leader means having a clear vision, mission or goal.  It means being committed, and knowing how to listen and communicate, but it involves much more.  It’s about having heart, empathy, and an uplifting spirit. I value and respect a well written post by Thomas Goetz, author of The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of ...

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Who ever said you have to stay with the same doctor? I am always disappointed when I hear the stories that some people relate about how they sat and told their doctor this and that and that he/she didn't listen, didn't know what to do, didn't care, etc. Makes me sad of course, because I know how easy it is to just listen and look people in the eyes when they ...

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by Toni Bigby Lately there has been a lot of conversation around patient empowerment – an ambiguous term, but one that is fodder for many conversations across the health care industry. Patient empowerment – to put it simply – is about providing the necessary tools and information to a patient so that he or she can take a more active and involved position in his or her health ...

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Though I’ve spoken about breast cancer for Susan G. Komen for the Cure (emphasizing the importance of early screening and detection), until recently I had never had a mammogram. In my training I’d been taught that mammograms weren’t that accurate or useful in women under 40 (our health system’s protocols reflect that), so I got regularly checked by my physician whenever I had a physical and otherwise was waiting until ...

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I understand the frustration and anger in CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen’s new book, The Empowered Patient.  I agree that all of the horrible patient stories should have never occurred.  As a practicing primary care doctor who has witnessed near misses and bad medical outcomes affect family members, I too wrote a book encouraging patients to be informed and engaged about their care. The problem is that The Empowered ...

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