Google has announced its social networking product, Google+. I haven't received an invite yet, so I don't have first-hand experience with the service.  But reading the major tech blogs' take from Engadget, TechCrunch and Mashable, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. What should doctors know about about Google+? Obviously, this is Google's last, best ...

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The government is going to find out about the primary care physician shortage for themselves. They're resorting to "mystery shoppers," used frequently in other industries, to see what the wait times really are for a new primary care doctor. As mentioned before, come 2014, there will be over 30 million newly insured patients looking for a doctor.  This will further stress a system short of primary care resources. Doctors, as ...

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Google Health is dead. There have been plenty of post-mortems as to why, ranging from the fact that it's not social enough (uh ... no), to the realization that only a minority of practices have electronic medical records, yet alone a patient portal that can incorporate PHRs like Google Health. I'll chip in with my own reason -- it suffered from "one more thing" syndrome. PHRs today aren't seamlessly incorporated into ...

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The following op-ed was published on June 7, 2011 in USA Today. More than ever, I find myself fielding questions from patients about the health care reform law. The most common one is, "How will reform affect me?" It's a complicated question, with a different answer for each patient. But as the law's full effects unfold, one of the more significant changes will be in how patients interact with their ...

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One of the major efforts of the Affordable Care Act is to consolidate physician groups, so they can be modeled after integrated health systems like the Minnesota's Mayo Clinic or California's Kaiser Permanente. According to health reformers, these integrated systems can reduce variation in care, which improves quality, and potentially reduces costs. There's been a major effort to re-organize hospitals and physicians under guises of Patient Centered Medical Homes and 
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The American Medical Association recently released its membership numbers, and they're declining. According to MedPage Today, the AMA "saw another steep drop in its membership in 2010 -- this time losing about 12,000 members or 5% of its total membership." It's been well publicized that the AMA only represents a minority percentage of physicians, depending on what you read, it's between 20 and 30%.  But it seems many physicians have little ...

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I've heard that a few academic medical centers, the identities which I will keep anonymous, are advising incoming medical residents to stay off social media.  Meaning, they have to close their blogs, and shutter their Twitter or Facebook accounts. As hospitals and doctors try to best use social media, and prevent damage from its improper use, taking the extreme measure of forbidding doctors in training from utilizing social is ...

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For the past few Sundays, the New York Times has published provocative op-eds involving physicians. The first tackled physician bullying.  Next was the cost of medical education.  And, most recently, the phenomenon of part-time, mostly female, physicians. This is obviously a live-wire topic, sure to generate passionate commentary. In the piece, anesthesiologist Karen S. Sibert goes over ramifications of part-time ...

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The following column was published on May 28, 2011 in FoxNews.com. Theresa Brown’s New York Times op-ed, Physician, Heel Thyself, recently introduced hospital bullying into the national health care conversation. In it, she recounted a hospital vignette while working as an oncology nurse.  A patient asked a doctor who should he blame for a late test result. ...

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This past spring, I took the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) exam. 7 weeks later, I received my results.  Thankfully, I passed. This was not entirely a surprise, as the pass rate for first-time test takers was 88%.  But it definitely requires some studying.  It's not a gimmie. Considering that I last took my board exam ...

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