Whenever I talk about the cost of medical education, I like to bring up this chart. It starkly illustrates just how expensive it is to train a doctor in the United States, compared to Canada and France. New York Times contributor Pauline Chen wrote a column on the issue recently.  Most doctors graduate with a debt exceeding $150,000, and ...

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Speed dating to find the next generation of doctors? Well, yes, in a way. The New York Times recently wrote about the admissions process at Virginia Tech Carilion, where students are chosen as much for their interpersonal qualities as their academic aptitude. Using the so-called "multiple mini interview," prospective medical students are ushered in a series of 9 interviews, each designed to ...

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Health care is a team sport, and one of the most important members is the office receptionist. Receptionists are often the first people patients see when the visit the clinic.  And those first impressions count. In a recent piece from the New York Times, Pauline Chen notes a study of the responsibilities of the medical receptionist, and finds they ...

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently released their recommendations for breast cancer screening. Previously, they had recommended a mammogram every 1 to 2 years for women between the ages of 40 to 49. Now, they recommend more intensive screening:

Due to the high incidence of breast cancer in the US and the potential to reduce deaths from it when ...

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The following op-ed was published on June 1st, 2011 in the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog. Medicare should stop paying for prostate cancer screening in men over the age of 75. You may be surprised to hear that, especially coming from a primary care doctor. But evidence is mounting that screening for prostate cancer is not only ineffective in older men, but may actually be harmful. The cornerstone of ...

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After playing around with Google+ today, I've come away on a more positive note than my speculative post on Google's social network recently. Before experiencing Google+, I asked whether doctors can separate their personal and professional relationships, and how the Google Circles feature would help. Well, if Google+ ever takes off for physicians, it will be because of Circles. Tech blogs, ...

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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 attempt to ...

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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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