Doctors and patients cannot win when it comes to chronic painThe following op-ed was published on September 18, 2011 in USA Today. A fellow physician recently shared a frustrating clinic visit with me, in which a patient had left by saying, "You doctors need to wake up and realize that patients (who are) in pain are in a no-win situation." The patient was absolutely right. This summer, the Institute of Medicine ...

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The medias role in educating patients about MRI overuseThankfully, there have been more news stories recently illustrating the overuse of tests. Specifically with cancer screening, the PSA test and mammograms have come under increasing scrutiny. I think this type of media attention is long overdue, as the public needs to be aware of the potential downsides of diagnostic tests. Now comes the MRI. A recent piece in the
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The power of gut feeling in cancer screeningCancer screening has always been an emotional topic. In recent years, both prostate and breast cancer screening have come under increasing scrutiny. Studies are beginning to question the benefits of early detection, and, in the case of prostate cancer screening, whether more harm is done than good. In fact, the USPSTF recently downgraded their prostate cancer screening recommendation. In a recent study ...

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How new doctors will kill private practiceWhat are new medical graduates looking for in their first job? According to American Medical News, they're looking for jobs with the following criteria: "The most important items would be the ability to show a stable, growing practice and quality of life ... The stability would come from a practice that generates most of their collections from commercial insurance, ...

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Prostate cancer screening requires patient inputPredictably, reactions to the USPSTF's prostate cancer screening guidelines are all over the map. Consider editorials from two national newspapers, the New York Times and USA Today. USA Today wants readers to ignore the recommendations: "Here's our suggestion for the 50-plus male: Get tested, then get smart. Information about prostate cancer and its treatment is readily available from the ...

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USPSTF prostate cancer screening guidelines need emotion to resonateProstate cancer screening has always been controversial. Now, with the USPSTF is recommending against screening for prostate cancer, gas is about to be poured on the proverbial fire. Recently, the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy piece on the issue, perhaps not coincidentally, perfectly timed with the Task Force's announcement. In 2009, advocates for breast cancer screening were ...

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Cancer screening is plagued by dissonanceLast year, the USPSTF was poised to meet regarding its prostate cancer screening guidelines. According the Kenny Lin, a physician who was with the Task Force at the time, the meeting was cancelled for political reasons. He points us to a New York Times story on the dueling narratives of prostate cancer screening. It's a topic that often appears ...

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Universal board certification can solve the Doctor Nurse controversyI'm going take on the Doctor Nurse controversy. This isn't a new issue, as the doctorate in nursing degree has been around for awhile. But a recent piece in the New York Times gave it new life. The topic is a ripe invitation to "doctor bash," with the predictable arguments about physicians protecting their turf, elitism, and the like. Yawn. To sample ...

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Progressive health reformers need doctors to change the health systemDoctors order too many tests. That's not a surprise for regular readers of this site, but even the physicians themselves think so. A recent survey reported that, "42% of the 627 respondents believed the patients in their own practice were getting too much care. Just 6% of doctors believed their patients were getting too little care ... And 28% of ...

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Doctors need celebrities to spread the vaccine messagePresidential candidate Michele Bachmann has been in the health care headlines recently, saying the HPV vaccine was dangerous. Although doctors and other health experts, along with editorials in major newspapers, rebutted her claims immediately, they didn't stand a chance. The damage was already done. A piece from the New York Times explores the power both celebrities and politicians have when it ...

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