One hot topic that has recently gained a relatively large amount of attention over almost all areas of medicine is quality improvement. Hospitals have created dedicated senior-level positions to oversee it, interdisciplinary councils have been formed to research and address it, and employees are reminded daily, if not more often, of their role in implementing it in the form of various quality benchmarks they are held accountable for (such as ...

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The time has come. The time has come for patients to know how dangerous the state of health care has become and to finally do something about it. I’m ticked off. So ticked off that I’m writing this in between office patients, and I really try very hard to prevent my patients from waiting. Apparently insurance companies feel practicing medicine is as easy as checking off boxes, like hanging chads ...

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“I love you,” she said as she was leaving the room. “I, I um …” “Not you. Your computer.” She cast my computer, still warm and glowing with its brilliantly colored logout screen, a glance of longing and desire, and left the exam room. “Oh, I thought …” The slamming of the exam room door clipped off whatever the end of that sentence might have been. I sat down and rolled my chair over to ...

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A fentanyl overdose led to the recent death of musician and singer Prince, according to the medical examiner’s report released June 2. The drug seems likely to become as notorious as propofol did after the death of Michael Jackson in 2009. For all of us in anesthesiology who’ve been using fentanyl as a perfectly respectable anesthetic medication and pain reliever for as long as we can remember, it’s startling ...

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The practice of medicine in the United States is almost entirely based on national guidelines and regulations. Minor, inconsequential differences may exist from state to state, but nothing significant enough to justify the current requirement of comprehensive, redundant licensing of physicians in each individual state in which they practice. Notably, in an uncommon example of federal common sense, physicians can work at any Veterans Administration facility, in any state, with any ...

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I have a love-hate relationship with the no-show patient.  Like most doctors, I’m a reasonably good multitasker, adept enough at charting while emailing while waiting on hold with insurance companies and planning what to prepare for dinner when I get home. But there are days, more than I’d like to admit, when I feel like I need just a little bit more time, and I find myself compulsively refreshing my ...

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One day into our medical center’s newly announced colleague appearance policy, nobody has yet approached my office with a steel wool soap pad to make any of the docs or medical assistants shine. My active white coat went into the laundry bin the day before, having inserted my left sleeve into a puddle of spilled coffee. The other two lab coats with hospital logo remain in their plastic protective coating, ...

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This is a very controversial essay, but I am going to express how some women physicians, like myself, feel at the VA hospital. I came home one day after my clinic and was perturbed. I called my significant other and the emotion of the day unraveled. I was reporting an uncomfortable interaction I had with an older male patient. During this patient encounter, his tone and comments became sexually charged and ...

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If you stay in medicine long enough, you will encounter physicians who seem to care more about the paycheck than the patient in front of them: think Dr. Farid Fata.  You may find those colleagues revolting; I know I did.  I despised these physicians and felt nauseated even to be in the same room as them.  But as time went on, I realized that almost nobody starts a career ...

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21 minutes on the phone for a pre-authorization? Watch Dr. Ryan Neuhofel try to get a CT scan "approved." Take a deep breath, and press play. Want to escape pre-auth hell? Consider attending the Direct Primary Care Summit.

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