Who are the best judges of physician quality? In a new Forbes article, David Shaywitz ponders whether patients are the best judges of physician quality. This is a very interesting question, not because the answer is elusive, but because the question itself is rather unusual, and may prove to be the harbinger of a new way of thinking about health care. The question raised by Dr. Shaywitz is not whether patients ...

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Just the other day I received a somewhat anxious-sounding phone message from a patient of mine, approximately 72 hours after her office visit with me, and about 24 hours after I had already gone over all of her lab results from the visit with her. She sounded quite distressed, and said she'd received a message from someone, but could not really understand what they were saying. She said she was finally ...

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We were intimate. As intimate as a doctor and patient can become.  He had long outlived his wife and there were no children, no family, just friends.  When he first came to me he was lively and active, but the years took their toll.  Our visits became more regular.  Every six months.  Then every three. His memory started to slip.  Occasionally he would look at me suspiciously when something went wrong.  His ...

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Dr. Daniela Drake writes an provocative and bold piece on the plight of doctors in America and the impact it has on patient care: "Why Your Doctor Feels Like a ‘Beaten Dog’." Though health care is very bureaucratic with administrative paperwork, huddles, and hassles, her linkage of how patients were neglected as a consequence of the system doctors work in is weak. She talks about Victoria, a teenager, who ...

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Is your doctor a hammer and you're a nail? Here's some insider advice coaxing patients to be more wary and skeptical of medical advice. Should you trust your doctor? Absolutely. But you need to serve as a spirited advocate for your own health or bring one with you. Ask your physician for the evidence. Sometimes, his medical advice may result more from judgement and experience as there may not be ...

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We speak of everyday decisions in terms of cost-benefit analyses. Many of our patients can’t afford a healthy meal, let alone a hefty hospital bill, thus making cost awareness increasingly relevant. But on the day that I met Mr. R., it wasn’t the financial aspects of his care that concerned me. I was thinking about the patient, his family, and two roads diverged in a hospital ward. I was thinking ...

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Two women, two cancers, two different pathwaysI sometimes wonder what I would do if I was told I had cancer. How much would I subject myself to in order to survive, or to achieve remission? As a parent, I can answer only that I would likely go through hell and back if it meant being there for my kids -- to watch them grow up, graduate ...

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Doctors need more quiet time After you've written on a blog for a long time, you begin to ask yourself why.  Oh sure, there are the great opportunities for a single person to make a point, to act as a tiny tugboat trying to push a corporate mothership in a slightly different direction, but you begin to realize that there are very few times that actually ...

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As every physician already knows full well, health care services delivered to the home rather than in an institutional setting are increasing, a trend destined to expand even faster in the decades ahead. This shift is inevitable, thanks to our rapidly growing elderly population and the corresponding prevalence of chronic illness, along with the nationwide push for higher quality care at lower cost and dramatic advances in medical technology such as ...

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Curbing prescription pain medication abuse by working togetherA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. I recently heard a story on the news about a grandmother of eight who had gotten addicted to heroin after being prescribed an opioid painkiller, Oxycontin, for hip pain. It sounds extreme, but unfortunately to those of us in the pain medicine field, it’s all ...

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