I live in Eugene — a sweet little community with snow-capped mountains, farmers’ markets and the friendliest people around. But a few weeks ago, one of our beloved pediatricians shot himself in the head in a public park. Earlier this year, one of our surgeons was found dead in his car from carbon monoxide poisoning. And just before him, a urologist shot himself in the head in his backyard. Before him, a ...

Read more...

In a recent New York Times article, “Redefining Medicine with Apps and iPads,” Katie Hafner describes a “generational divide” in medicine. On one side sits the younger generation, at ease navigating EMRs and diagnosing disease with the assistance if digital apps. On the other side of this presumed generational divide, she describes the older generation, worried “that the human connections that lie at the core of medical practice ...

Read more...

June 30, 2014. I don’t need to have this date circled on my calendar, or on my phone calendar reminder app. It is now etched in my brain. That is the date of my anticipated retirement from private practice. It is hard enough for me to grasp that next summer I can enroll in Medicare, let alone quit working––something I have done with only one brief 3 month break, since ...

Read more...

A Swedish sociologist Lars Tornstam describes this by asking what a 10 year old would say if we asked him what it would be like to be 20. It would be awful to him. There would be no play time. There would be no summer vacation. He would have to get a job! But at twenty he would look back at the age of 10 and say: “There’s no way ...

Read more...

The art and practice of medicine is built around lessening the suffering of our fellow man. The method of doing this however, has changed dramatically throughout human history. Western medicine had its beginnings in the restoring balance to the body that was not in sync with the environment. As scientific reasoning found its way into medical practice after the dark ages, the benefits of medicine quickly became a cornerstone of ...

Read more...

We’ve all seen the data projecting a shortage of physicians in the United States, expected to reach a shortfall of more than 90,000 by 2020. The lack of nurses is equally well documented. These trends raise concern for all medical specialties, but especially for primary care. More and more Americans are expected to need these services in the coming years, at a time when fewer and fewer students are committing to ...

Read more...

“Value” is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that health care professionals everywhere are seeking, but which few can seem to find. Policy makers, hospital executives, physicians,  consultants – all are looking for a means to pivot away from a system that rewards volume of services provided to one that rewards quality and cost effectiveness (i.e., “value”). How far we are from achieving this goal can be gauged ...

Read more...

I work at several hospitals and each uses a different electronic medical record system. When I switch from hospital one to another, I obviously have my favorite EMR systems and my not so favorite EMR systems. In the previous post, I was using the EMPOWER charting system, which I liked for its simplicity, but disliked because of the layouts of the charting interface and some of the macros ...

Read more...

Cancer makes you realize the gift of timeWhen I was 16 my dad had a heart attack. I still recall studying in my room when my mom came in to tell me he wasn’t feeling well. At the time, I was a volunteer in the emergency room at our local hospital, located in the tiny Pacific Island of Guam. I recall asking him what he was experiencing: ...

Read more...

The state legislature in Florida decided it is legal and appropriate for pharmacists and pharmacies to begin administering vaccines against multiple diseases.  Their list of adult vaccines includes seasonal flu shots, Pneumovax (pneumonia vaccine) and Zostavax (vaccine to prevent shingles).  The rationale of the legislature is that access to doctors to receive these preventive vaccines is limited and difficult. By refusing to administer vaccines in their office because it is time ...

Read more...