This is the time many of us make resolutions about our lives -- often tied to our health and wellness. As the health care industry enters a new era of consumerism, people are seeking more and more ways to take ownership over their health and health care. While data about doctors, hospitals and health outcomes are becoming more available and transparent, we still have a long way to go. Perhaps in a ...

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shutterstock_125154740 As I noted earlier, hospitals permit around-the-clock observation of patients. If you don’t need around-the-clock monitoring, you don’t need to be in the hospital. Who is doing this around-the-clock monitoring? Nurses. Therefore, whether you are a patient or a physician, one of the best things you can do is get on the good side of the nurses. If you are a patient, ...

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elanacancer I recently wrote about how our world is ruled by love, and circumstances conspired to show me just how true that really is. Love is when I go to the ER at UCLA, where I work, for a cough and feeling that “something isn’t right,” and even though my complaints are mild, I’m brought right in and ...

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"For someone who went into medicine to 'help people,' you sure do talk about dying a lot," my mother told me one day on our brief weekly phone call. I try to get in a phone call to my mother once a week so she knows I'm alive, surviving my intern year. I had been on medical intensive care unit (MICU) service and it had been a rough week. Being ...

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As the year comes to a close, we physicians feel tremendous uncertainty with the rain of change from Washington. As I approach my third decade of medical practice, I feel more distant from the patient who desperately seeks my attention. I struggle daily to reconnect with her, recalling the fading reasons I embarked on this field, trying to resuscitate the patient-physician relationship which is central to our broken medical system. Often ...

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As my Division of Hospital Medicine has grown -- now to about 60 faculty -- I spend part of my time figuring out what direction we should go in. At times, the path is obvious. It didn’t take Wayne Gretzky to recognize that we needed expertise in healthcare IT a decade ago, or in cost reduction more recently. The story of how we became the nation’s leading program for “global health hospitalists” is ...

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I am a family physician. Like most of my colleagues, though, I must sometimes step out of the comfort of my clinical role to take on the role of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety. During visits to the doctor, I find myself noticing many details and comparing the quality of care to that in my own ...

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A few months ago while I was working in the interventional gastrointestinal unit I noticed something because it was driving me nuts.  One of the monitors in the holding area that slaved to one of the procedure rooms was beeping.  Just a low, constant blip blip blip blip.  The screen read, "no data." So I asked one of the nurses "can we turn that monitor off?  No one is using procedure ...

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Roger struggled with various maladies that came with growing older.  His blood was occasionally too sweet, his pressure stumbled upwards, at times perilously.  But it was the colon cancer that gave him pause.  It started rather innocently.  At first he noticed a little blood on the toilet paper, later, a touch of abdominal pain.  He put off the appointment for a few weeks, but eventually he showed up in my ...

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Relevant research and conventional wisdom alike suggest that, despite their irresistible perennial tug on our collective conscience, New Year's resolutions generally have about the staying power of champagne bubbles. Pledged to ourselves and one another in the short, dark days of late December, sorrowfully few survive to see the crocuses come up. Some studies suggest 20 percent or so live that long. Frankly, I'm surprised the numbers are that good. The ...

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