The Atlantic this week published a provocative article entitled “The Robot Will See You Now.”  Using the supercomputer Watson as a starting point, the author explored the mind-bending possibilities of e-care.  In this near future, so many aspects of medicine will be captured by automated technology that the magazine asked if “your doctor is becoming obsolete?” The IT version of health includes continuous medical monitoring (i.e. your watch will ...

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asco-logoEveryone’s talking about health care costs these days. The presentations usually start with a chart of rising health care expenditures, the tip of the line pointing skywards. Next come exhaustive (and exhausting) tables, more charts, all punctuated with a final shrug of uncertainty from the speaker: what’s the solution to rising costs? Of course, there isn’t just one. But in the morass ...

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So you’re in the emergency department, probably in a small, windowless room, dressed in paper (or, if you’re lucky, crazy green cotton cloth) scrubs. You’re lying in a bed with a plastic mattress and scratchy sheets staring across the room at the door that has a small chicken-wire reinforced tempered glass windowlette in it and is ajar just enough to let you see the shiny black shoe of the security ...

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So how’s my new practice going?  In some ways things are going about as well as they could.  My patients are amazed when I answer their emails or (even more surprisingly) answer the phone. "Hello, this is Dr. Lamberts," I say.  This usually results in a long pause, followed by a confused and timid voice saying something like, “well…uh…I was expecting to get Jamie.” Yet I am often able to deal with ...

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obese airplanes Recently the wires have been active with suggestions that people with obesity pay more for airline travel. This discussion was prompted by a Samoan airline announcing that they would begin charging passengers by the pound. It was also stimulated by Bharat Bhatta, an economist from Norway suggesting that heavier passengers pay a surcharge while lighter passengers are offered discounts. The logical argument ...

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Dear HIPAA: I’m sure you get a lot of hate mail, especially from folks in my profession, so when you got this letter from me you probably assumed it was more of the same.  Let me reassure you: I am not one of those docs.  I do think patient privacy is important, and actually found you quite useful when facing unwanted probing questions from family members.  I believe the only way ...

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I must confess that I love my job as a hospital medicine doctor. To me, very few specialties in medicine can be as rewarding as the one I’ve had the privilege of practicing for the last five years. We manage an array of medical illnesses, interact with staff from across the hospital in every different specialty, and follow our patients all the way through their—hopefully very short—hospitalization. We take ownership ...

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asco-logoI still recall my first rotation as an inpatient attending at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Perhaps it was the anxiety that I remembered most; that I was “in charge” of a service. Fortunately, having done fellowship at MSKCC, the system was not a foreign one, and I knew exactly where to go to get oriented—I went to Jane and Dorothy, ...

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I read the New York Times.  I read the health section as much as I can to keep track of what the paper is saying about health-related issues.  I read Jane Brody.  I like Jane Brody.  I’m not sure what Ms. Brody is, but I don’t think she’s a clinician. In her article “Avoiding Emergency Rooms,” she makes some suggestions on how people should get care if they need ...

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Are you tired of waiting fifteen minutes only to spend ten minutes with your psychiatrist? Do you hate rearranging your busy schedule, fighting traffic, and trolling for a parking space just to spend a few minutes with your doctor? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could take care of your mental health according to your schedule, instead of someone else’s? We are pleased to introduce the Automated Psychiatrist Machine (APM). The ...

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