I took my daughter to the orthodontist last week to get braces. There's a lot about the process that seems better than when I was a kid. Mostly, it's that instead of having to slide brackets around each of your teeth (yishk!) the orthodontist just paints a special glue on the enamel and places the brace on the front of each tooth. Kids get to pick the color of their braces ...

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As I sit down to drink coffee tomorrow morning and type away at the computer, I will do something quite uncomfortable for a non-religious person. I will pray. I will pray that my children make it safely to school That the weather is good and the sidewalks are not slick. That their feet will be steady and their minds alert to the dangers that lurk in any suburban neighborhood. That my wife will have an excellent day. That ...

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There’s a new term that has entered the medical lexicon. The word is wellness. Hospitals and medical offices are incorporating this term into their mission statements, corporate names, business cards, medical conferences and other marketing materials. The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has appointed a Chief Wellness Officer, an intriguing fluffy title that does not clearly denote this individual’s role and function. This is deliberate, as the word wellness is designed ...

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In 2000, nearly 60% of physicians were practicing independently. Compare that to two years from now, when it’s predicted that just 33% will continue to practice solely outside of a larger health system. According to a report from Accenture, the global consulting company that released those figures, between now and 2013, the rate at which independent doctors are being employed by larger systems will increase by 5% ...

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In New York, I worked for an organization called Project for Psychiatric Outreach to the Homeless (PPOH). It has a humble history: Over 20 years ago, a group of psychiatrists were sitting around and discussing the need for psychiatric services for the homeless. They decided to volunteer their time and skills to this population. The organization grew and, for both administrative and financial reasons, eventually became part of another social ...

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Tom Sullivan, blogging over at Policy and Medicine, recently noticed another flurry of activity in the long running debate about conflicts of interest. His post is titled Coordinated Ad Hominem Attacks on Physician-Industry Relationships in Guideline Development: The Next Frontier? He opens, saying, "Recently, we saw concerted attacks on clinical guidelines committees, but interestingly, not on the science coming out of them. Instead, the attacks were focused on whether the writers ...

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As a physician, I believe it is time that doctors stop shaking their fingers at patients and scolding them for "misbehaving and not complying." Most patients are adults and are increasingly educated and need to be treated that way by their doctors. Also access to previous "secret guild information" that doctors possessed has been profoundly altered by open access to high quality medical information on the Internet. Also when I interact with ...

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There are important medical studies, and then there are landmark studies–the kind of science that disrupts the entire medical community. The most recent game-changer was published recently in the Lancet. Well known surgeon and author, Dr. Atul Gawande and colleagues published this important look-back study on the intensity and variation of surgical care of 1.8 million elderly patients in the US. They put numbers to the well-known and ever-expanding problem of ...

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Three young mothers under the age of 40 are dead because they wanted to be beautiful. Kellee Lee-Howard wanted a slimmer body. Ditto Maria Shortall and Rohie Kah-Orukatan. Shortall worked as a housekeeper; Lee-Howard was the mother of six kids and Kah-Orukotan died at the same place where she received manicures. What do these women have in common besides being minorities? They had liposuction procedures performed by men who offered ...

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For the last 3 weeks, I've been working as a sub-intern on the family practice inpatient service in one of the local hospitals. It's been quite a time! I've sure been kept busy, but learning a lot and seeing a lot. With a moment of downtime, I wanted to share a reflection I had yesterday. We're all familiar with the glamorous "saves" in medicine. It's the car accident victim that undergoes ...

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