Part of a series. In earlier posts, I have described direct primary care (DPC) in its various forms called membership, retainer and concierge. There are some concerns with DPC. Does more doctor-patient time really mean better quality care? Does it really mean lower total costs? It seems logical that closer care means better care, fewer referrals to specialists and fewer hospitalizations. Most DPC physicians will tell you this is the case ...

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I don't like to brag, but if there is one area of my skills as a doctor about which I am proud, it would be my skill as a diagnostician.  I like to play Sherlock Holmes and figure out what's going on with people, and I think I'm pretty good at it. So I lied.  I do like to brag ... a little. In most people's mind's eye, the role of diagnostician ...

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As a fourth-year medical student, it was fairly easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When you have much leisure time and are relatively stress free, you can eat healthy, stay physically active and maintain quality mental health. However, as I begin the journey called residency, it is clear that the task of maintaining my own health will be much more difficult. But the importance of this task should not be overlooked. ...

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In a recent post, I wrote about the value of a yearly checkup with your child’s doctor -- it can be a whole lot more helpful than a quick sports physical at the local quickie-clinic. You can be sure to get the most out of your child’s checkups with these tips. First, and most important at all, go to the visit. You’d be surprised how often children are brought by ...

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California is contemplating requiring physicians to submit to alcohol and drug testing.   Citizens there will be voting on this proposal this November. I do think that the public is entitled to be treated by physicians who are unimpaired.  Physicians, as members of the human species, have the same vices and frailties as the rest of us. I have no objection to this new requirement, if it passes. This will not be ...

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"Dad, you have the nicest patients!" She was right, of course. Daughters that you bring to work with you to shadow for a day can bring you back to what's important in medicine.  In fact, seeing medicine through fresh eyes is helpful, especially when we forget to look up from our work-a-day lives. It had been over ten years since I had my first "bring your daughter to work" experience.  Her first time ...

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We must bear in mind the difference between thoroughness and efficiency. Thoroughness gathers all the facts, but efficiency distinguishes the two-cent pieces of non-essential data from the twenty-dollar gold pieces of fundamental fact. - Dr. William Mayo The practice of medicine involves a lot of details, but details without the big picture are meaningless at best and distracting at worst. The expression, “the devil is in the details” implies that the details can ...

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During her annual physical exam, one of my patients recently asked me, "Are urgent care centers any good, Dr. P?" She recounted an incident a few months earlier where she awoke with an acute illness and was sick enough that she felt she needed to receive care -- at least some medical attention -- more imminently than she could get from waiting to speak to my office in the morning. She ...

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Consider the messages that tattoos are sending Ink is everywhere these days, and I don’t mean on newspapers or in magazines. Tattoos are far more pervasive than I can ever recall in my fifty years. There was a time, when I was young, that boys were awestruck by the old Navy veterans, whose arms bore anchors, and the Marines with Semper Fi across their battle scarred chests. Occasionally, ...

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Not too long after setting up shop in this town, I shared a tough case with one of my favorite intensivists. (By way of diversion, I'll add there were only two of them at the time, and they were both my favorites. Practical and canny, surgical-patient-wise, they were a pleasure to work with. Over the years we developed great mutual respect and affection; to the extent that caring for critically ill and deeply ...

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