Are patient portals a gateway or barrier to patient centered care and communication?A guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Patient portals. They have great potential, but is it being met? And are we losing something in return? I ask myself these questions now that my practice offers a patient portal linked to our electronic health record (EHR). I did not expect to feel that way, ...

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10 potential benefits of robot caregivers My recent New York Times op-ed on robot caregivers for older adults has elicited curiosity, enthusiasm and controversy. I have to admit that my own first reaction to the topic was captured in the Times' letter from Sherry Turkle whom I mention in the piece. I was in a meeting and turned to a colleague, clumsily patted her on the back and said, “It … ...

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I recently did a tally.  Since starting my locums adventure last year, and going to full-time locums in January, I’ve worked in a grand total of 11 emergency departments.  Let me qualify that for the occasional visitor to my blog.  I decided to do this for purposes of flexibility, finances and a much needed change of scenery.  Not because I’m a problem physician, or unable to do the work in ...

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There are few jobs more chaotic than that of physician, at least based on my own experience. Yes there is a schedule of sorts: hospital rounds, procedures, office patients. Unfortunately things rarely go as planned. There is a particularly sick patient on rounds who needs a temporary pacing wire placed. There are more consults than expected. The procedure that was planned to take up to 2 hours takes 4 hours because of ...

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We've all come to expect our doctors to run late for appointments. I’m a doctor, and when I go to see my doctor, I expect the same. I bring my laptop or something to read to bide the time. Waiting makes us feel like we or our time isn’t valued, and doctors know this. So why is it so hard for doctors, including myself, to stay on time?   Most doctors have ...

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Though there have been notable exceptions, digital health has often proved a slow sell to the medical establishment. The failures of Google Health and HealthVault to gain traction, for example, underscore the challenges of breaking into the workflow of doctors. Yet over the past month, three technology giants have, in the form of a series of launches, given an endorsement that digital health will be one of the next important technological ...

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Health care information technology has of course grown exponentially over the last decade, as electronic medical records (EMRs) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems have become ubiquitous. It’s funny to think that not so long ago, physicians and nurses had to trawl through piles and piles of paper charts to search for the information we needed -- whether it was lab results or patients’ notes. However, the road to this ...

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For scientists and researchers who are developing new treatments for disease, Data is power.  For patients, Data can mean empowerment.  Devices that track health indicators are readily available.  These devices can track heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and even respiratory rate and body temperature. In the Wall Street Journal, the medical applications of the Fitbit device are explored.  The Fitbit is a basic pedometer that tracks movement, steps taken, calories consumed ...

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Like many, we followed Apple's recent announcement about its Health app and HealthKit development platform with interest. In many ways, it echoed a vision -- of an ecosystem where personal health data formed a platform upon which many could develop apps that help people live healthy lives -- that we have supported for many years through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Project HealthDesign. We were particularly ...

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Apple announced the company is working on a new app, called Health, that allows a user to store in one place all aspects of their health data, from heart rate to blood sugar levels, cholesterol measures and calories burned. The Health app, Apple says, will enable an exercise app to determine the number of calories you consume a day -- and, in turn, how hard you have to exercise ...

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