We live in a headline/hyperlinked world.  A couple of years back, I learned through happenstance that my most popular blog posts all had catchy titles.  I’m pretty confident that people who read my blog do more than scan the titles, but there is so much information coming at us these days, it’s often difficult to get much beyond the headline.  Another phenomenon of information overload is that we naturally apply heuristics or ...

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For years, many physicians have complained about the onerous nature of government-certified electronic medical records. However, thanks to the HITECH Act, the rush to digitize medical records has continued. Due to the impetus provided by the ACA and subsequently by MACRA, the mad rush has progressed into a frenzy of data-collecting and reporting activity, all in the name of value over volume. Recently, two objective reports have surfaced demonstrating the futility of ...

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I was at a locums assignment yesterday using FEEMRS. (You know, "Fancy Expensive Electronic Medical Records System.") It was all kinds of busy, with wait times of many hours. And as I slogged along, relearning FEEMRS after a few weeks away, I realized that it takes about one hour of looking at that screen for me to become exhausted. It’s just too busy. Every bit of the screen seems filled with ...

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I order pregnancy tests on men. In fact, I do it pretty frequently. Now before you go and question my professional competency, let me assure you that I went to a good medical school. I also completed a four-year residency in emergency medicine at a top-notch residency program. I was board-certified less than one year after finishing and have maintained that status ever since. Despite this, I still order pregnancy tests on men. Perhaps ...

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One of the biggest topics today in the health care field is that of meaningful use.  Meaningful use is defined as using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities.  The promise is that meaningful use will help improve patient and provider communication and increase care coordination while maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of patients. However, serious questions are emerging about whether this is ...

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I know a wise old forester. Ask him any question and he'll answer, “Well, now, it depends on what you want.” “Should we clear this underbrush or just leave it?” It depends on what you want. I realize this can explain any choice we've made: that is, we have what we have because, at some level, that's what we want. In that light, let me discuss electronic medical records. EMRs can be wonderfully ...

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We’ve got a long way to go before information technology solutions at the frontlines of health care fulfill their enormous potential. The suboptimal, clunky and cumbersome design of most IT systems is responsible for much misery among physicians and nurses on a daily basis. Part of the problem is that hospitals and clinics have rolled out these solutions rapidly and somewhat haphazardly to fulfill meaningful use requirements and gain much-needed ...

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In his State of the Union address in 2016, President Obama pledged a new national effort to find a cure for cancer. This is the cancer "moonshot." Last year, he announced the launch of the Precision Medicine Initiative -- a bold new research effort to revolutionize how we improve health and treat disease. These two strategies together hold the promise of curing cancer or, at least, transforming it ...

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I was dining at a friend’s house recently after a long day in the hospital. He has just bought a beautiful new home with his rapidly expanding family, and like anyone who has just moved into a new house, his spare time is invariably spent working on getting everything in order and undertaking small upgrades to make the new place as perfect as possible. He’s quite DIY-oriented (unlike myself) and was spending a lot of ...

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... what an uncannily accurate description of how it feels to practice in our very own “modern” health care system. In a world brimming over with exponential tech advances -- supercomputer smartphones with user interfaces an embryo could master, an open Internet backbone that connects us across continents and cultures -- our health care universe languishes with software that’s ...

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