The nightmare sickens me. A small child trusts a man to protect her, take care of her, and shield her from harm. The man, for incomprehensible and useless reasons, neglects her unto death. For me, when I think of Germanwings flight 9525, I am haunted by the photo of a single tiny girl, taken in the last days of life; the obliteration of that perfect life’s potential. Waste, tragedy, evil. In the ...

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On March 20, 2015 the stars aligned to produce four simultaneous events that will never again coincide during the life of human civilization. The first three, the vernal equinox, a total solar eclipse and a new supermoon, were brought to us by the stars themselves, and the fourth one was thrown out there by the government. The regulations for meaningful use stage 3 were finally published. Meaningful use of electronic health ...

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As the rugged beauty of the Pacific Coast unfolded in all of its splendor, I was in awe of the entirely different experience: the one created by our Uber driver, Calvin (name changed to protect anonymity). My friend and I, attending our annual cardiology meeting in sunny San Diego, carved out a few hours of rest and relaxation. We were heading to La Jolla, a scenic seaside community about 20 minutes ...

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Sometimes, after crafting an important or complex plan of care with a patient, I say: “Let me type all this into the computer so that, in case I run into that big bull moose up on Vaillancourt Hill on my way home tonight, the next doctor who sees you will know what we were thinking today.” Patients sometimes squirm or laugh nervously at that, but then they usually indicate understanding and ...

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As medical providers, we recognize the value and importance of emergency medical identification (EMI), especially for our patients who live with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, epilepsy, and severe allergies. Of particular concern are those who may require emergency care during a time when they are unable to communicate, but how often do we address this topic with our patients, and do they really listen? Health care professionals have long recommended that such patients obtain emergency medical identification, such as MedicAlert jewelry (bracelet, ...

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The growing wearable sensor market is yielding ever-increasing amounts of consumer-derived digital data. These data can consistent of many different physiologic measures such as heart rate and rhythm, sleep quality, brain activity, and physical activity levels. As many consumers and commercial organizations look toward using wearables to monitor medical conditions, clinicians may begin to find themselves in the role of a digital data decoder. This will be no easy task, as ...

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3-D printing has been documented as an innovation that’s being rapidly deployed in the medical field.  Doctors and researchers have been creating intrinsically realistic models of organs, bones, appendages and sometimes, implanting them into patients.  In 2012, University of Michigan doctors implanted a splint to hold open a 3-month-old child’s airway tube.  They published their results in the New England Journal of Medicine and opened the gates for others to ...

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shutterstock_233430226 Where does doctor stop and computer begin? Who is in charge? Do we care? Are these silly, academic questions from some sci-fi future or is it an onrushing tomorrow? Consider:

  • Ten years ago, the EMR recorded the date you or your nurse gave Sam his flu shot.
  • Today, the EMR reminds you it is time to have your nurse give Sam his flu shot.
  • Soon, the EMR will order the flu ...

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shutterstock_186139613 Right now, there are two patients in every room. One is made with flesh, bones, and blood. One is made with a monitor, a mouse, and a keyboard. Both demand my time. Both demand my concentration. A little over two weeks ago I wrote the short story "Please Choose One." I posted it online. The response it generated exceeded anything I could ...

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I am a clinician and a clinical trialist. Medical research in some form or another (performing it, consuming it, reviewing it, editing it, etc.) occupies much of my time. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement while watching Apple’s product announcement when they introduced a new open source software platform called ResearchKit. Apple states ResearchKit could “revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever.” ResearchKit allows clinical researchers to have data about various diseases ...

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