Physicians have always been teachers, educating patients and families in the exam room, sharing handouts, hanging posters, and sometimes writing magazine articles and self-help books. Today, we have another communication tool, one that is far-reaching with significant impact: social media. Americans use social media to consume massive amounts of digital content. The problem is much of it is misinformation, which is why it’s important for physicians to jump in and lend ...

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I had my first outpatient surgical procedure when I was still in high school and needed a plantar wart removed from the sole of my foot. As the doctor injected the area with a local anesthetic, he explained he did these procedures all the time, and I wouldn't feel a thing. After a short wait, he began to dig out the deeply embedded wart with a hooked scalpel. With the first ...

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So, you’re a physician with a love of travel — awesome! One week of your salary allows you to travel anywhere in the world (coach, at least) — double awesome! But, as you are acutely aware, there is a catch … a big one. As a full time doc, how do you possibly get the time off to explore new cultures, hike/bike amazing trails and eat/drink around the globe? As physicians ...

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“You’re a doctor. You’re a doctor. Goddammit, you’re a doctor, man! You’re a doctor, so say so, and that’s the message, and we’ll follow you,” Jon Lovett shouted to an audience member on Pod Save America. The listener was an internal medicine resident who, in early May, asked how young physicians could better advocate for their patients. I heard this before the House of Representatives voted on the American Health ...

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In response to recent national events, I have often reflected on privilege — what it means, and what I should do about it. Privilege is the freedom to have an advantage without the guilt of knowing that you have it, and not knowing that it is unfair. It is the freedom to say and do things that others cannot. Admittedly, I am male, which comes with certain privilege. I am ...

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An orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon walk into a room … Unfortunately, this is not the start of a joke. While we would prefer to be sharing best practices and treating patients in our exam rooms, the fact is we’re spending more time than we’d like in a courtroom. Because our medical liability system is broken, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, OB-GYNs and other specialty physicians continue to find themselves on the receiving ...

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We are all panicked over student loan debt. The size of the loan can be worrisome — sometimes overwhelming. The average medical student debt is over $160,000, and it’s not unusual to owe $300,000 to $450,000! The compounded interest is growing every day and adding to your anxiety. Most early career physicians state the stress related to paying off these loans is their greatest emotional burden. Think about that — ...

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As a physician, I often forget how much I know.  But there are things that remind me just how different our own experience as doctors is from those who don’t spend their days and nights taking care of the ill. I do a lot of work for television, helping writers and directors to create medically plausible stories and scenes.  I used to get worried that I might get the dose of ...

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Here are the top 10 things medical students want in a medical school. Thank you Jamie Katuna!

A new study about the best place for babies to sleep -- in their own rooms, or sharing a room with their parents -- contradicts current AAP guidelines. But hopefully, in the long run, it will help more parents and babies get a better night’s sleep overall. The most recent “safe sleep” guidelines were published in 2016. They stressed evidence-based recommendations for the safest way for babies ...

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Medical school prepares physicians to prescribe medications for prevention and treatment of disease, but little to no time is spent teaching something just as important: de-prescribing. In our current system of auto-refills, e-prescriptions, and mindless “checkbox” EMR medication reconciliation, patients may continue taking medications years after their original prescriber intended them to stop. There is no doubt that many Americans are over-medicated, and the problem
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I recently read a post by oncologist Dr. Stephanie Graff on the experience of blame, from self and others, that people with cancer are subjected to:

The talk about risk factors and early detection makes us think we can achieve perfection, and that cancer is somehow a personal fault … let us stop making accusations and blaming persons diagnosed with cancer. They are blameless.
Her post, "Read more...

The Senate version of the Republican health care bill lays bare the priorities of America’s current political leadership. It is not pretty. The new bill demonstrates the Republicans’ entirely unbalanced view of government and fiscal policy, where monetary value trumps all other values, and where only the wealthy are worthy of a helping hand. These are the new values of the Republican leadership as evidenced by the new bill. We once ...

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Social media is a powerful way to change the public perception of the medical profession. A KevinMD keynote video excerpt.  Please visit my physician keynote speaking page to find out more.

School’s out! This time of year is met with great expectation in children all over the country. However, another unwelcomed guest, hunger, comes along with the summer break. Over 30 million children qualify for the National School Lunch Program which provides free or low-cost meals to children daily during the school year. When classes are out over the summer months, the food availability lessens for many children as parents aren’t ...

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Computers, more specifically, electronic health records (EHRs), will someday revolutionize the practice of medicine. In fact, successful computerization of medical care is the most critical step necessary to transform the American health care system from its current sorry state to the 21st-century system of our dreams. It is ironic, then, that today EHRs represent one of the worst problems plaguing medical professionals. At this point, many physicians would say that ...

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Two hours of administrative tasks for every hour with patients. A proliferation of non-physician administrators deciding how the day is going to run. Little in our training about how to cope with uncertainty and change. It’s no surprise that burnout rates are approaching 60 percent. Despite being so common, when we see a colleague struggling with physician burnout, we may not know what to say. Responding appropriately can bring someone ...

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Your brain is a three-pound hunk of biological tissue. And though it’s nothing more than a conglomeration of specialized cells, it generates the taste of cheesecake, the ecstasy of enchantment, and the misery of suffering. Amazing, right? I certainly think so, though I find myself among a shrinking minority. Whereas the eyes of our medical forefathers were turned toward the heavens in search of answers to seemingly unknowable questions -- ...

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Once during my TV news days, I was feeling pretty good about myself during a three-hour drive to the Mayo Clinic. “I am so glad I don’t practice!” I crowed to my photographer. “Practicing physicians are so sad. They’ve lost their income, their autonomy, and the public’s respect.” My photographer didn’t miss a beat. “Yeah,” he replied. “They sound just like you.” By which he meant that as a journalist, I’d lost ...

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I see them every time I wait in the inescapably long lines at the grocery store. They’re offering me so much. Fat-melting foods that “work like gastric bypass.” Sleep masks that prevent breast cancer. One day diets. And, of course, the perennial “medical miracles.” All these revelations can be mine with a simple magazine purchase. It’s easy to dismiss the medical advice being propagated through the supermarket checkout aisle. Who would ...

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