Recently, I attended what may have been my last quarterly medical staff meeting at my local hospital -- ever. (I am retiring from medicine in ten weeks.) I certainly wasn't there for the food, although the fare was much better than the daily servings in the doctors' lounge. Part of the night's agenda was a rousing talk by the hospital's new chief medical officer (CMO). A retired surgeon, the CMO ...

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I am not sure of the date or time of death. However, I am reasonably certain of the cause. Death was by electronic data and formatting. The victim was the time-honored physician's progress note. To be sure, these notes, even the now "ancient" written ones, were far from perfect. And they were often illegible. Shortcuts such as "as above" or AVSS (all vital signs stable) littered the pages of the ...

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Retirement is an intensely personal decision. I have done virtually nothing but medicine for the last 35 years. Oh sure, I have made some money from writing, or giving lectures and expert case reviews, but most of these are tied to medicine as well. Having just turned 65, my financial advisor says from his analysis, I can retire any time now. I have a contract with my cardiology group, which ...

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If you are like millions of Americans, at some point in your adult life, your doctor will order you to have a CT or MRI scan. Quick, easy, and painless, these invaluable imaging tests provide a vast amount and array of diagnostic information about illnesses, and direct treatment paths. However, the real pain usually begins when you receive the bill. It is not uncommon for the charges, including radiological interpretation, to ...

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A long time ago, in a bygone era, hospital discharges were simple. As a physician, you decided when to admit and discharge a patient from the hospital. Unfortunately, this process was often inefficient, costly, and subject to the whims of doctor and patient. Medicare, and other third-party payers, ultimately realized that this format made little sense and motivated keeping patients in the hospital too long. Many unethical doctors gamed the ...

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With the recent NSA admission of recording phone conversations of US citizens, there has been renewed interest in the right to privacy. For the record, it is worth recalling what the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported ...

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For all of those out there anticipating the 2014 official roll out of Obamacare, officially known as Affordable Care Act (ACA), here is a cautionary tale. Many years ago, as I was growing my cardiology practice, it became evident that diagnostic services for my specialty, like stress tests and echocardiograms, were done less efficiently and cost more at the local hospital, than in the office. This stimulated many groups in the ...

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User friendly recording of data often seems like an EHR afterthought As I began logging on to my third different hospital EHR (electronic health record) recently, I contemplated how much more of this I could take. Being less than a year from planned retirement, the nuances of learning a new EHR and CPOE (computerized physician order entry) system is not fun. Furthermore, every hour I spend learning a new and unique system is ...

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As a second year medical student in 1971, I still remember an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, describing a new phenomenon, The Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome. It was based upon the famous Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson’s fairly tale from the 1800’s. A vain emperor, who cares for nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from ...

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My office consultation for the 50 year-old woman was her complaint of chest pain. I could not help but glance at her insurance and it was for Medicare. I have always been fascinated with what types of disability people have which qualifies them for Medicare and SSD, (Social Security Disability), before the usual age of 65. To say that I have observed bizarre and inequitable awards would be a gross ...

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