It was with much fanfare that two American aid workers were airlifted from across the world and brought to Emory University Medical Center where they began experimental treatment for Ebola. We hope for a full and speedy recovery for them and others like them who do God’s work. But it appears to me that lost in this conversation are myriad others who need help but never get it. Right now, humanitarian work ...

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“Doctor, can I record this conversation?” It’s happened to me a couple of times already. But the question above was never asked. Rather I was informed later on that my conversation with a patient or family was recorded without my knowledge. Smartphones have made it all too easy for patients to secretly record conversations with their health care providers. Simply hit a button,  lay it innocently down by your side in ...

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I’m back at it again, talking about my continued love/hate relationship with EMRs. From my conversations with doctors at different hospitals in our region, it seems that most docs appear to be falling into the “hate” column. Meanwhile, I’m still chugging along with the EHR that’s been installed in my office. And while it works just fine for the needs of a 3 physician single-specialty outpatient practice, it’s hardly the ...

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Much has been written about how Web 2.0 tools can change the healthcare landscape.  It would appear a recent set of circumstances has upped the ante. This story begins with a recent study that attempted to tackle the problem of ICU infections. ICU infections are a challenging problem, patients who are admitted to the ICU are at risk of worsening illness and death from infections such as MRSA which can be ...

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How dare you! Life can change in a heartbeat. Most of us believe that our lives, our loves and all the that things that make us who we are is a gift from a higher power. One that can be taken away as swiftly as it is given. But somewhere in the shuffle of taking kids to practice, catching up on emails, worrying about bills, and the search for the perfect ...

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Well, I’ve done it again. It seems that everytime I try to make the early registration deadline for a conference, something seems to come up. One of the kids gets sick, a transmission breaks, I have a crazy week at work ... you know, life. Unlike the past few years however, I’m very excited to say that I will be making it to the American College of Chest Physician’s annual scientific ...

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Mail order pharmacies like Express Scripts and Medco have become increasingly prominent players in health care. But these companies are a lot more than simply mail order pharmacies, they are in fact a new generation of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs are essentially middle-men between insurance and pharmacy, with companies like Express Scripts merging the dual functions of a PBM and pharmacist into one. PBMs manage and administer medication benefits ...

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E cigarettes: Are they effective? Are they safe? Electronic cigarettes are here, settling over the country, quite literally,  like a fine white fog.  Smokers in turn, have been turning to them as a tool to help them quit, though the device manufacturers are are not allowed to market them that way in U.S. It seems intuitive that a device that mimics the action of smoking but without the combustion ...

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Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can make all the difference. Unfortunately, when it comes to informing patients with a new diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis what to expect, things are anything but simple. For years, pulmonologists have dreaded the moment when we inform patients of a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis. The discussion invariably involves informing them that this disease (which they have probably never heard of) may either kill them or ...

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It was my second day of residency, and something was afoot. As I made my way around my first rotation on the cardiac floor, my medical senses were tingling. There was something strange happening to all of my patients, I saw. As I peaked over my cohort’s shoulders, I secretly saw that it was happening to their patients too, though they hadn’t seemed to notice. Only I did, and I was ...

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