Down in Baltimore for a meeting, long days full of plenary sessions and workshops, awards ceremonies and poster sessions. Recycled hotel air, bad coffee, great camaraderie. Lots of new ideas, lots of new ways of looking at things, lots of reinventing the wheel, lots of hope for change. Lots of sessions about how to improve the environment for learners, how to engage medical students, how to build a curriculum, how to ...

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The phones, the phones, the phones. Every time we look, everywhere we look, getting the phone answered seems to be a problem we just can't lick, a continual thorn in the side of our practice, something that's hindering all the other efforts we try to make things better, to get ourselves to the best care environment for our patients, our staff, and our providers.

Without ...

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Long ago, before our hospital changed over to a nearly complete hospitalist model, the faculty at our internal medicine practice served as the attending of record for all of our own patients, as well as the patients of the residents we supervised, when those patients were admitted to the inpatient services across the street. When we would arrive in the morning, we would look at the admission list, note that one ...

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"I can do that?" During a recent morning practice session, a resident was presenting a patient who had had several episodes of syncope which culminated in a trip to the emergency room. She had a brief stay there, and on the discharge plan was written "follow-up with PCP and with cardiology."

We went through her history and physical examination, we talked about how to further ...

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As part of trying to figure out where telehealth and video visits fit into the primary care setting, this week I got an amazing tour from the director of our emergency department, during which he showed me the program they've developed over the past year. An incredible system, they take patients from triage who report to the emergency department with nonemergent issues, and move them to a consultation room off to ...

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In these strange days of unsure future health care policies, shrinking budgets, and significant belt-tightening, as we look for ways to improve access for our patients, we need to reevaluate how we to get them into care, making sure we see them in a timely and efficient manner. We have always said that in this topsy-turvy time, in the crazy state of health care, what we really need is more primary ...

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shutterstock_177270461 The insurance companies have discovered a new way to give me a headache. About a month ago, a number of providers in our practice received an email with instructions about a new task to which we had been assigned. Apparently, we were supposed to log on to some website, create an account, and fill out a SOAP note on about a dozen of ...

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I recently spent time at the New York eHealth Collaborative's Digital Health conference. The meeting was full of interesting seminars, informational sessions, presentations on innovative technology looming on the horizon, and talk about the future digital face of health care. The hallways outside the conference rooms were full of administrators, legislators, consultants, and representatives of companies building and designing new resources to help transform the health care system as they see it. Over and ...

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Information is everything, communication is the key. Recently, we were contacted by the medical director of a subspecialist fellow's practice at one of our affiliated hospitals. She wanted to discuss ways to improve communication between our practices, and expressed considerable frustration about the information received in consultation requests from the providers in our practice sending patients their way. She noted that they had "read-only" access to our electronic health record (through an information-sharing ...

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Today was (almost) the last straw. If you've read this column before, you've listened to my diatribes about the insanity of the forms we are required to fill out, the wasted efforts, the missed opportunities, the duplicative care. This one today takes the cake. Going through my mail this morning, trying to clean up the work on my desk before I head off for a (hopefully) few days of jury duty, ...

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