Regular readers of this blog know that the mere introduction of an electronic medical record doesn't necessarily guarantee better patient care. There are multiple reasons for that, including the fact that many systems are archaic in nature, counter-intuitive, and doctors are forced to learn multiple systems. Yesterday, the WSJ's Health Blog posted a study showing that hospitals with an EMR don't necessarily have better quality measures. Shocker. According Rand Corp.,

trying to ...

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I've written in the past that more medicine and tests do not necessarily reflect better care. There is no test that is 100% specific or sensitive.  That means tests may be positive, when, in fact, there is no disease ("false positive"), or tests may be negative in the presence of disease ("false negative"). It's the latter that often gets the most media attention, often trumpeted as missed diagnoses, but false positives ...

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Primary care physicians often have to see patients with a litany of issues.  Often within a span of a 15-minute office visit. This places the doctor in the middle of a tension -- spend more time with the patient to address all of the concerns, but risk the wrath of patients scheduled afterwards, who are then forced to wait. And, in some cases, it's simply impossible to adequately address every patient question ...

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Mediation has been cited as a way to lower the cost of litigation and compensate injured patients without going through the ordeal of a trial. In post from the WSJ Health Blog, the problem is few doctors are participating. That's a problem. A study from a law journal looked at 31 cases that went to mediation, and found that,

of those cases, 16 were settled at mediation, 5 settled afterward and 10 weren’t ...

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Early last year, I wrote that conservatives should have been happy with health reform. Maybe they just didn't realize it yet, because they're rejoicing after yesterday's news of a federal judge ruling the individual mandate unconstitutional. But by supporting repeal, conservatives should be careful what they wish for. The fact is, the Affordable Care Act is a moderate piece of legislation. There's no public option. It leaves private insurers intact. There is ...

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Medical students today consider lifestyle an essential criteria when choosing a specialty. It's become a cliche that most are looking towards the ROAD (radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology and dermatology) to happiness. There's been some recent media attention at how women are lured to specialties that offer a greater balance between their family lifestyle and professional demands. Claudia Golden, a Harvard economics professor, recently noted that,

high-paying careers that offer more help in balancing work ...

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There's little question that CT scans are on the rise, especially in the emergency department. A recent paper from Radiology put a number to the increased frequency of the test, concluding,

CT, a radiology tool that once took nine days to finish, was used 16.2 million times in 2007 to diagnose headaches, stomach aches, back pain, chest pain and the like. That was a huge increase from 1995 when it was ...

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There has been significant media attention on a New England Journal of Medicine case report where a surgeon, Massachusetts General Hospital's David Ring, described how he operated on the wrong hand of a patient. Here's a summary of the case:

Ring, along with colleagues at Massachusetts General and Harvard Medical School, detailed the series of missteps that led to the wrong operation in the patient whose ring finger on her ...

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The following op-ed was published on October 27th, 2010 in USA Today. When I ask new patients how they found me, frequently they say on the Internet through search engines such as Google. Out of curiosity, I recently Googled myself. Numerous ads appeared, promising readers a "detailed background report" or a "profile" of me. Among the search results was information about my practice, whether I was board certified, had any lawsuits against ...

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Hospitals have recently been stepping up their infection control procedures, in the wake of news about iatrogenic infections afflicting patients when they are admitted. Doctors are increasingly wearing a variety of protective garb -- gowns, gloves and masks -- while seeing patients. In an interesting New York Times column, Pauline Chen wonders how this affects the doctor-patient relationship. She cites a study from the Annals of Family Medicine, which concluded that,

fear of ...

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