Why I recommend LinkedIn to physicians When I talk to physicians about dipping their toes into the social media waters, I advise starting with LinkedIn.  Spend about 45 minutes or so and create a LinkedIn profile, which is essentially a digital translation of your CV.  LinkedIn profiles get ranked highest among the social media platforms, and can push down the influence of negative ...

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HealthCare.gov doesnt need a tech surge, it needs better primary care The Affordable Care Act is off to a rocky start, to say the least. Attention has been focused on HealthCare.gov, where those without employer-provided insurance can shop for health plans.  Finger pointing abounds, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and contractors blaming each other. A story in the Wall Street Journal chronicles the debacle:

The contractors said each of their pieces ...

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In case you haven't heard, Malcolm Gladwell recently released his book, David and Goliath.  I'm just about finished reading it. Just as interesting as the book are its reviews.  In a recent post from Slate, Gladwell himself responds to the criticism.  He freely admits that his books should not be held as pinnacles of academic rigor, but should be considered "intellectual adventures stories." He further elaborates on the power of ...

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This column was published in USA Today on September 9, 2013. More patients are coming to my primary care clinic with forms from their employer, asking me to measure their blood pressure, or check their sugar and cholesterol levels. Companies requesting medical data drive employee wellness programs, a booming $6 billion business, with approximately half of large employers offering such plans. Coaching and financial incentives are often offered to help employees meet certain health ...

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Most social media guidelines for physicians, most recently from the American College of Physicians and Federation of State Medical Boards, suggest that doctors separate their personal and professional identity. Until physicians are better educated on how best to act professionally on social networks, keeping their online personal lives private is more likely to keep them out of trouble. But is it time for that recommendation to be revised? In a recent JAMA perspective ...

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Many physicians continue to be fearful of online rating sites, despite evidence that they don't have anything to worry about. Multiple studies, including one from the Journal of General Internal Medicine (saying that 88% of physician reviews were positive), to a more recent one from the Journal of Urology (86% positive), say that the majority of physician ratings are better than most doctors would think. Reconcile these findings with ...

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Drug store retail clinics for primary care? Not so fast A version of this column was published in USA Today on July 3, 2013. One recent day in my primary care clinic, I had a full schedule and was unable to see a patient for her cough.  She instead sought medical care at a local drugstore, where she was treated for bronchitis. Normally housed in pharmacies and department stores like Target or Walmart, ...

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We're spending an inordinate amount of time and effort trying to convince doctors to change the way they practice. Most recently, for instance, a study came out saying that doctors aren't following back pain guidelines.  Or from a broader perspective, consider the Choosing Wisely campaign, which lists scores of tests and treatments that are ordered too frequently. Various carrots and sticks have been used to steer physicians to ...

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The following column was published on May 29th, 2013 in the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog, which asked the question, "Is Obamacare too complicated to succeed?" Is the Affordable Care Act complicated? Of course it is. Even one of its architects concedes that it is phenomenally complex. Why? To pass, it had to be contorted to satisfy a number of special interest groups. As its major reforms are implemented ...

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To improve patient safety, lawyers need to embrace transparency too How do we reduce medical errors? It’s a question at the forefront of the minds medical and policy leaders today.  Entire books have been devoted to the subject, and there is no shortage of suggestions to improve patient safety. Internist Danielle Ofri recently wrote a New York Times op-ed on the issue, where she reflected on a “near miss” she had during ...

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