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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Finding a doctor online and researching your physician on the Internet Part of the KevinMD toolkit series. "How can I find a doctor online?" A seemingly simple question, but patients are often confronted with too much information on the Internet, with variable quality. Finding a doctor a similar to completing a puzzle.  Like puzzle pieces, there are many resources available, including word of mouth, hospitals, insurance companies, and physician ...

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One of the more contentious topics on my site is the scope of practice for non-physician providers, such as nurse practitioners.  This echos the debate on the national stage where leaders of physician organizations, who want to protect their scope of practice, conflict with those of nurse practitioners’, who want to perform the tasks that physicians traditionally have. Simply Google “nurse practitioner” on this site, for instance, and you’ll see ...

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The KevinMD toolkit: Blogging Part of the KevinMD toolkit series. A lot of people ask me, “What tools do you use for blogging, speaking, when you’re on the road, seeing patients etc. …” So I decided to start a series that describe what tools I use, and why. The first explored my speaking toolkit.  This one details the technical tools I use to run KevinMD.com.  I’ll discuss ...

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Curb prescription drug abuse by following Mayor Bloomberg A version of this column was published in USA Today on April 1, 2013. Prescription drug abuse is a growing national tragedy. One of the biggest culprits is opioid painkillers, such as Oxycontin and Percocet. Shockingly, more than 200 million of these types of drugs are prescribed annually, and they account for more than 16,000 deaths a year.  And for every death, significantly ...

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