The New York medical malpractice crisis: Whos to blame?Is this the endgame for the medical malpractice crisis? A recent cover story in the New York Times describes how some financially struggling hospitals are "going bare," meaning they are partially or completely forgoing malpractice coverage. From an economic standpoint, it's a rational thing to do.  Malpractice insurance costs are skyrocketing, forcing these hospitals into uncomfortable choices. As one administrator bluntly ...

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The Supreme Court on health reform: Everybody wins!The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. I'll leave the detailed legal analysis  to other commentators that you'll no doubt find elsewhere. Although some may not feel this way, this is an outcome everybody should be happy with. Most important, patients should be happy.  As I wrote in the New York Times Room for Debate recently, the ACA has ...

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If the individual mandate is struck down, what happens next?The following column was published on June 17th, 2012 in the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog. In this election year, the Supreme Court’s judgment on the Affordable Care Act will be interpreted through a political lens. But the decision will have real-life consequences on patients, whose voice won’t be heard through the ensuing partisan din. If the individual mandate ...

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Robots for surgery arent ready for widespread use in hospitalsThe following column was published on June 5th, 2012 in USA Today. I recently had the opportunity to try out a surgical robot, a medical device that has excited doctors, patients and hospital marketing departments. During the demonstration, I was able to precisely manipulate the robotic arms using joysticks. The experience felt right out of a Hollywood movie, as I was ...

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Why Priscilla Chan may become the countrys most influential doctorWho has the potential to be the most influential physician of our generation? It's Priscilla Chan, who not only recently graduated from medical school, but also married Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. When I brought this up on Twitter, someone responded that it was "disappointing at the same time. I'm certain her own merits and studies would have made waves alone." But her ...

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Confused about prostate cancer screening? Make a shared decisionIn a widely anticipated move, the USPSTF officially recommended against prostate cancer screening in healthy men. Case closed, right? Hardly. The prostate cancer screening debate has been raging for the past decade. Increasing amounts of evidence show that screening does not save lives, and increase the risk of complications like impotence and urinary incontinence that stem from invasive diagnostic tests and ...

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When it comes to doctors and social media, hospitals fail miserablyWhen it comes to medicine and social media, much of the attention is negative. Doctors losing their hospital privileges because of Facebook. Or other health care workers taking pictures of patients and posting them on the web. It's no wonder that many hospitals are taking a heavy handed approach when it comes to their doctors and social media. Consider this story,
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Warren Buffett’s prostate cancer choices arent right for every manA version of this column was published on April 24, 2012 in USA Today. There has been a recent uptick of elderly men in my primary care clinic asking about prostate cancer, perhaps because they heard of Warren Buffett’s recent prostate cancer diagnosis and his proposed treatment. Patients are wondering if they should also be screened. Other patients who already have ...

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Many medical decisions require shared decision makingThe following column was published on April 1, 2012 in USA Today. I recently saw a middle-age man in my primary care clinic who asked whether he should continue his cholesterol medication. He was reacting to new Food and Drug Administration warnings on statins, a class of drugs taken by more than 20 million Americans to lower their cholesterol. Though generally ...

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Patients deserve a medical malpractice early offerThe following column was published on March 25, 2012 in the Nashua Telegraph. Medical malpractice historically has been a contentious issue. Doctors have argued that the system is broken, promotes multi-million dollar awards disproportionate to the injuries suffered, and encourages the ordering of unnecessary tests to avoid being sued, a practice known as defensive medicine. Trial attorneys, on the other ...

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