For scientists and researchers who are developing new treatments for disease, Data is power.  For patients, Data can mean empowerment.  Devices that track health indicators are readily available.  These devices can track heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar and even respiratory rate and body temperature. In the Wall Street Journal, the medical applications of the Fitbit device are explored.  The Fitbit is a basic pedometer that tracks movement, steps taken, calories consumed ...

Read more...

As a child, I often watched science fiction movies and television shows wondering how much would become reality in my lifetime.  From space travel in Buck Rogers and Star Trek to time travel in Back to the Future, I often imagined growing up in a world where the impossible became probable.  Bionics and the repair of human tissues was captivating and the Six Million Dollar Man became a hit series. Now, much of what was thought to be ...

Read more...

For physicians, the applications of tablets are endless Medicine is becoming mobile.  Physicians, nurses and other health care providers must be able to quickly assimilate and react to an overwhelming stream of data.  Tablet technologies, such as the iPad, have been incorporated into the workflows of many clinics, emergency rooms and hospitals.  Medical schools and residency programs are quickly adapting the technology for teaching.  While tablets do present some ...

Read more...

Health care reform is a reality.  The ACA and its associated mandates have forever changed the landscape of medicine in the U.S. today.  The Obama administration touts the goals of reform as providing affordable, cost effective, high quality care for all Americans.  Certainly these are noble and lofty goals: But have we completely missed the mark? Today, many remain uninsured and the majority that have signed up for the exchanges are simply ...

Read more...

The digital age of medicine is upon us.  Recently at the opening plenary session at the annual Heart Rhythm Society meetings, we heard Dr. Eric Topol and others tell us that we must embrace social networking in order to engage patients and improve care.  The Affordable Care Act has now changed the landscape of medical practice in the US: We must do more to focus on preventative care and work harder to curtail costs. ...

Read more...

As physicians we are trained to assimilate data, analyze and interpret findings, and make the correct decision -- every single time.  Often these tasks must be performed very quickly and in emergency settings.  For those who perform invasive procedures, decisions are often made “on the fly” and can have significant consequences. In addition to our clinical duties, physicians are now thrust into executive roles as well.  Managing practices, budgets, government mandates ...

Read more...

Obesity and obesity related illness accounts for an enormous health care expenditure in the US today: approaching 150 billion dollars annually.  In an era of health care reform and cost containment, preventative medicine is essential to success.  Rather than rearranging networks, separating doctors from patients and limiting choice, our government may be more effective in reducing health care costs by focusing on slimming waistlines throughout the US. According to a recent ...

Read more...

Research and development is critical to battling disease.  Now, more than ever, technology can rapidly impact a patient and their disease process in a very positive way.  The process of developing a new drug or device is expensive and can be very time consuming.  As government funding for projects continues to decline, more funding is coming from private sponsorship according to a recent New York Times piece. Another critical source of ...

Read more...

Communication is critical to success in medicine.  Our patients depend on us to help them understand their disease and the risks that it may pose.  In previous blogs I have commented on how vital effective communication can be in determining outcome -- much of my writing has focused on the success associated with outpatient doctor-patient relationships. We now know that when doctors and patients engage, patients become invested in their ...

Read more...

In medicine today diagnostic testing and advanced imaging is readily available and widely utilized in most every clinical setting.  Many physicians have given up the stethoscope and physical exam in favor of an echocardiogram and a CT scan.  Fear of missing something pervades every emergency department and has resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary testing costing billions of dollars in healthcare expenditures. Of course, the driving causes of increased testing ...

Read more...

6 Pages