Every health care system in the world is facing its fair share of challenges. Aging populations, the exponential increase in chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, expensive new treatments—all at a time when most countries desperately need to curtail rising health care costs to save their economies. At the two extremes, we have fully public-funded (socialized) medicine versus entirely free-market (private) health care delivery systems. I’ve written previously ...

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The election result shook the world. As the vote counts started to come in, most of the country descended into a state of collective shock and disbelief -- even Mr. Trump’s own supporters. Nobody seemed more surprised than the political pundits on all the cable news channels, who had for months incorrectly predicted the opposite result. Let me take a step back for a moment before I sound like somebody who ...

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I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of high school students who were interested in becoming doctors. A large number of them were volunteering in my hospital, and their coordinator asked me if I could spare some time to chat with them about life as a doctor and what they should be doing to get into medicine. I remember as if it were yesterday when I was their ...

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There are so many insightful stories out there about what happens when physicians experience life as a patient or family member. They always make sobering reading for everyone in health care. Over the years I’ve heard dozens of these stories from fellow physicians, describing experiences when they’ve unfortunately been sick themselves. It’s an inevitable fact of life for everyone that they will be the patient one day, but it’s often ...

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Dear health care technologist or regulator, The world of health care is changing exponentially. Speaking as one the nation’s over 800,000 physicians, I can confidently say that most of us understand the fact that the current health care system is unsustainable, and can’t carry on as is. There are many potential solutions to explore, and everyone in health care needs to try to come together in an attempt to address these ...

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The mouse is a piece of technology that we’ve all got very used to working with over the last couple of decades. They actually go back longer than we might expect — the British Royal Navy first used a version of the mouse in the 1940s. With the personal computing revolution of the 1990s, they entered almost every single American household. Go back ten years, and nobody could have imagined ...

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A few months ago I wrote an article about a 28-year-old MBA who attempted to tell an experienced physician where to round first. The article was widely circulated and went a bit viral. Clearly, the scenario resonated with thousands of physicians across the country. It was interesting that afterward, I received many messages from various people who had read it. The majority of these were messages of support and ...

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I enjoy being a physician. I really enjoy being a physician. Although much of my blog is focused on areas where we need to improve health care, with a particular recent focus on the burdens of information technology, that does not take away from the fact that I do really love my job as a doctor. I’ve received a lot of supportive correspondence regarding my views on how electronic medical records ...

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I recently watched the movie Sully. It was the first time I’d ever watched a movie on its actual release date. Knowing what a legendary actor Tom Hanks is, and what a fascinating and near-tragic story unfolded on January 15, 2009, I felt confident that my choice to venture out to the cinema on a beautiful Boston September evening, would be a good one. The movie sure didn’t disappoint. Brilliantly directed ...

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One of the biggest shifts in American health care over the last several years (and we’ve only just seen the tip of the iceberg so far) is the shift of the system away from the traditional fee-for-service model, and towards a system based more on quality, outcomes, and yes, a degree of rationing. By all measures, we know that the pure fee-for-service model -- at least mostly funded by Medicare -- ...

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