Within the last several weeks, I’ve had two plumbing issues that have caused me to reflect on the honorability of various professions and the way in which people go about earning an honest day’s crust. Let me take you back to the beginning of the story. I was actually working nights a couple of months ago when I noticed, just before I was about to leave for the hospital, that my ...

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The promise that information technology holds for health care is, quite literally, amazing. So far, it has enabled us to get rid of paper charts (not to mention the age-old problem of illegible doctors’ handwriting), negated the need to trawl through mountains of files to find old clinical data, and introduced much-needed safety improvements such as medication alerts. But anyone practicing at the frontlines of medicine over the last few years ...

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As the New Year arrives and health care continues its rapid evolution, one of the most critical challenges that we face is the interaction of information technology with frontline clinical medicine. If you were to ask, at the start of 2016, any physician (or even nurse) what their biggest daily frustrations are -- most would list health care IT at or near top of the list. And it’s not just ...

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You may be forgiven after reading some of my articles for thinking that I’m somehow "anti-health care information technology." It’s a subject that I’ve written a lot about over the last couple of years, mainly because I feel passionately that our use of information technology at the frontlines of health care needs to drastically improve. But let me start first by making a confession: I love information technology. I am just ...

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With the depths of winter just around the corner, doctors and nurses everywhere know what’s about to hit them over the next few months. The inevitable surge in hospital admissions during colder weather is almost as predictable as knowing the leaves will be falling off the trees in the fall. As someone who has worked in several different hospitals over the last few years, ranging from small rural institutions to large ...

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Readmissions to hospital, especially within 30 days of discharge, are on the radar of all health care organizations in the United States. This is due in no small part to stiff financial penalties that are now imposed on the worst performers by the federal government. On the surface, it may seem like a reasonable thing to penalize hospitals that don’t successfully “get their patients better enough” to avoid readmission. However, the ...

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Last week I was playing golf with some friends. The Boston area has been having a bit of an Indian summer, and we are lucky to still be getting out there (long may it last). The conversation during one of the holes turned to health care information technology, when my friend, who is also a physician, told me about his experiences with a (certain famous) new electronic medical record that’s just been installed in their ...

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Statistics suggest that physicians are now spending a minimal amount of time in direct patient care, shockingly as little as 10 percent of their day. This proportion of time that physicians (and nurses) actually spend interacting with patients has been shrinking year by year. There’s the need to communicate with other members of the expanding health care team, increased bureaucratic requirements, and over the last several years -- the need to ...

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The use of information technology in health care holds so much promise, and potential yet to be realized. Ask any front line physician and they will list electronic medical records (EMRs) as one of their biggest daily frustrations. A brilliant video by Zubin Damania, also known as ZDoggMD, recently parodied the current situation and the pain felt by doctors on a daily basis. But it really isn’t all about ...

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I wrote a piece about the word "provider," and how physicians have been a bit blindsided to what’s fast becoming their new title. It started something of a social media wave. It was good to see the article encouraging lots of healthy debate, and I was also grateful for the large volume of supportive messages. As we continue this important discussion, I wanted to specifically address five follow-up issues: 1. This ...

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