shutterstock_22233682 This place sucks had become my mantra as I powered through every bloody, chaotic, understaffed shift. Fresh out of residency, I had accepted a job in the ER of a community hospital which -- though it had appeared calm, functional, and replete with helpful consultants during the 15-minute tour I took during my interview -- had turned into exactly the opposite when I ...

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shutterstock_140188489 Dear health IT staff, I know that, on many levels, physicians must be the absolute banes of your existence.  We are grumpy and resistant to change. And some of us are still confused by graphing calculators, much less complex modern computer systems.  We call you because we forgot our passwords, then because we forgot the new passwords.  We call because the system ...

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Of the nearly 100 people I interviewed for my upcoming book, John Halmaka was one of the most fascinating. Halamka is CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a national leader in health IT policy. He also runs a family farm, on which he raises ducks, alpacas and llamas. His penchant for black mock turtlenecks, along with his brilliance and quirkiness, raise inevitable comparisons to Steve Jobs. I interviewed him ...

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Influenza has arrived refusing to be ignored or be the ugly step-virus to Ebola any longer. This influenza season is officially an epidemic. The Washington Post's Wonkblog reported earlier this month that December 2014 was “one of the worst flu months in years.”  In fact, they found that it was “the worst December since the polling organization started tracking flu season in 2008.” As of January 3rd, the CDC reported widespread ...

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Between 1991 and 2010, opioid drug prescriptions increased from 75.5 million to 209.5 million.  How can we stop prescription drug abuse? Let's start in the ER.

To critics who admonish emergency physicians like myself for our excessive use of CT scans, I’ll ask them to consider the leaf blower. I’m sipping my morning coffee on our front porch, a bright, idyllic autumn day in New England, the tranquility ripped apart by the landscapers across the street. For many jobs, a powerful leaf blower might prove superior to a rake or broom. But in my neighborhood known ...

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As more doctors work for hospitals and large conglomerates, patient satisfaction rules.  And these physicians are saying, "My boss is CEO!"

“Blessed. I’m so blessed.” She kept repeating this, from her seat on the examining table. “I’m so blessed.” I unwrapped the bandage holding on the splint that had covered her arm for the three weeks since the bullet went in above her elbow and came out through her forearm, hitting no bone, touching no major artery. “Blessed.” Homeless. With diabetes that needed insulin, which needed a refrigerator, that she didn’t have. Vulnerable. A few years earlier, ...

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shutterstock_223911598 I have issues with the customer satisfaction paradigm, but it’s not generally hard to make patients happy. Sometimes, though, it can be nearly impossible. It all depends on our own inner life as physicians and human beings. The key to medicine, to being a beloved physician, is to love our patients. This can be a tall order. Human beings are remarkably difficult ...

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shutterstock_154990457 The truth is, I know it's easy to go to the Minute Clinic.  I know the enticement of not needing an appointment, of being able to shop while you wait, of having the prescription ready to pick up by the end of your appointment.  Who doesn't like convenience and a friendly smile to add?  Who doesn't like the customer service offered ...

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