One of the topics’s that I’ve written most about, and also do a considerable amount of non-clinical consulting work on, is how we can improve health care information technology and electronic medical records. As they currently exist, there are unfortunately many drawbacks to health care IT systems, and they have as yet failed to fulfill their immense promise. I’m not a technophobe by any stretch of the imagination. I embrace technologies and ...

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When my father died three years ago,  my comments at his funeral noted that the greatest aspiration any of us can have is to make a difference in the world.  My father’s life made a difference. I’m always self-critical and analyzing my own life.  I moved to Boston 20 years ago this month.   In those 20 years of service to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), Harvard, numerous federal organizations, ...

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In early 2014 I decided to use the six state licenses I had obtained as a locum tenens physician to start practicing telemedicine. Since then I have worked with several telemedicine platforms. I use telemedicine to keep up my outpatient skills. I have found that telemedicine companies differ dramatically in their overall ease of use for the provider. Here are my top 7 tips for deciding which telemedicine company to work ...

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The U.S. health care system is the world's top in health care spending per capita, but in terms of performance, we're dead last among developed countries. As a young physician embarking on a career in this landscape, it's glaringly obvious that we need disruptive innovation to create better health at a lower cost. Physicians are uniquely positioned to make critical contributions to medical innovation, but even among ...

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The chance interaction occurred at a large medical conference I attended recently. I happened to bump into a leader in health care information technology from a major integrated medical system. As soon as I saw him and his name badge, I thought I would go over and introduce myself, seeing as I have an avid interest in health care IT myself. He was standing alone having just finished lunch, and there ...

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Some say privacy is an illusion. I hope that isn’t true, but I do know that our medical records are not safe. Why should you care? Because our medical records contain our social security numbers, health insurance information, our home addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts and their phone numbers, our email addresses, possibly our driver’s license numbers, and likely credit card payment information. Ever paid your co-pay with a ...

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Among the plethora of emails that I receive on a daily basis, there seems to always be at least one sent from my hospital’s information services department. Usually, I receive alerts about system downtime or notifications about resolved tickets. They all have the same general look and feel, and so I hardly ever question that they are official. And then I come across a communication with the message similar to ...

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During our dermatology section in medical school, a classmate recounted having had Henoch-Schonlein purpura as a child.  Over a holiday break, he visited his primary care physician and asked if he could review his records out of curiosity.  His family physician pulled out the index card that served as this man’s medical record.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It was not a chart or computer printout; rather a 4 x ...

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My most important patient requires my constant diligence. For this reason, I am seldom far away from him. Only a few minutes inattention and there will be problems. I cannot forget my patient; I am trained to attend to him constantly. I am a professional, and my patient is, ultimately, my customer and the customer’s service is paramount, I am told. I am reminded by policies and procedures as well, ...

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Adding “electronic” means sortable, searchable, bigger attic, more junk. Unfortunately, no one has the guts to actually clean it. Are urinalyses from the 90s still important, or are we just being sentimental? For everything we do in medicine, there are intended effects and side effects. During my emergency medicine residency there was a mandate that attending physicians had to see each patient cared for by their residents. While a hard transition, ...

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