A pivotal moment in the U.S. health care system is taking shape. Physicians across the U.S. are wondering what their role will be in this new health care landscape that is being shaped by legislation (from the Affordable Care Act and from meaningful use), by social media, and by technology advancements. It’s an existential moment. Physicians are wondering if we are knaves, pawns, or knights in this chess game called the ...

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My 87-year-old father broke his hip this past weekend.  He was in Michigan for a party for his 101-year-old sister, and fell as he tried to put away her wheelchair.  The good news is that he’s otherwise pretty healthy, so he should do fine. Still, getting old sucks. During the whole situation around his injury, surgery, and upcoming recovery, one thing became very clear: Technology can really make things much easier:

There is a recent and interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Craviotto, about the maddening aspect of forced mandates and bureaucratic requirements in medicine that seem to have very little to do with actual medical care and more about hoops through which we must jump that seemingly lead to nowhere. While I do find the bureaucracy of medicine in the United States insane versus the Canadian ...

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The practice of medicine is an art based on science. – Sir William Osler This was famously stated over 100 years ago by Dr. Osler, the father of modern medicine and the physician who laid the foundation for professionalism in health care.  In this vein, a panel of experts from Boston-area hospitals and elsewhere recently convened to attack the question, “What needs to change to get doctors back to the patients?”  While the ...

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I'm feeling meaningfully used today. Once again, we are faced with another set of administrative hurdles, boxes that need to be clicked, tasks that need to be completed, all in the name of demonstrating that we are meaningfully using the electronic health record in which our practice and the federal government have so heavily invested. An "eligible professional summary" arrives in my email, with lots of bars with lines, and green checks ...

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You may have already seen them -- medical scribes hunched over tablets in hospitals and doctors’ offices, working away like Kim Jong-Un’s omnipresent cadre of note takers (though in this case, they’re actually getting things done). Recently, this piece about the phenomenon was making the rounds in my corner of the Twitterverse. In a conversation with a reach so high that it at one point drew in Dr. Farzad Mostashari (former National Coordinator for ...

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After decades of bravely keeping them at bay, health care is beginning to be overwhelmed by “fast, cheap, and out of control” new technologies, from BYOD (“bring your own device”) tablets in the operating room, to apps and dongles that turn your smart phone into a Star Trek tricorder, to 3-D printed skulls. (No, not a souvenir of the Grateful Dead, a Harley decoration or a pastry for the Mexican Dia de ...

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It won’t be long before every patient has a Twitter feed, and doctors subscribe to them for real-time updates. This is a time when the demands of being a physician are changing, and we need to leverage technology to maintain awareness of a huge number of patients. There is also increasing need for handoffs and communication between providers. Here’s the bottom line: How can we improve technology when doctors seem so resistant? ...

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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 ...

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For the past couple of years I’ve been working as a traveling physician in 13 states across the U.S. I chose to adopt the locum tenens lifestyle because I enjoy the challenge of working with diverse teams of peers and patient populations. I believe that this kind of work makes me a better doctor, as I am exposed to the widest possible array of technology, specialist experience, and diagnostic ...

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