Patient portals are very much the future of health care. Having easy access to ones’ medical history, diagnoses, and test results, seems like such a natural thing that it’s hard to imagine that only a couple of decades ago medical information was regarded as private for the physician’s eyes only. Of course, the Internet and technology revolution has taken this concept to a whole new level. Health care organizations across the ...

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As a physician, not a day goes by without a new acronym I need to look up, a new policy I need to follow, another box I need to click or another criteria I need to meet -- and this is just to keep up. While the health care picture and its various unknowns loom ever larger in the news, and health information emails overstuff my inbox, it is worth ...

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The governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, devoted all of his annual speech to the problem of drug addiction. On the national news, Shumlin points out the link between prescription painkillers and death, and he calls for treating opiate addiction as a medical problem no different than cancer. The White House praised the governor’s position. Meanwhile in another part of Washington, I’m involved in the federal effort to link the law ...

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One of the spinoffs of being an oncologist is that you do not to take the world for granted.  Each morning, I walk around the yard and smell the morning breeze. I am thankful for my children, my wife and my own health.  I am thrilled, if occasionally skeptical, to have the opportunity to pay taxes in a country that I love.  So, who would believe I would take our ...

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Besides the importance of physician happiness when using an EHR, using design principles that maximize user intuition and presentation of relevant information, there is one aspect of health care information systems that should never be overlooked: patient safety. Scot Silverstein, MD, blogging at Health Care Renewal as InformaticsMD, frequently brings to light issues surrounding health care IT implementations that compromise patient safety.  Reading his posts should be sobering and concerning to ...

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I was talking to a colleague recently about his practice, and remarked that he was still keeping a paper medical record. Without hesitation, he made it clear that he not only liked the paper record, but he positively dreaded switching to an electronic record. He said sadly that he thought it was inevitable that he would be forced to switch, but hoped that the day would be far into the ...

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I recently stumbled across a blog post by Dr. Jay Parkinson, an entrepreneur and founder of Sherpaa, who reflected on a recent private breakfast with New Yorker and best selling author Dr. Atul Gawande.

The question posed by Gawande: Can technology be a change agent for health care? The inevitable answer is yes, with one important caveat. It’s not the technology that will change the practice of medicine, it’s the doctors who ...

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A couple of weeks ago I took my car in for its regular servicing. I’ve always had excellent service at this dealership and have gotten used to some pretty high standards. But on this particular visit, I was about to receive a dose of new technology as well. After I pulled my car into the garage, I was immediately greeted by a welcoming and friendly customer service agent. She had ...

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As I look back all those years ago to when I chose medicine as a career, I suspect that my motives were similar to most people who enter this wonderful profession. I wanted to become a doctor because I had a genuine and sincere desire to help people. I also liked the idea of a busy and energetic job, one where I was comfortably as far away as possible from ...

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I am a primary care doctor who makes house calls in and around Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Most of my visits are in neighborhoods, but today my rounds start at a house located down a dirt road a few miles outside of town. Gingerly, I cross the front walk; Mrs. Edgars told me that she killed a rattlesnake in her flowerbed last year. She is at the door, expecting my visit. Mr. Edgars sits ...

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