In any educational environment, there’s a set of buzzwords that create a common vocabulary. Medical students constantly hear about “bench-to-bedside research,” “evidence-based medicine,” and “compassionate care.” Meanwhile, business school students can’t stop talking about “aligning objectives,” “disruptive innovation,” and of course, “synergy.” One of the most frequently used phrases in both schools is “big data.” The idea is that with bigger, faster computers and new analytical techniques, we can now sift ...

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I recently attended the annual Society of Hospital Medicine conference in Las Vegas. As a proud hospital medicine doctor, this organization has grown exponentially over the last decade, and thousands of hospital physicians from across the nation descended on the city for a few days of great learning and networking opportunities. However, away from the conference, this being Vegas, there had to be some time for fun as well. On Saturday evening, ...

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President Donald Trump in a recent press briefing with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced, “Of course the Australians have better health care than we do - everybody does.” On the heels of the House narrowly passing the first in many steps toward Obamacare repeal and replace, President Trump’s comment caused a bit of a stir, to say the least. MSNBC was all over it. Chris Hayes interviewed fellow socialist Senator ...

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Johns Hopkins ophthalmologist Oliver Schein has found a simple way to save a half a billion dollars a year from our country's health care bill, with no negative effect on patient health. The only thing standing in the way is a stubborn government requirement. Seventeen years ago, Dr. Schein and colleagues published a study finding that cataract surgery patients who underwent routine preoperative testing -- such as ...

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I hope you read this letter. I doubt you will. I know you’re busy rebuilding Washington, reshaping the international order and doing a lot of other weighty stuff.  Full disclosure, I voted for you.  Not because you promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or because you tweeted at me about it, but because our health care system is hopelessly broken and requires an overhaul that does not simply convert ...

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The American health care system is broken, but it is not really “health care” that is the problem.| The science of medicine, the tests, and the treatments available are better than ever. It is health care bureaucracy that is the problem. But doctors, nurses, and patients bear the brunt of the dysfunction. Medical professionals are unable to practice, and patients are denied the care they need, even though it is readily ...

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Jimmy Kimmel recently delivered a 13-minute monologue that transfixed the nation.  He told the story of how his newborn son, Billy, was diagnosed with a potentially fatal cardiac anomaly, tetralogy of Fallot, and had undergone emergency surgery. He painted the picture of a sick child and a terrified family, who have the benefit of excellent care that ends well. He complimented the nurses and physicians who had ...

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Physicians and patients are fighting a growing hypocrisy in American medicine. Examples abound, such as criticism that doctors are overprescribing antibiotics and contributing to resistance, while insurance companies simultaneously incentivize their members to use telemedicine programs or urgent cares instead of visiting their primary care physician. My own insurance company, Cigna, recently sent me a letter notifying me that I will have a reduced co-pay if ...

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For much of the first 100 days of the new Congress and administration, the news has featured health care and the frequently rancorous debate on its future. Will the Affordable Care Act (ACA) be repealed, replaced, revised or remain essentially intact? Will funding be cut or will subsides and cost-sharing reduction payments stay the same in order to encourage insurers to stay on the health care exchanges? At this point, we’re ...

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We’ve taken care of Jane and her son, Sam, for a long time (the names are fictitious, but the rest of the story is true, and the real patient approved this story, in case you were wondering). At first, the focus was Sam, with typical well and sick visits. He was one of the sweetest kids we knew. Sam also had a very significant learning disability. At one point I asked ...

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