There was a doctor. The doctor had an office. In the office, he had a practice. The doctor worked hard, was honest, smart and compassionate. He took care of many patients, everyday, and helped many people. The people paid with cents, checks, and chickens. He was solo, alone, by himself. It was good. There was a hospital, near the doctor. It was an important hospital. It took care of many patients, ...

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Being sick and hospitalized in a lonely and unfamiliar place is a terrifying time for our patients. It’s an easy thing for doctors and nurses to forget as we go about our hectic days, when time goes by so quickly that we barely have time to stop and think. Whether you are practicing medicine in a large academic center or a small rural hospital, the feedback that patients give about ...

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Patients want to receive health care that is of the highest quality. Physicians want to provide it. But what is “high-quality health care?” On that, few agree. Ask most Americans and they’re unsure where to find it. They know they want to be kept healthy, have rapid access to personalized care whenever they need it and be charged only what they can afford. Ask the leaders of the national medical and surgical ...

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“Hi, it’s Dr. Smith, are you taking consults today?” the voice on the other side of my short-range hospital phone said.  I recognized the caller's name as one of the new hospital doctors, known as hospitalists. “Of course,” I said, “What have you got?” I guess some groups have a specific doctor for the day “take” the consults.  If I am in the hospital, I am always taking consults. “Great,” the hospitalist ...

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shutterstock_261978071 Dr. Melos is a gastroenterologist in solo practice in a medium-sized Midwestern city.  One day she hears a knock on her door. When she answers, she finds two representatives of Athenian Health System, who request a few minutes of her time.  She invites them to take a seat in her office. After exchanging pleasantries, the visitors get down to business. They extend Dr. Melos an ...

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shutterstock_193958318 Like two ships passing in the night, we sidled up to each other at the nursing station on the hospital telemetry ward.  I had already been home, ate with the kids, and returned, while he hadn't left floors all day.  We typed away at our computer stations, and chatted from time to time. After we exchanged common pleasantries, we jumped into local politics. ...

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“We have an admission.” The dreaded four words for most interns on a day you are swamped with discharges while trying to get your post rounds orders in. “Hypertensive emergency and possible osteomyelitis of the foot,” my senior informed me with a few other details as we made our way to the emergency department. Mr. Rodriguez was a very pleasant middle-aged gentleman, with graying hair and a goatee.  I introduced myself, explained ...

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Eleven billion dollars. Sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? It is. But, I’ll give you even more perspective, Tony Robbins style. Eleven seconds ago you started reading this page. A few blinks of an eye. But, eleven million seconds? That was a few months back. 127 days to be exact. Can you remember what you were doing then? Eleven million seconds have passed since you did it. But, when you jump to billions, you’ll ...

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shutterstock_260657870 What does a millennial physician look like? And, importantly for physicians’ groups, hospitals, and health systems, how do you effectively recruit them to come work for you when they are in such high demand? Much has been written about this generation of overeducated and underemployed young people -- all full of entitlement and purpose -- who have been transforming values and expectations in ...

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shutterstock_153912641 Recently I have been reading articles regarding the patient experience that I find both stimulating as well as challenging. As the chief experience officer at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), you might imagine just how many times these articles are forwarded to my inbox when they are published. In “The Problem with Satisfied Patients” by Alexandra Robbins in April’s edition of The ...

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