As many of you know, much of my focus has been on how we can improve health care information technology, and build on the systems that we currently have to make them more user-friendly and less cumbersome. At the crux of the problem is the issue of the disproportionate amount of time they take to navigate and how they turn the noble and personable art of being a doctor, into ...

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The WHO’s recent announcement of multi-drug resistant strains of gonorrhea raises the specter of a worldwide SuperClap Attack that even the Avengers couldn’t foil. It also comes as yet another ominous reminder of the perils of rampant and indiscriminate antibiotic use. There’s plenty of blame to spread around. True, here in the U.S., consumers can’t buy antibiotics over the counter, but that hasn’t kept physicians and other providers from over-prescribing them ...

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On the afternoon of July 26, I opened an email from Dr. Peter Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital, where I work as a primary care doctor. Dr. Slavin frequently sends messages to all MGH employees, uncontroversial broadsides announcing new hospital initiatives, grant awards, promotions and retirements that often end with: "Go Sox!" (or, depending on the season, "Patriots!" "Celtics!" "Bruins!").

So I was not expecting that ...

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My 74-year old obese, poorly controlled diabetic patient with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea has been difficult to motivate to improve his lifestyle and his health. He is bright, sweet and caring but just not very disciplined. At each office visit, we review his medications, review his dietary habits and go through the check list of check-ups for diabetic complications including regular ophthalmology exams ...

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Several years ago, when I was working as a hospital physician in Florida, a patient’s wife said something that has always stuck with me. The service was very busy on that day, and I was doing my best to get through everybody in a timely manner. I was with a patient whose wife was at the bedside, beside herself with worry. I was focused on the main presenting complaint, but ...

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We are all familiar with the saying: "the last straw." It refers to the fable of the camel who could carry heavy loads. In the story, the camel is a beast of burden. Its owner, in an effort to transport as much straw as possible, keeps piling more and more on the camel’s back. Camels are strong and can handle a lot. But at some point, even the strongest camel will ...

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Dr. Leon Pedell why it's so important for physicians to have relationships with patients' families. Courtesy of Before the Floors.

"OK, one more patient to go," I said to myself with my eyes quickly scanning the patient list in my hands. I was in the elevator, going up the spanking new glass tower in the giant tertiary care hospital I call my workplace. Today was turning out to be a better Monday than usual. I had worked over the weekend, so I knew the patients. And there were no major ...

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I sit in my living room at the end of a long day. I open my laptop to complete the day’s clinic notes. I look up to see my daughter busy painting (she’s two years old, so less than half the paint is going on the coloring book and most is being smeared over her hands and feet). I hear the distant clatter of dishes as my husband loads the ...

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Fireworks, champagne toasts, sparkly hats, and the ball drop are all items that we conger up in our minds as we think of the New Year. For the majority of the world, January 1st represents the transition from one year to another on the calendar. New resolutions are made, and there is a global fresh start. However, for those of us in the medical field, there is another new year ...

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