If you delve into the personal stories of health IT innovators, most journeys rest on their personal interaction with the health care system on behalf of themselves, a parent, a child, or perhaps a sibling. Just a few weeks ago, I had a small interaction with the health care system that confirmed many of the impressions I have developed of providers' strengths and weaknesses. There's no way to start except with ...

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It's tempting to blame it all on Henry Ford.  I was standing alone at the empty counter, waiting to order in a fast food joint at 9 p.m.  Off to my left, three or four carloads of customers had been served before anyone noticed me and came over to ask what I wanted.  After all, Henry gave us the mass-produced (and therefor affordable) automobile.  I wondered if the day ...

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One of my patients got admitted this past week. As a new attending, this is still an unpleasant experience. Have I failed? Is there more I could have done to prevent this? I have to say that this particular case wasn't shocking. The patient hadn't been doing well lately, and I wasn't surprised when I got the message that they were on the way to the emergency room. Due to our ...

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One of the things that I love about my job as a hospitalist is the ease with which we can develop friendships with colleagues from other disciplines. Since I am an inpatient physician, it’s not surprising that some of my good friends are cardiologists, nurses, endocrinologists, physical therapists and, of course, other hospitalists. In fact, I met my neurosurgeon husband while co-managing his patients at the hospital. While thinking about ...

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He was known to the hospital as someone who would try to manipulate his caregivers. And I fell for it anyway. Frequently admitted for pain crises associated with a chronic illness, he spent most of his hospital course avoiding eye contact with the team. So, too, were avoided answers that involved more than a few words. Providing care for him was business-like; we knew better than to expect pleasantries. The day of ...

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The enormous push continues to reduce readmissions, due in no small part to stiff financial penalties from CMS for the worst performing hospitals. The most commonly cited statistic is that about 1 in 5, or 20 percent, of Medicare patients are readmitted within 30 days. A staggeringly high number when you think about it. Having discharged thousands of patients and seen the characteristics of those patients that are frequently readmitted ...

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Nurses rock! What would doctors do without them? Watch ZDoggMD's ode to nurses.  Enjoy.

What is it worth to be treated in a hospital with a stellar patient safety record rather than one with lower performance? For a large majority of survey participants in a recent study by researchers from the Altarum Institute and Drexel University, the answer is quite a lot. Published online last month in the Journal of Patient Safety, the study found that most respondents would choose a hospital with a ...

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Improving patient engagement is a subject that’s being talked about in hospital boardrooms across the country. It’s become the in-fashion political buzz phrase. Certainly sounds very well and good, but what exactly does it mean? Likely different things to different people depending on what angle they approach it -- all the way from a care assistant up to the hospital CEO. In a nutshell, it’s all about allowing the patient to ...

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My earliest memories of medicine take me back to dinner table conversations with my mother, who is a physician. She would share with us her daily stories, telling us about patients she took care of in her clinics and in the hospital. As an internist, she often found herself traveling between many locations. I grew up knowing this to be medicine. As I have progressed in my career as a ...

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