I have been doing emergency medicine for almost ten years -- thirteen if residency counts, and I sure think it does.  I face the same issues that cause my work colleagues, physicians and nurses alike, to burnout. I struggle with burnout myself, but I keep coming back.  Many days (and nights), I ask myself why I continue to do what I do.  I work strange hours, weekends, and holidays caring ...

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I consider myself a pretty savvy and resourceful consumer. I know how to solve problems that come up in the day to day situations we all face. I have navigated my way through more than a few complicated and sensitive financial situations. Add to that my ability to be persistent, and you would think that I could figure out a simple denial of an insurance claim with ease, right? In ...

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If I could drop our health insurance altogether, I would. With a high deductible of $4,000 for in-network providers, my family of three has yet to reach our collective deductible over the last three years. This means we have to pay out of pocket for medical care until we reach that amount. To make matters worse, our health insurance premiums increased by 10 percent, forcing us to find a less ...

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Sometime while I was still in high school, my mom began to have trouble breathing. She had never had asthma before; an albuterol inhaler helped for a while. Still, cold season was a nightmare, and later, so was allergy season, and every year seemed to get worse. After college, I moved back in with my parents. She fought her way through the cold season, dutifully driving 20 miles (and later 40, ...

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Recently the Mayo Clinic named a patient as a visiting professor for 2015. The patient, Dave deBronkart (otherwise known as “e-Patient Dave”) was chosen by the internal medicine chief residents to fulfill this unique role, where he would have the opportunity to lead grand rounds, give educational talks to medical students, residents and faculty, and truly emphasize the message of patient engagement and empowerment. So what is an e-Patient? ...

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shutterstock_136759886 As part of the increasing push for health care quality improvement, a lot of energy is being focused on improving our communication with patients and making sure that patient-centered care is more than just a buzz phrase. Gone are the days when the doctor-patient interaction was a wholly paternalistic one, where the doctor’s word was taken as final and absolute, and patients weren’t encouraged ...

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I assumed many things that morning.  For instance, I thought it was likely that Ronald's fatigue was from lung cancer that had metastasized to the liver.  Or that he decided to stay in his room in the nursing facility because the decision to elect hospice had finally taken its toll. I was sure that he was both physically and emotionally spent.  I reasoned that I wouldn't want to get out ...

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My family and close friends have done so much for me since I became chronically ill in 2001, and I’m deeply grateful to them. I’ve written this piece because there are a few important things I want them to know about how I feel. Although this piece is personal in nature, I’ve been hanging out online for over a dozen years with other people who are chronically ill (which includes those ...

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shutterstock_131122526 She is a time traveler. She spends an hour with each patient, takes note of each symptom, listens to each emotional concern, takes every call from every worried patient, handles all emergency situations, fills every prescription, handles each every insurance concern, breaks bad news gently, does her hospital rounds, yet is never late to see those in the waiting room. She treats ...

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It took me until 2010 to buy an iPhone and in just a few years, I’ve become so dependent on it, without fail, I will always make a U-turn to make sure it’s with me -- my smartphone is essentially a new limb for me. I know I’m not alone. Most did not predict the rocket speed adoption and transformative power of modern smartphones when the iPhone launched in 2007. But, in ...

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