Most healthcare professionals do not consider themselves to be in the field of sales.  However, healthcare professionals do sell something so they are in sales! Even if you may not have the titles of “salesman” or “saleswoman,” you are still in sales. Everyone sells something. Kindergarten teachers sell something (i.e., the value of education). What do healthcare professionals sell?  We sell the benefits of treating illness and promoting wellness. During ...

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What Detroits bankruptcy means for patients On July 18th 2013, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy. Early estimates size up Detroit’s as the biggest in history with composite debt figures approaching the ballpark of $20 billion. Through the eyes of a clinician why should we care and what does this mean for our practices. Detroit is dying. While filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy may give the city an extra lifeline, ...

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The Mayo Clinic Proceedings came out with a study that shows that many of the treatments that doctors once swore by are useless or worse. The New York Times did a piece on it and the commentary contained a great deal of doctor-bashing.  So of course I opened my big mouth and pointed this doctor hatred out.  The comment I got back was this:  "It’s not hatred, it’s fear." Wow.  If people ...

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A support group has many potential benefits, some of which include improving coping skills, reducing anxiety, depression, isolation, ignorance about the condition and others.  Online patient communities (OPCs) are a recent phenomenon.  Some are open (with respect to type of member or fee) and some are more focused and closed.  Irrespective of the type, OPCs have blossomed. It is a major indication of social media’s penetration into healthcare (or vice versa) and 
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I’m not a big fan of bargaining and my half-hearted attempts to get a better price for a used car, garage sale find or contractor’s service have been mostly unsuccessful. There’s always that nagging feeling that the seller is laughing with delight once I’m gone, thinking, “I really pulled one over on that rube!” And so it has come as somewhat of a shock to me that medical care has become ...

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What we look for when we participate actively in our health care differs from what our clinicians, employers and health plans believe will result when we shift from being passive to active participants. We don't have the same goals in mind. Does this matter? Ask patients who use the phrases "patient engagement," "patient participation" or "patient empowerment" about their goals and we talk about having some measure of control over our health ...

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The mother, clearly agitated, came to my office holding a bottle of liquid antibiotic prescribed for her daughter’s ear infection. She asked, “How the hell am I supposed to get this into her ear?” She could not read the directions, which said to give the medication by mouth. A survey conducted between 2008 and 2010 by the Adult Literacy Program at Einstein’s Fisher Landau Center for the Treatment of Learning Disabilities found ...

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We entered the hospital with great anticipation. Our baby was overdue and with no signs of delivery, I was admitted and was to be induced the following morning. Three days later our baby would be our greatest blessing on Thanksgiving Day. It wasn’t until weeks later that we found ourselves scratching our heads over costs we incurred bringing our daughter into the world. We were fortunate to have had fantastic health ...

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Who is responsible for mistakes in health care?  Who should take credit for success or blame for failure?   Most families, patients and obviously the courts, hold the doctor responsible.  It seems to me this is reasonable; it is the obligation physicians assume and which society returns with empowerment and respect.  However, is this changing because of the Internet and big data? In 2013, most patients have spent hours on the Internet ...

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Caught in the sandwich generation: An excerpt from Mother Daughter MeCaught in the sandwich generation: An excerpt from Mother Daughter Me In 2009, at age 51, journalist Katie Hafner invited her elderly mother to move from San Diego to San Francisco and live with her and her 16-year-old daughter. Brilliant and funny, Hafner’s mother had also been a divorced alcoholic who lost custody of Hafner and her older sister when they were young ...

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