The electronic medical record that my office uses features a clinical protocol button that we are encouraged to click during patient visits to remind us about potentially indicated preventive services, such as obesity and tobacco counseling and cancer screenings. I once tried it out while seeing a 90-year-old with four chronic health problems. The computer suggested breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer screenings: three totally inappropriate tests for the ...

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What do eggs, roofing nails, men’s haircuts and plastic cups have in common? A bizarre fraternity ritual or my Saturday morning honey-do list?  Gasoline, copying paper and paperclips?  Shopping for a mobile accounting office?  Nope.  What these items share is that who ever makes them, wherever you buy them, they are essentially the same.  They are commodities. They do not vary significantly in construction or quality.  The only way to ...

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Dissent and cynicism: Learning from listening to doctorsDissent and cynicism: Learning from listening to doctors An excerpt from The Doctor Crisis: How Physicians Can, and Must, Lead the Way to Better Health Care I just listened. They were very unhappy and angry. I was elected executive medical director in November 1998 but would not assume the leadership role until January 2000. This was fortunate. I knew that ...

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My morning practice session started out with a few patients arriving early, so I was able to get a jump on the day, and it looked like I was going to actually be running on time. As I was walking from one exam room to the other, my administrator came down the hallway, grabbed my arm and said, "Can I have you for a minute?" It seems that a group of systems ...

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Part of a series. Over the past few months KevinMD.com has posted a series of articles by me on what I call the “crisis in primary care.”  Most recently have been a few posts related to direct primary care. They have generated many comments: some pro and some con. I have greatly appreciated everyone’s interest; it makes it worth the time to write. I am also working on a book on ...

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Cholesterol is bad. Cholesterol is an essential building block for important hormones. Eggs are bad. Eggs are a complete protein food. Salt is bad. Salt is essential for life. High blood pressure kills people. No blood pressure defines death. High blood sugar causes eye and kidney damage. Low blood sugar causes falls, fractures and car wrecks. Low potassium causes heart rhythm problems. High potassium causes heart rhythm problems. Too little vitamin B12 causes nerve damage. Too ...

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"Dr. Sevilla, I have a question for you," a patient asked me this week. "I'm going to tell you something, but I DO NOT want it put in the chart." Hmm, I asked myself, can I really do that? It's the patient's wish, right? The patient went on to tell me that she heard about this week's story about a hospital network being hacked and 4.5 million records being stolen. ...

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In medical school I used to ask myself, “When will I feel like a real doctor?” During intern year, I asked the same question. Now as a new faculty member who has completed medical school, a family medicine residency and a teaching fellowship, I still find myself asking that same question. As primary care doctors, we are trained to churn out differential diagnoses. We must avoid premature closure or incorrectly assuming ...

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It’s been a while since my last rant about electronic health records (EHRs), so let’s remedy that right now. EHRs in their current iteration are -- how to put this delicately? -- an unmitigated disaster. Nevertheless, much of the criticism of EHRs, including mine, has been in the destructive category. What about some constructive criticism? How could EHR software be made better? I am not ...

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The epidemic of physician burnout is heartbreaking Daily, I am contacted by good doctors who are struggling with symptoms of burnout syndrome and who have become overwhelmed by the challenges of attempting to practice medicine in today’s health care environment. As a psychiatrist who runs a program to address and treat these distressed doctors, I am troubled by the ever-growing number of calls I receive. The burned-out physician is ...

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