I think it’s fair to say a small part of all of us died along with Grace McDermott. Grace was a beautiful, talented PhD student studying in Ireland who tragically passed away in a house fire this past week. She was many things -- musician, blogger, extrovert, women’s rights activist -- but she was also my first girlfriend. I’m still in shock. It’s hard to comprehend something like this. The mind shudders and reels, seeking ...

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I am devoted to my fitness tracker, having used it for several years to remind me to be active, monitor my diet and improve my sleep. Now The New York Times tells me it doesn’t make a difference, at least when it comes to the weight loss part of the program. And I might agree if only the evidence they relied on told the whole ...

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An open letter to the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM): I recently chose to sit for my sixth (and I hope final) family practice maintenance of certification (MOC) examination, having now practiced as a board certified family physician for the past 34 years and intending to work a few more years. I want to share my experience taking this examination your organization prepares, promotes and uses at a high cost ...

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Maintenance of certification (MOC) for something as significant as the practice of medicine seems like a harmless enough idea. But for physicians across the country who dedicate thousands of hours to study, earn licensure, achieve board certification, and practice medicine, MOC is not only unnecessary but also a resource-consuming mandate that does nothing to improve patient outcomes and quality of care. According to the American Board of Medical Specialty’s (ABMS’) own ...

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As the world digested the events that unfolded aboard United Airlines Flight 3411 at Chicago O’Hare, and watched the horrific video of Dr. David Dao being forcibly dragged off the plane that was supposed to be taking him home, social media was red with rage at United Airlines. People vowed never to fly with them, customers ripped up their loyalty cards, and United’s stock fell over a billion dollars in ...

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Doctors and nurses like facts. After all, we're evidence-based thinkers — rational scientists. Yet, we can be surprisingly superstitious. Many of us believe in a thing called "call karma," which is when certain doctors attract sick patients while working on call (these people are said to have bad call karma). Other doctors attract less sick patients, meaning they have good call karma. As a medical student, I quickly learned that I fell ...

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Throughout my premed and medical training, I've been deluged with a steady stream of negative thoughts regarding medicine as a career from outspoken, burnt-out physicians. To this day, nine years since I've finished my residency in family medicine, I remain passionately opposed to this sentiment. I've seen statistics and mathematical calculations painting a dark picture of the financial, personal and professional world of today's physician, overwhelmed with debt, administrative nightmares, ...

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It is not something that is taught enough in medical school, but practicing physicians quickly realize that in this business: Communication is everything. The reality of health care is that you can be the worst physician in the world clinically (not that it’s something desirable to be), display great interpersonal skills, communicating well with your patients -- and they will do absolutely anything you say and put you up on ...

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My old strategy for getting insurance approvals for imaging tests doesn’t seem to be working anymore. I used to put my thinking in my office notes so that a reviewer at one of the imaging management companies would clearly see my rationale for ordering that CT scan or MRI my patient needed. Now I am getting more and more requests to initiate a “peer-to-peer” call instead. My heart sinks every time; each ...

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In medicine, we speak of “seeing patients” when we are rounding in the hospital or caring for those who come to our clinics. But what about those people who may be sick but do not seek care? What is our responsibility to the patients we do not see? The Conversation This question takes on greater urgency in the current political climate, as patients face the threat ...

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