In these strange days of unsure future health care policies, shrinking budgets, and significant belt-tightening, as we look for ways to improve access for our patients, we need to reevaluate how we to get them into care, making sure we see them in a timely and efficient manner. We have always said that in this topsy-turvy time, in the crazy state of health care, what we really need is more primary ...

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My colleague, Dr. L.T. Kim, was off this week and I covered for him. On Friday afternoon, I dealt with two of his patients and learned — or relearned — two important lessons. I saw a man with thoracolumbar back pain. He had fallen off a ladder a few years earlier and suffered from recurring bouts of back pain — sometimes with tingling in both legs. He had been to the emergency ...

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Knowledge is power. Increasingly, patients are demanding and receiving access to levers in the medical machine that would have been unthinkable a generation ago. The informed consent process, which I support, can overwhelm ordinary patients and families with conflicting and bewildering options. Television and the airwaves routinely advertise prescription drugs directly to the public. Consider the strategy of direct-to-consumer drug marketing when millions of dollars are spent advertising a drug that ...

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U.S. physicians continue to struggle to maintain morale levels, adapt to changing delivery and payment models, and provide patients with reasonable access to care. This finding from our biennial physician survey reverberated amongst the members of the Physicians Foundation. But what amazed us the most were the over 10,000 physicians who took the additional time to provide written comment on the concerns they felt most passionate about. That act ...

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2016 closed around a continued effort to "salvage" the medical profession's reputation, but the notion that it's broken continues to be counterproductive. The brightest students, for example, question the long journey and delayed gratification being a physician entails. They do the math and continue to engage in other professions that are medical but not specifically Medical Doctorate degrees or Doctor of Osteopathic degrees. These same students conclude there is no longer ...

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As I struggle with how best to respond to recent events, one thing has become clear to me: narrative matters. People’s stories matter. Words and how they are presented in written and spoken form matter. I am just a mother, just a doctor, just a writer. My daily life consists of changing diapers, getting my kids to school, managing diabetes in my patients, picking up scattered toys, treating depression, doing ...

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To say that there is no fear in the examining room is an inaccuracy. I'm not only talking patients here. Physicians may harbor just as much worry and discontent. There are the old standbys of course: The swat team of malpractice attorneys lounging in the waiting room ready to pounce or the old demon of misdiagnosis and the consequences that may follow. Few of us talk about that sinking feeling which ...

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When I read a case report in a journal or whenever a patient comes in to see me about a new symptom, all my senses are tuned in, and I know there is a diagnosis to be made. But on regular clinic days with “routine” follow ups, I find myself not being as tuned in as I would like to be. I know my patients well; we are all growing older ...

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I have been a member of a social network for physicians since 2008 or 2009. It’s a network that bills itself as a “virtual doctors’ lounge” and “voice of physicians.”  I joined because I thought it would be a great place to continue to interact with my peers, after I’d left the collegiality of medical school and residency behind for private practice. I’m not sure what subset of physicians participates, but ...

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The benefits of coaching have long been shown in research, yet is widely underused in the physician community.  For decades, executive coaching has been used to in the corporate world for executives, and their teams to increase efficiency and performance. Business and marketing coaching frequently used by small business professionals helps grow and expand their business. Wellness and life coaching is frequently used by individuals to improve balance and well-being. ...

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