The phones, the phones, the phones. Every time we look, everywhere we look, getting the phone answered seems to be a problem we just can't lick, a continual thorn in the side of our practice, something that's hindering all the other efforts we try to make things better, to get ourselves to the best care environment for our patients, our staff, and our providers.

Without ...

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  Think about it; athletes aren’t the ones who document their performance. It’s other people that keep the score. That’s a whole science in itself. People talk for hours after the game or tournament is over about how each athlete did this or that in whatever way they did it, and the numbers are in many cases captured by extremely sophisticated electronic equipment. Physicians work hard to diagnose and treat their patients, ...

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Once upon a long 18 years ago, I got sick. I was sick from a growth in my brain. The growth was found after I'd shuttled from doctor to doctor, from appointment to appointment, from X-ray to scan. It took a year. By then, my pain was clothed in shame. Undiagnosed pain does that: It draws the gaze of friends, family and providers. Everyone looks for the cause. "Soul pain," said one doctor. ...

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It will start as a minor curiosity. Maybe a student will seem slightly too close to the resident on your team. When the grades are posted, you'll wonder why you didn't get honors, but he did. You might wallow for a few days. Make an offhanded comment to your fellow students. Then you'll let it go and move on. Or so you think. Until during surgery when the scrub nurse ...

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The young woman sat in the corner of my exam room, facing away from me as I asked her questions. Her answers were short. "I’m from El Salvador." Why did she come? "Because of the violence." Her voice was flat. Her hands trembled. I knew she had suffered terribly and I needed to ask her how. Slowly, quietly, she recounted the gang violence she had fled in El Salvador. The assault ...

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When I was growing up, RuPaul was all I knew of transgender anything.  She was tall, flamboyant, charming, and I would look at her and try to see the man underneath the drag.  I didn’t know the definitions of drag and trans, gender identity and intersex, ambiguous genitalia and gonadal dysgenesis. Now that I’m a physician, I see transgendered patients on a regular basis -- unfortunately, it’s usually in the setting ...

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Despite above average intelligence and work ethic, the average physician is an absolute imbecile when it comes to the topics of personal finance, investing, and business. The lack of expertise on these critical life topics is having a dramatic effect not only on the financial lives of physicians but also their rates of burnout and thus their patient care. In past decades, by virtue of their above average income, a ...

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I’ve had many opportunities to address physicians across the spectrum of health care settings, from those who run private practices, to those who work in large and small groups, to those who are hospital affiliated and employed. I often ask them the question “who controls the practice of medicine?” The answers I receive vary: government, insurance companies, hospitals, health systems, lawyers, employers and, rarely, patients. But one answer I never ...

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“I am not on call,” Dr. Brian Stoltz said over a lot of background noise through what must have been the speakerphone in his car. “I know,” I said. “Cityside ER said there is nobody on call for ophthalmology this weekend. I have a 54-year-old woman with intense tearing, discomfort and only 20/70 vision in her right eye.” “And she’s not a patient of our office?” “No, she has only had to see ...

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“Do you know the visa process in the U.K.?” Yousef asks me nervously in the physician work room at our hospital in Florida. “I’ve spent the last two weeks looking up the different countries where I might be able to work — Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.” Yousef goes on to list the various visa and medical licensing procedures in each country and has clearly done his research. As ...

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