shutterstock_114332227 I am a foreign born, foreign trained doctor, serving many patients from an ethnic minority, whose native language I never mastered. So, perhaps I am in a position to reflect a little on the modern notion that health care is a standardized service, which can be equally well provided by anyone, from anywhere, with any kind of medical degree and postgraduate training. 1. ...

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Information is everything, communication is the key. Recently, we were contacted by the medical director of a subspecialist fellow's practice at one of our affiliated hospitals. She wanted to discuss ways to improve communication between our practices, and expressed considerable frustration about the information received in consultation requests from the providers in our practice sending patients their way. She noted that they had "read-only" access to our electronic health record (through an information-sharing ...

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Young doctors are often progressive thinkers who like to support small businesses, buy locally grown produce from food shares, shop from individual merchants on Etsy, and never be seen in any chain store larger than Trader Joe’s. It seems every industry is recognizing the benefits of the personal service of a small business. Decades ago, the majority of physicians owned their own small practice, and had patient satisfaction and personal satisfaction ...

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shutterstock_191076491 Traveling to another country can be daunting. So when a friend of mine hosted a Russian college-aged student named Anna for a year so she could take English classes, I agreed to help out if she ever needed to navigate the American medical system. Anna had insurance provided through her program, and she was in good health, so I wasn’t too ...

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Dear HMO, As I prepare to #getcovered or #staycovered, I realize that as a physician, I have an advantage in that I know what specific types of insurance plans would best fit my needs.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Americans.  Most importantly, I know to avoid signing up for certain health maintenance organizations (HMOs).  Although I am a strong believer in the fact that everyone deserves access to ...

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It’s been thirty years since Dr. Pete shook my hand on graduation day and slapped my back, his gravelly voice mumbling a wisecrack that couldn’t quite hide his emotions. I was the first foreign medical school graduate in our small residency program and he had trusted me, just as I had trusted him, through three years of hard work and many challenges. Our residency program was only a few years old, and my ...

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shutterstock_149644169 Everything in health care seems to take a long time. Remember the last time you tried to schedule a routine doctor’s appointment? More than likely, the receptionist told you the doctor couldn’t see you for another week or even another month. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of a loved one being hospitalized on a Friday night for a major (but not life-threatening) problem, ...

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Three days after finishing my residency, I became the medical director of the community health center where I had taken my first job.  It forever changed, and probably saved, my career. The risk of burnout hit me early. While I loved patient care, I also found the stress, the lack of control of my time, and the inefficiencies of my clinic’s system hard to accept and to manage. I knew I ...

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It's a strange thing to be driving about in your car in the middle of the day.  For one who has spent the majority of his professional life sheltered in dark offices and aseptic hospitals, the summer sun and fresh breeze is quite lovely.  One almost begins to approach humanness.  Normal.  This must have been what it felt like before immersion into the tribe of medicine. Sometimes I have trouble remembering ...

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Establishing a digital presence is rapidly becoming a necessity for health care professionals, medical practices, and institutions. Yet something that often gets obscured in the discussion is the fact that at its heart, digital media is about people. As such, it’s about relationships, and it’s about communication, and increasingly, your digital footprint means educating, engaging and growing your audience. When you do this in a way that authentically reflects you and your ...

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