I wrote a column recently about the role computers play in the doctor patient relationship, and my concern that screens shift physicians' focus away from their patients. This column is part of a large conversation going on nationally and beyond about what I'd call "distracted doctoring." A Wall Street Journal opinion piece by my colleague Dr. Victoria McEvoy addresses the issue of whether all the digital box checking now required of doctors as ...

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It has been freezing cold in much of the country for the last two months, but things have been heating up in the controversy over the implementation of ICD-10. First, a quick primer for those of you who have not been following this. The “ICD” in ICD-10 stands for International Classification of Diseases. The “10” refers to the version of the taxonomy, which is maintained and revised periodically by the World Health ...

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Next in a series. You the patient are really not the customer of the physician. Since the insurer will determine whether and how much the physician will be paid for attending to your needs, you are largely a bystander in the relationship. The doctor’s customer has become the insurer. Our system of care is definitely not customer-focused. Doctors truly believe that they have the patient’s best interests in mind and they ...

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There’s that line about art, “good artists copy, great artists steal.” There’s some debate about if Picasso said it first, but most of us geeks know it from Steve Jobs. Often, I see things from companies and industries outside of health care  -- processes, products, best practices -- which inspire me. I like these little inspirations because they often aren’t rocket science, but nonetheless fuel some creative thoughts about their applicability ...

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How does a working mom and physician keep practicing medicine when her husband’s career brings her halfway around the globe? For me, it was an adventure. While it can be challenging, I encourage other physicians to experience the world with their families while still practicing medicine. As a 14 year family practitioner from Ohio, I suddenly found myself in Qatar with two young children because of my husband’s job. Qatar is ...

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Daylight saving time is approaching again. At first glance, it might seem enough to just remember to spring forward. But do you realize daylight saving time is one of the grandest social engineering experiments in America? Almost the entire country moves their schedule up one hour. Every meeting, romantic dinner, and heart transplant occurs one hour later. Every business, court appointment and movie showing is one hour later. In virtual lockstep, ...

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As a nation, we are constantly monitoring and appraising the economy and our financial health.  We gather a tremendous amount of information to assess this. The Census Bureau randomly selects 60,000 households each month, unleashing a swarm of 2,000 field representatives to track down the selected participants and assess their employment status. The Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys 500,000 businesses to estimate job creation.  Approximately 5,000 “consumers” are surveyed ...

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Comcast recently announced it is merging with Time Warner, the 2nd largest cable company in the US. Together, this deal nets Comcast an estimated 57% of the cable subscriber marketplace and heralds a new oligarchy in US media and entertainment. It’s big news for Comcast, but  aren’t as excited. Why? Because both Comcast and Time Warner have been consistently rated the worst providers of customer service in the cable industry. Now as they ...

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If you’re a practicing provider, chances are you still feel some anxiety about several issues related to the ICD-10 transition that are critical for maintaining the health of your practice. These probably include reimbursement, documentation workflows, potential audits, and claims denial. As a family medicine provider, what I hope to see develop is the opportunity for providers to encourage payers to be more transparent about topics like the level of coding ...

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There are over 58 million references to "patient engagement" if one conducts a Google search. The term has been diluted and changed in the past couple of years and has become a buzz phrase, used more from a business than clinical benefit perspective. The Center for Advancing Health defines patient engagement as “actions individuals must take to obtain the greatest benefit from the health care services available to them.” This implies ...

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