There are a lot of frustrated and unhappy people out there when it comes to their perception of health care today. The contemporary practice of medicine is changing, rapidly, and those changes have been a challenge for patients and  physicians alike. The list of reasons for this is lengthy. Certainly physicians and hospitals are finding it difficult at times to meet all the changes and demands put on them, by ...

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Referring physicians are critically important not just for the care and attention we provide patients but also for the referrals we make to specialists. Patients don’t have access to the same data or knowledge that we as healthcare professionals possess, so as referring physicians we can have a significant impact on our patients’ health after they’ve left our immediate care. Big data has given us more information than ever in making ...

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Tournament time! The time of year that brings friends, family, and colleagues together to cheer and commiserate over brackets and games. When it comes to the final two weekends, it is often the same teams year after year. What can the coaches of great teams teach us about doctoring? Preparation and fundamentals (John Wooden, UCLA) The first thing coach John Wooden taught his players was how to put on their shoes and socks. ...

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“Samantha is your next patient,” my medical assistant informs me in my primary care clinic.  Samantha is a Caucasian woman in her late 40s, and I typically find her in the room with well-groomed blond hair and a cheerful outfit, such as a pink blouse, a flowery skirt, and golden sandals. She has been my patient for over a year, and I know that her life is anything but cheerful. ...

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Wheel-of-Fortune-and-Jeopardy-Moving-to-THQ-2 The last few days have been really busy, but they still felt controlled, almost leisurely and smooth. Patients have been seen on time, my office notes have been completed in real-time, and my superbills have been submitted before each patient reached the check-out station. Things were really humming. The new nurse noticed that I was humming each time I dashed back to ...

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I used to think that there was a communication gulf between doctors and patients.  Somewhere in the hubbub of the harried office visit some secret sauce was missing.  A divide that was so fundamental that both parties often left the room feeling disjointed and uneasy.  Patients wondered if doctors truly heard them.  Physicians wondered if anyone was listening to what they were saying.  The tension ebbed and flowed but never ...

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Like most of my age cohort, I was brought up to believe that the great Satan threatening to undermine the bloated American health care system was our broken-down, antiquated, self-interested model of reimbursement for care provided called "fee-for-service."  Being a professional who, to the best of my ability, tries to maximize the value of the care I provide to my patients, I subscribed wholly to the notion that the cause ...

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Recently, I had the opportunity to sit at the table with some of the nation’s top thought leaders. We convened at the Newseum in Washington, DC, for the Healthcare Leadership Council’s National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation; it was like a health policy nerd red carpet. Center for Medicare Director Sean Cavanaugh was there. Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder was there. America’s favorite bioethicist–oncologist–provocateur Zeke Emanuel was there. The chief executives ...

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Experiment 1. Stop five random people on your way to work and ask them to name the top public advocates of health and wellness that come to mind. Do I dare speculate that more than a few would mention Dr. Oz. Or Jenny McCarthy? Experiment 2. Stop five medical colleagues and ask them to list their top physician writers and journalists. Do I dare speculate that more than a few would only have ...

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March30-copy-640x480 I’m in a room full of doctors at my mom’s 50th medical school reunion when I announce, “It’s almost March 30th!” I pause. “Doesn’t anyone know what March 30th is?” Nobody has a clue. March 30th is National Doctors’ Day! Who knew? I never heard of it -- until a friend told me last week. Veterans know about Veterans Day. Mothers know about ...

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