Like a lot of people, I get pretty numbed to gun violence on television. I stopped watching the local news because all they seem to show is news about shootings. The general public’s perception about gun violence is that it’s always somebody else, that the person who was shot had somehow been involved in crime. The numbness we feel to gun violence often ends for most of us when things ...

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Do you think that physicians’ advice should be based on their patients’ best interests? How about lawyers? Plumbers? Financial brokers? An advisor who has what is termed a fiduciary duty is required to use the best interest standard with his client. For example, an attorney is prohibited from recommending that his client proceed to trial, which would be beneficial financially to the lawyer, if the attorney believes that a settlement serves ...

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Humans are social creatures who naturally evaluate where they stand in relation to those around them. I have no idea how this evaluation process evolved, but at some point we noticed that some cavemen brought more food to the cave than others. The idea was born that some people are better hunters than others. We’ve been trying to decide who is “better” ever since. The origin of the word "test" comes ...

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They say that there may be children, born now, who could live to be 1,000 years old. Can you fathom that? Some humans could continue to live for what would be well more than ten current lifetimes. We aren’t there yet. But this isn’t so far out of the possible. Some medical researchers are already talking about resuscitating those who die up to five hours after death. It involves special ...

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As a primary care provider practicing in the safety net, I work with incredibly diverse patients with chronic illness. My patients have a wide range of beliefs and preferences about how to best manage their health. I believe their varied perspectives, if more widely shared, could meaningfully improve health care. I also do research on health information technology, and in that sphere I have listened to talks and spoken with many ...

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I had two experiences recently that reminded me that many doctors and nurses remain resistant to measuring and improving how patients experience the care we provide. One was a face-to-face discussion with a senior physician. The other was reading an article by a nurse. Both the doctor and the nurse denounced the growing focus on the patient experience by citing the threat to the quality of care, and I believe ...

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shutterstock_132480524 LabCorp, one of the largest outpatient lab providers in the USA, is soon going to let you skip the tedium of a doctor’s visit to get lab work done. Want some tests? Come on down! I’ve got mixed feelings about this. While there are some tests that seem reasonable for people to do on their own -- pregnancy and HIV ...

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Imagine patient-centered care explained as a kind of updated Norman Rockwell painting. What you’d get is a recent PBS documentary, Rx: The Quiet Revolution, which, yes, uses a famous Rockwell image of a kindly family physician (Doctor and Doll) to set the stage for what follows. Putting patient-centeredness into practice The 90-minute film, available for viewing online, features four extraordinary stories of inspiring health care providers working in Maine, Mississippi, ...

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Scalability is the end goal of nearly every tech start-up, systems innovation, and teenager you-tubing their cat -- it’s going viral, business-style. And traditionally, it’s been seen as a marker of relevance and success. Growth is good, right? But in health care systems transformation, do we lose something meaningful when we measure the value of our work by its national impact? Take Iora Health, a new health ...

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One night while on call, I was sitting in a loud downtown restaurant when I received a phone call from the hospital. I didn’t think I would be able to hear the call, and so I scurried around to find a place to speak. The bathroom appeared straight ahead, so I rushed into the first empty stall, locked the door and took the phone call. After wrapping up with the ...

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