It is common practice in health care today for physicians to read articles published in leading journals within their fields and extract what they think is important for their patients. Though in most cases it is to the patient’s benefit that their physician stays up to date with the latest scientific advances, it is nonetheless important that doctors pay particular attention to research methodology and how generalizable these studies are ...

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Over the past year, I have been faced with the challenges of being a consumer of the health system that I confront daily from the physician perspective. My health needs ranged from a stubborn sinus infection to a terrifying brush with Guillain–Barré syndrome. I sampled experiences ranging from the clinic to the urgent care and then the emergency department and even dappled in the forbidden territory of self-diagnosis. All experiences rendered ...

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I was working at the free clinic late in the first semester of my third year of medical school when I met a patient I will call Mary, the last patient to be seen for the evening. Mary had a fairly typical story among uninsured individuals. She was 26 years old and worked three jobs near minimum wage to make ends meet, none of which offered cost-sharing for health insurance. ...

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I quickly finished my day’s work in the resident’s clinic (documentations, relaying results) and raced home to hurriedly double check the list of things that I would need for my week long medical mission in Roatán, Honduras. The air was frigid, and my pace matched the wind. In the 2-hour car ride to the airport, my mind was alive and restless; making mental note after mental note about our endeavor but ...

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ZDoggMD's ode to those who work in the outpatient clinic.  Medical assistants, billing specialists, nurse practitioners, front office staff, physician assistants, pharmacists, nurses, CNAs, phlebotomists, health coaches, techs, MDs, DOs, veterinarians. Health care wouldn't survive without you.

Sometimes prospective new patients ask me over the phone, “Are you a medical provider?” or “Are you a provider for [name of their particular health insurer]?” And that gets me started. Provider. Such a generic and seemingly inoffensive noun, and yet it repels me. To me, it is the verbal equivalent of a hair ball my cat barfs onto my pillow. And so I feel obliged to clean it up by ...

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Becoming a physician requires a great amount of financial patience. Living on the meager remains of your student loans for four years and then transitioning into a position where the pay is not commensurate with your debt obligations can be challenging. Especially when your student loan debt is growing exponentially throughout your schooling and then growing with interest throughout your graduate training. After this kind of sacrifice, it can be ...

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“Beep,” went the machine. I left a message and hung up. My patient, Mr. G, had just been denied a medicine by his health insurer. It’s the same medication for the same condition that he had been taking last year. I was leaving a message on his behalf. You can be assured that if you hand an insurance card to the front desk employee at your doctor’s office, your doctor deals with health insurers ...

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I recently spent a week with the Floating Doctors in Bocas del Toro providing medical care to the Ngabe people in western Panama. In the jungle, there is little concern about prior authorizations or deductibles. There is also a critical lack of access to services that we have available in the U.S. The Ngabe people do not own much. In fact, some kids do not even have names. In the Ngabe ...

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Most people know from experience or through intuition that there is a right time and a right way to ask important or sensitive questions. You don’t usually just blurt out requests for raises or marriage proposals, for example. In many areas of life, knowing when and how to ask difficult questions is viewed as an extremely valuable skill, for example in criminal investigations and in journalism. In some cases, this kind of ...

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