I have been following the progress of bedside ultrasound (using ultrasound as a diagnostic tool during my physical exam of patients) as it gets a foothold in standard medical practice since I first started learning to do it about 3 years ago. Every so often a study comes out which warms my heart as it proves that less (radiation, expense) is more in treating patients. An article came out in the ...

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The simple truth is that radiology reports can be hard to read, especially for those without a medical background.  The combination of advanced medical technology and the wonderful subtle intricacies of the human body often result in a final document that more closely resembles a William Faulkner novel (translation: difficult to understand!) than Dr. Seuss.  The goal is to try to cull through the cacophony of medical jargon and get ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, September 12, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Price Tag on Old Insulin Skyrockets. Retired nurse Mary Smith was having trouble controlling her type 2 diabetes on her regular insulin regimen, so her doctor decided to put her on something stronger.
  2. Bedside Ultrasound: Sorting Shadows. In medicine, we frequently propagate half-truths and unsubstantiated certainties. Thus, truth is ...

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I opened my obligatory late-afternoon email to find my work schedule for the next morning: three general anesthetics for MRIs. My heart sank. A week before, I had been assigned to the new neurosciences MRI suite for a 6-hour interventional radiology procedure, followed by another intervention in the CT scanner. My first thought: Who is trying to punish me? It's well known in the anesthesiology field that these types of cases ...

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There’s a lot of talk about quality metrics, pay for performance, value-based care and penalties for poor outcomes. In this regard, it’s useful to ask a basic question. What is quality? Or an even simpler question, who is the better physician? Let’s consider two fictional radiologists: Dr. Singh and Dr. Jha. Dr. Singh is a fast reader. Her turnaround time for reports averages 15 minutes. Her reports are brief with a paucity of ...

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In a recent verdict a jury in Massachusetts awarded $16.7 million in damages to the daughter of a Bostonian lady who died from lung cancer at 47, for a missed cancer on a chest x-ray. The verdict reminds one of the words of John Bradford, the heretic, who was burnt at the stakes. “There but for the grace of God go I.” Many radiologists will sympathize with both the patient who ...

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It is so nice to be right. To summarize what I wrote almost 4 years ago, based on my experience, patients and families will accept the theoretical risk of a future cancer if it means they'll get an accurate diagnosis. A recent study validates that opinion. MedPage Today reports that before receiving any recommendation for CT scanning, 742 parents of children who presented with head injuries ...

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Recently, a family physician colleague asked me to explain why the Affordable Care Act requires private health insurers to provide first-dollar coverage for preventive services that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force assigns an "A" or "B" (recommended) rating, but allows public insurers (Medicare and Medicaid) to determine if and how they will cover these services. Until recently, the question hadn't come up, since Medicare has agreed to cover pretty ...

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Why doesnt everyone have a pocket ultrasound machine? For about 2 years now a tiny ultrasound machine has been part of my standard physical exam tools as I take care of patients in the hospital and in the outpatient clinic. In November 2011, I first picked up an ultrasound transducer in a continuing medical education course on bedside ultrasound for emergency physicians. I am an internist, not an emergency physician, ...

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Having worked with radiologists a lot, I have great respect for their specialty. The job is indeed a very difficult one. Without seeing the patient (the most difficult part of what they do), they have to thoroughly comb through every image put in front of their eyes and give us their assessment of what’s abnormal and what’s not. Their interpretation will be one that other doctors will hang their hats ...

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