I was moved when a family entrusted me to give a eulogy for their beloved. This great privilege highlighted a hallmark of a physician’s service to humanity: “to cure sometimes, alleviate often, but comfort always.” But I was horrified to learn that his death at the hospital may have been the result of a preventable error — one that was withheld from the family. Sadly, that patient ...

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I came across Dr. Kevin Tolliver’s post, "Beware the Limits of Telemedicine," and found it to gloss over the benefits of telemedicine and the opportunities that increasing telemedicine uptake can afford to the patient and provider. With this post, I aim to show that these opportunities for systemic change to the health care delivery model – particularly driven by telemedicine – surpass the listed limitations of telemedicine. The ...

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Patients legally using medical marijuana (cannabis) at home may be stunned if they are admitted to a hospital because many hospitals may prohibit them from using it. In the United States, medical marijuana is legal in 31 states, and research shows that medical marijuana can effectively treat pain — but patients beware. The issue of medical marijuana is a complicated one, and patients may be precluded from ...

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In Dr. Suneel Dhand’s article, “We can do a better job with hospital discharge paperwork,” he advocates for physicians to do a better job at creating discharge instructions that are more appealing and easier for patients to understand. After all, coherent patient instructions are a crucial part in ensuring that patients are able to adhere to our recommendations, including taking appropriate medications, following up on ...

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Imagine being a cancer patient afraid of seeing an oncologist because they would likely need to discuss chemotherapy and all the lifestyle changes that it entails. Imagine being a patient with heart failure afraid of seeing the cardiologist because they may be prescribed a diuretic to remove excess fluid from their body and may need dietary counseling. Imagine being a patient with severe rheumatoid arthritis with excruciating joint pain, who ...

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STAT_Logo My son, Luke, was born 18 months ago with myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida. Luke and our family have faced many challenges: premature birth at 26 weeks due to complications after in utero surgery for spina bifida; a 171-day stay in the neonatal intensive care unit; 10 surgeries since birth; and more. Throughout ...

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At a quality and patient safety meeting recently, one of the departments was presenting their annual report on all they have done, reviewing progress that has been made around several quality and patient safety initiatives. One of their project centered on efforts to decrease an incredibly high no-show rate. Coupled with their desire to avoid overbooking appointments, the problem has compromised patient access, both for their own established patients and for new ...

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The United States spends more on health care per capita than any other country in the world — yet health outcomes continue to fall short. In order to close the spending gap with other countries, United States health care policy must focus on reducing costs. While a variety of suggestions have been put forth by economists and medical professionals on how to cut spending and improve health, one Read more...

Well, they are calling it the golden age of rectums! The trends are simple and straightforward. First, Baby Boomers and beyond are aging and staying alive longer. The gut, a hidden culprit behind many ailments, requires continuous maintenance. Colonoscopies, EGDs and ERCPs. These require services of gastroenterologists (GIs) who are always in short supply (14,000 in the U.S.).4 Second, gastroenterology practices are fragmented like hotels were before the Hilton. Regulatory, technological and ...

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Most urology practices in the United States do not employ male nurses or assistants, even in larger cities. This is a serious problem because approximately 75 percent of urology patients are male. Often people wrongly assume that men don't care about their modesty. In many cases, this is simply not true. Societal norms say men are not supposed to be modest that this is a sign of weakness. From childhood, males ...

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The stethoscope. Nothings says “I’m a doctor” more than the stethoscope in a pocket or draped around the neck. Forty-five years ago when I got my first one, a gift from my physician-father, the former was more common. Then we were more likely to wear coats — white coats or suit coats — and pockets were available. I had suit coats in which the lining was worn out from the ...

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I am writing this from the perspective of a woman physician in academic medicine. I am a mid-career cardiac anesthesiologist who works in several national organizations and serve on various committees and boards. I have learned a lot from serving in national medical societies, made great friends this way, and been able to feel a sense of accomplishment in being a part of change within my specialty. That is why I ...

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We all know that there’s a remarkable shortage of physicians in America and that it’s growing worse.  This is especially true in primary care but it’s present across all specialties.  This shortage alone is a significant stress on practicing physicians.  But when it is coupled with corporatization, the increasing complexity of medical care, unrelenting electronic charting requirements and the explosion of administrative tasks, physicians barely keep up each day. This is one of the ...

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If you can’t beat ’em, join them (and make it better).  Am I right?  This was some of the sentiment I felt as I registered with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) to take the Series 65 exam.  Passing this exam will allow me to register in my state as an Independent Advisory Representative (IAR) and function as a financial advisor.   This begs the question: Why should I become a financial ...

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College students work hard, and many are looking for ways to improve their studying and learn more effectively. Getting more sleep and more exercise would probably help, but up to a third are trying ADHD medications to see if pills can give them that extra boost. A small, recent study shows that they’re not getting the effect they’re looking for. We’re not talking, here, about teens who have ADHD. There’s ...

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The New York University School of Medicine stunned the nation by announcing tuition for all current and future medical students will be free, irrespective of merit or financial need. Dr. Robert Grossman, dean at NYU, commented: “This decision recognizes a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians.” NYU says their scholarship -- which begins in the ...

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Several years ago, a group of us concerned about health care costs and outcomes met with some local HR benefit managers. One was the head HR person of a city. In part of the conversation, she raved about a local chain of urgent care centers. She loved the fact that she could go to one after work to get her steroid shot for her colds. I had enough experience dealing ...

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It’s Sunday, and the clock is approaching 8 p.m. Every computer in our team room is still on, and the sound of typing is filling the small space. A spread of snacks, interspersed between stethoscopes and stacks of faxed records, is ignored for the time being. This scene was a familiar one on inpatient medicine, where call days can stretch long into the evening. Although those days were challenging and draining, ...

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I like work.  I really do.  Although I have been talking up my half retirement, there is a reason I am not going the full monty.  I derive pleasure from being a physician.  The ability to reach out and help other human beings, and get paid for it is amazing.  Not only the work itself, but the human interaction is also quite gratifying.  I look forward ...

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The grass is always greener on the other side.  Humans are like that. For reasons that we can never consistently define, any situation other than the one that we are in has potential to be better.  I guess we just like to compare ourselves to others and assume that there is a better life over the horizon.  That doctors wish to get themselves in a better situation is nothing new. ...

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