Physician

Why it’s important to brand your medical practice

Originally published in HCPLive.com

by Jeff Brown, MD

You might be thinking, “Why should I consider branding or marketing?” And your reasoning might go something like this:

1. As a doctor, I already have a powerful, built-in identity;
2. My practice is full;
3. Even if my practice isn’t full, Congress is in the process of putting 40 million more insured people into the available patient pool over the next few years.

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Intensive care unit (ICU) infections can lengthen hospital stays

Originally published in Insidermedicine

More than half of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide are suffering from infections, which lengthen their hospital stays and increase their mortality rate, according to research published in the December 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Baby boomers don’t receive enough preventive health

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Kristina Fiore, MedPage Today Staff Writer

Only a quarter of baby boomers take advantage of preventive services such as flu vaccines and cancer screenings, a new report from the government and two powerful interest groups says.

At the same time, states are falling behind goals to increase certain screenings and reduce unhealthy behaviors, according to the …

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The hard to reach on-call doctor, and how that affects patient care

Originally posted in HCPLive.com

by Lisa Schulmeister, RN, MN

It’s well known that many physicians are “on call” after hours and on weekends and holidays.

“Call schedules” are commonplace in healthcare facilities and answering services. In an interesting study conducted at two Canadian hospitals over a two month period of time, Dr. Brian Wong found that 14% of all pages were sent to …

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Op-ed: Humor can be healing for both doctors and patients

A version of this op-ed, co-written with Doug Farrago, was published on October 26th, 2009 in Medscape.

It’s tough to be a doctor these days. Whether it’s listening to the difficulties of our medical colleagues as they try to best care for their patients, or engaging other health professionals about the uncertainties surrounding health reform, we’ve noticed a tense, sometimes gloomy, atmosphere among physicians.

A recent survey from the Annals of Internal …

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Primary care disrespect starts early in medical school

In medical schools, primary care continues to be among the least respected fields a student can choose.

No where is that more starkly illustrated than in Pauline Chen’s recent New York Times piece, where she tells a story of a bright medical student who had the audacity to choose primary care as a career:

Kerry wanted to become a primary care physician.

Some of my classmates were incredulous. In their minds, primary …

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A lack of computer skills will make a doctor unemployable

How important is it for doctors to have computer skills?

It’s imperative.

Emergency physician Shadowfax is recruiting doctors for his hospital, and balances the typical choices one must make balancing clinical knowledge versus interpersonal skills.

One deal breaker, he notes, is the lack of computer skills:

Unfortunately, in this modern age, if an employee can’t use a computer effectively, they are a liability. Our group performs most of its essential communications …

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Do patient demands drive up health care costs?

According to recent data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, upwards of 60 percent of patients first consult the internet for their health issues.

This is leading to more educated patients, taking an increasing role in their own health care. And that’s a good thing. I’d rather be seeing patients who are interested in staying healthy and conscientious about their conditions.

But it’s unfortunate that the incentives within …

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Op-ed: Injured patients deserve medical malpractice reform

A version of this op-ed was published on October 26th, 2009 in the USA Today.

President Obama has acknowledged that changes in the medical malpractice system must be considered with other health reforms, and recently ordered that pilot projects to improve the way we compensate injured patients be implemented.

Reforming medical liability has historically been a source of major contention. Physicians argue that the system is expensive, promotes multi-million dollar awards …

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Does the tort-based medical malpractice system improve patient care?

by Michael Kirsch, MD

Physicians and plaintiff attorneys have philosophically divergent views on our tort system. I know the attorneys’ views on this issue well. There are lawyers in my family who have prosecuted physicians for alleged medical malpractice. Sometimes, there hasn’t been enough antacids in our house to douse my flaming heartburn after some of our discussions.

Obviously, one reason that lawyers support the current system is because it enriches them. …

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Who’s most likely to spread infection in the hospital?

Originally published in MedPage Today

by Michael Smith, MedPage Today North American Correspondent

Good hand hygiene among healthcare workers is an important factor in preventing the spread of disease, but exactly how important depends on an individual’s job, researchers said.

In a mathematical model, so-called “peripatetic” workers — such as therapists or radiologists — were most likely to spread pathogens if they …

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ACP: How to fix the primary care problem in health care

The following is part of a series of original guest columns by the American College of Physicians.

by Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP

Many would argue that lack of universal coverage is the primary problem with health care in the United States, accompanied by the logistical and financial difficulties of obtaining coverage for someone with a pre-existing medical condition. Others would argue …

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An obsession with making money can be a sign of physician burnout

Originally published in HCPLive.com

by Jeff Brown, MD

Physician burnout has a tremendous effect on the financial bottom line and is far more common than docs want to talk about.

When I say the bottom line, I am referencing studies that have been done on “workaholics,” another softly defined term, that show in spite of increased hours and apparently focused activity, productivity in …

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Medscape op-ed on how to help today’s tense, frustrated doctors

My latest opinion piece, co-written with Placebo Journal’s Doug Farrago, was published in Medscape today.

medscape logo Entitled, Help for Today’s Tense, Frustrated Doctors (registration required), we discuss how doctors benefit from finding a ray of humor, despite the glum practice environment many physicians find themselves in:

Patients also can benefit from some levity during their doctor’s visit. We’ve heard from many …

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Incentives promote unnecessary, excessive tests in the ER

A professor of medicine visits the emergency department with a seemingly routine case of shingles, and gets the million dollar workup.

Writing in the Washington Post, Jack Coulehan describes how he was subjected to neurology and ophthalmology consults, several MRIs, and a CT scan. All for shingles, a disease that is diagnosed clinically, and treated with an anti-viral medication, pain relievers, and in some cases, steroids.

Soured from the experience, …

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