I've written recently that "I'm sorry" are the hardest words for doctors to say. Good piece in The New York Times, observing that the health care industry, in general, has a hard time apologizing. In many cases, hospitals and drug companies simply state they "regret" the situation. Is there a difference? Of course there is: "The difference between apologizing and simply offering a 'regret' may seem semantic. Yet ...

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Originally published in HCPLive.com by Ed Rabinowitz There’s a great scene in the movie The Big Chill where the main characters are having a discussion on the topic of rationalizations. One individual comments that he doesn’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. That may be true. But when a rationalization involves taking things from the office or workplace, and that office just happens to ...

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Johns Hopkins Hospital is consistently named one of the best in the country. I can't disagree with that; after all, I just started working there as an internist in September. Coincidentally, in the midst of the raging debate around health care reform, the past few months have seen increasing discussion of a small but crucial question: why do some of the best hospitals spend more money than others? If other ...

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Just like movies, restaurants, and hotels, doctors are being rated on the Internet. Several websites give patients the ability to post what they think of their physicians. But how useful are these sites? Patient reviews can be manipulated. It's easy for a doctor or his staff to counter negative reviews by posting numerous positive ones. And how can one be sure that the reviewer is even actually a ...

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Originally posted in HCPLive.com by Jeff Brown, MD When I am in a civilian situation and someone asks me what I do, if I am feeling whimsical, I sometimes answer "I'm in sales." Think about it - almost all of our professional interchanges can be seen as: 1) trying to talk someone out of doing something, like smoking, or 2) trying to talk someone into something, like exercising. Using a broader brush, you ...

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General medicine is not sexy. Less than a fourth of the doctors in the United States are currently primary care providers like Pediatricians, Ob/Gyns, and Internists. According to a recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, only 2% of medical students intend on pursuing a career in general internal medicine. So when health-care reform becomes a reality, and the 46 million uninsured men, women, and children ...

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A jury is about to decide how far hospitals have to go to protect themselves against natural disasters. It all starts in New Orleans, during the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Hospital generators were not protected against floods, and predictably, that contributed to the loss of power during the category 5 hurricane. If all hospitals were to protect their generators appropriately, it's estimated that it would cost millions to do ...

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Originally published in Insidermedicine Infections with a type of bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus, or S. aureus, can be diminished by identifying and treating those who carry it in their nasal passages, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. id="play_continuous_flvs" classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="385" height="239" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0">
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Originally published in MedPage Today by Crystal Phend, MedPage Today Senior Staff Writer Telling people about the benefits of quitting is more likely to help smokers break the habit than scaring them with the dangers of continuing, researchers found. Callers to a tobacco quitline were nearly twice as likely to stop in the short term when they got positive messages rather than ...

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There are no winners in medical malpractice cases. Patients, of course, suffer the most. But doctors aren't spared either. It's been written previously that doctors suffer significant emotional turmoil after being sued, and in fact, a good percentage even contemplate suicide. In a recent New York Times essay, physician Joan Savitsky talks about her own ordeal. She discusses how being sued affected not only her, but other ...

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