Recently the Apple Watch’s latest feature went live – an electrocardiogram (ECG) app that monitors irregular heart rhythms. The internet is overflowing with reports from people didn’t know they had irregular heartbeats until they took their data to their doctors and received diagnoses of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a common cause of stroke. As neurologists who treat stroke patients, we welcome technology that enables patients to receive faster diagnoses and better treatment. ...

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Over the course of several years, IBM’s fledgling Watson for Oncology program has received a wide range of reviews. Among them is a harsh critique published by Gizmodo.  The article is filed under the keywords “AI,” “Watson,” “health,” “health care,” and “Doctor: This product is a piece of shit.” The last keyword is courtesy of a provider in Florida commenting on a highly publicized medication error. While the ...

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I had the opportunity to participate in a day-long meeting sponsored by the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS). The goal was to help HRS develop recommendations for physicians and industry on providing patients access to information generated by wearable and implantable cardiac electronic devices.  The organizers invited me to provide the viewpoint of an educated patient. I can’t say how HRS will ultimately craft the guidance (and I am not involved ...

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I had a great case the other night. Around midnight on a Friday, the hospitalist physician called me to evaluate an incarcerated femoral hernia. I thought this elderly and medically ill patient would likely die no matter what I did. I spent a grim half-hour at bedside explaining the dilemma to the patient and her family. She needed surgery, but surgery would probably kill her. The patient chose surgery. And she ...

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What do our patients really want from us? When a patient calls up to schedule an appointment, or sends us a message through the patient portal, or calls our front desk staff to leave a message, what is it that they're looking for? I think, more than anything else, our patients are looking to us as health care providers to be able to be there for them, to address their health needs ...

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Burnout and dealing with its symptoms has become a hot topic in the last decade. It’s a problem that has multiple contributing factors. Some of those factors are thrust upon us and are beyond our control, such as government regulations. Other factors are self-imposed, and thus under our control, such as volunteering for extra call shifts. One self-imposed factor is a little thing we use to improve our lives, our ...

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Among the many recurring topics, this year has been the impact of machine learning in our lives, especially the implications for our future work life. Prophecies range from ubiquitous utopian machine servants to a dystopian ravaging, hollowing out the work and economic standing of the middle and lower classes. “What can machine learning do? Workforce implications” by Erik Brynjolfsson and Tom Mitchell in Science provides some perspective on machine learning ...

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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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Recently, several high-profile institutions have called attention to the issue of inclusion and equity when artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms are applied in medicine. Leaders from the law, medicine, social sciences and computer sciences are speaking out about the challenges of using smart algorithms to solve social problems. While this topic might easily be dismissed as anti-progress by the tech community, it ...

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The Kaiser Health News article, "Spurred By Convenience, Millennials Often Spurn The ‘Family Doctor’ Model," caught my eye. Millennial patients want “convenience, fast service, connectivity, and price transparency” while doctors and health experts worry about “fragmented or unnecessary care, including the misuse of antibiotics” and loss of  “care that is coordinated and longitudinal.” It’s as if the needs of the patients and the concerns of doctors are ...

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