I have a theory. There is a simple thing hospitalists can do that can enhance relationships with our patients, and even, I bet, improve patient satisfaction scores. The catch is it is not something you can do for yourself; you can only “pay it forward” for somebody else. We know patients who trust their physicians are more likely to follow recommendations, and that trust and confidence in physicians probably ...

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“We are playing the same sport, but a different game,” the wise, thoughtful emergency medicine attending physician once told me. “I am playing speed chess – I need to make a move quickly, or I lose – no matter what. My moves have to be right, but they don’t always necessarily need to be the optimal one. I am not always thinking five moves ahead. You guys [in internal medicine] ...

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With the recent election, there has been a new recognition of the various “bubbles” we all seem to be living in. It reminds me of the parable I like to often mention, popularized by the late great writer David Foster Wallace:

Two fish were swimming along when an older fish swam by, nodded his head at them and said, “Mornin’ boys, how’s the water?” The two young fish nod back ...

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“You must respect the body you are trying to heal.” I heard this said twice into my headphones, the second time more slowly and firmly than the first, while I sat on the runway about to take off. It continued to echo in my head over the course of the flight. As a physician, the reference to healing a body has obvious resonance. However, as I embarked on yet another gathering ...

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There is little doubt that over the next few years we will see a wave of increasingly sophisticated point-of-care tools to help clinicians determine the costs and relative value of their medical recommendations. I welcome that day, but I do not intend to idly sit by waiting for it. Not all solutions need to be based on high-level algorithms or slick, user-friendly apps made for iPhones. Last month I came across a ...

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I learned a lot of medicine during residency, but perhaps I actually learned even more about how to just get things done in a hospital. If you wanted a right-upper-quadrant ultrasound done for our patient, I was your man. I had a complicated series of unwritten algorithmic flow diagrams in my head that included handwriting an order, making sure that it was faxed to the right number, calling the appropriate ...

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