"Sorry Dr. Pelzman, just one exam room today." This is how our medical technician greeted me as I arrived for my Wednesday morning practice session earlier this week, with a full panel of patients on the schedule set to see me over the next few hours. Most of them were my own patients, well known to me, but a few were new patients who had been referred by colleagues in our institution, ...

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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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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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Nearly a quarter of a century ago (good heavens, I can hardly believe I have to say that!), when I was just starting out as a junior faculty attending, I remember one of my mentors taking me to the hospital with him on morning rounds to see all of his patients who were admitted to the hospital. He was an eminent cardiologist, incredibly gifted and well-respected, and we walked the wards ...

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Sometimes things go just the way you want them to, and sometimes they don't. Compare and contrast the case of two different patients, and how things went trying to get them the care they needed. The first patient, let's call him Mr. Smith, called up one day last week with a brand-new symptom, which after a phone call was ultimately determined to be disturbing enough that he was offered a same-day appointment. After ...

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Earlier this week, I was pleased to learn that my practice had achieved a statistically significant increase in box clicking. In reviewing data from our accountable care organization, graphs were shown to us demonstrating improved compliance with several of the measures that they've instituted institution-wide for the purpose of reporting back to Medicare on how well we are taking care of our patients. One of these measures is the ever popular "falls ...

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So many moving parts. Just last week, a patient I've cared for over 20 years came to see me, and she was despondent over a number of issues. First and foremost was that her partner of over 60 years has had progressive dementia, and finally things got so bad that he had to be transferred to a long-term care facility, no longer safely able to be cared for at home despite all ...

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This was the end-of-the-hallway conversation with an elderly patient after wrapping up a recent office visit, as we walked away from the exam room toward the front desk to schedule her follow-up appointment, and she realized that we were "celebrating" 20 years together. I met her when she was admitted as an inpatient when I was on service as a junior attending just starting out, and after going home she came ...

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It's that time of year again. The start of a new academic year, marked by the arrival of a brand-new class of interns starting out in their training. Clutching their freshly-minted medical degrees, they appear so ready, so anxious, so excited, so eager to learn. Now it's our job to make sure they stay this way. (Have I written this column before? Every year ...) We need to make sure we have a world where ...

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As we all know, the time around discharge from the hospital is a tricky one. In more ways than one can imagine, patients are in a delicate state, judged by those caring for them to no longer be sick enough to need to remain in the hospital, but possibly not quite completely ready to be fully back in the community, on their own at home. Over the past few years, there have ...

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