Although filled to the brim with patients, hospitals were created to support doctors, not us patients. Historically, their organizational structure focused on doctors’ needs and doctors’ requirements. The concept of centering hospital care on patient needs and requirements is a relatively recent development. How can a hospital switch from being provider-centered to patient-centered? Shifting such a complicated and cumbersome behemoth a full 180 degrees is a huge undertaking. I believe it ...

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Until recently, I had but the vaguest idea of what hospice and palliative care and medicine (hpm) entailed. Until tuning into the #hpm Twitter group  – hospice and palliative medicine – both words conjured a gloomy atmosphere of despair, grief, anger, pain en route to dying. I wondered at those working in the field: they must be a bit weird. I now know differently, ...

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One of my favorite conferences is The Conference on Practice Improvement hosted by the  Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). For all the upset and negativity there seems to be toward doctors, these family docs are in it -- each and every one that I’ve met -- for the good of their patients.  And that is why I think every one of them ...

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When is an ice cream label a health literacy tool? When Dr. Barry Weiss decided to use an ice cream label as a tool to asses whether we (patients) are able to understand medical instructions. Funded by Pfizer-backed Clear Health Communication initiative, Weiss’s research resulted in the creation of “The Newest Vital Sign.” A health literacy assessment tool, with findings published in the Annals of Family Medicine. However, the document, Why does ...

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February 2010 was a fortuitous month for me. My website went live, and I met Ed Bennett. Ed is director of web strategy at the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). Lucky for UMMS.  In his more than 15 years working on the internet, Ed’s been programmer, designer, consultant, information architect, start-up participant. Since 1999, Ed has led the UMMS web strategy building out large (50,000 page) content-rich websites ...

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“Science tells us nothing about the individual.” So said Dr. Susan Pinker, psychologist and author. This perfectly articulated truth puts into perspective popular thinking: To make a decision, the most important thing is evidence-based information: all you need is science. To this I say, that’s a bunch of hooey. Science tells us nothing about the individual. Thank you Dr. Pinker. Creating the expectation that health decisions are entirely based on evidence-based information ...

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I was in a room full of Family Doctors – who call themselves everything but Family Docs: Family Physicians (FPs) Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) General Practitioners (GPs). It was the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Spring Conference, at a session entitled: "Language Matters: Women-centered talk during pelvic exams." Two men amongst 20 women, all interested in learning more about being Politically Correct (PC) whilst conducting a pelvic exam. Session leaders Drs ...

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