When I meet patients in the office, our conversations do not focus exclusively on the medical issue at hand. Of course, if you come to see me with a stomach ache, at some point, I will direct the dialogue toward your abdomen. Often, our conversations are far removed from livers and pancreases, and deal with more personal vignettes and anecdotes. Why does this happen? First, I enjoy it; and secondly, ...

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I have penned several posts on the pitfalls of the electronic medical record (EMR) system that we physicians must use.  Indeed, I challenge you to find a doctor who extols the EMR platform without qualification.  Sure, there are tremendous advantages, and the ease of use has improved substantially since it first came onto the scene.  But, keep in mind that these systems were not devised and implemented because physicians demanded them.  To the contrary, ...

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Exercising good judgment can mean the difference between life or death. Life can be unforgiving of the choices we make. As we all know, many life events are beyond our control and understanding. But, there is much we can do to shape our paths to a brighter destination. Consider some of the choices listed below that many folks make every day. Are any of them familiar to you?

Many organizations solicit private donations from benefactors and philanthropists. Is there a stadium in the country that does not bear the name of a prominent donor? There are also anonymous donors who are not cursed with egos that require their names to be emblazoned in giant font on a building’s façade. But, most donors want recognition which is often used as an incentive when soliciting the donation. Donors understandably receive perks ...

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Our practice will no longer see nursing home patients in our office. If a nursing home patient is already established with us, then we will see him; but, we have decided not to accept new patients. Of course, we believe that these individuals -- like the rest of us -- deserve medical care. This demographic not only deserves care, but has the greatest need for medical services. Our practice will see ...

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I’ve delved into the issue of medical judgment more than once.  I have argued that sound judgment is more important than medical knowledge.  If one has a knowledge deficit, assuming he is aware of this, it is easily remedied.  A judgment deficiency, per contra, is more difficult to fix. For example, if a physician cannot recall if generalized itchiness can be a sign of serious liver disease, he can look this ...

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“Does my insurance cover this?” I cannot calculate how often a patient poses this inquiry to me assuming wrongly that I have expertise in the insurance and reimbursement aspects of medicine. If I -- a gastroenterologist -- do not even know how much a colonoscopy costs, it is unlikely that I can speak with authority to a patient’s general insurance coverage issues. Of course, patients assume that we physicians have an expansive ...

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One thing that gastroenterologists know about is stool. But, I’m not referring to that kind of stool in this post. Follow along. When we do a colonoscopy, for example, we are relying upon stool, or more accurately a stool, as in a three-legged stool. This metaphor illustrates that the three legs must be equally strong or the stool will not stand. The three pillars of support that a colonoscopist needs include:

We do most of our colonoscopies in our ambulatory surgery center (ASC), which is attached to our office. We are proud of the work that we and our staff do every day and are grateful for the outstanding feedback that we consistently receive from our patients. Some insurance companies will not cover procedures in our ASC so these patients must get "scoped" at the hospital instead. For many of them, this ...

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First, there was Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that utilizes blockchain, a decentralized system of data collection and transactions that we are told will defy hacking. (Wasn’t the Titanic said to be unsinkable?) We read that cryptocurrency and other blockchain functions will be a societal gamechanger, much like the internet was when Al Gore invented it some years ago. My state of Ohio will now accept Bitcoin as payment for commercial taxes. And, of ...

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