Today, the public has criticized health care as too high in technology and too low in touching. Computers take patients’ histories, provide a differential diagnosis, supply educational materials and even submit a bill for the services that we render. A new specialty — telemedicine — offers health care service to rural areas that were previously underserved or couldn’t afford the latest diagnostic technology. Telemedicine, a technology in its infancy, offers ...

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Recently, a Leonardo Da Vinci painting, Salvator Mundi (Savior of the World), was sold for $450 million, making it the largest fee for a painting ever sold.  Was it a good investment?  The painting was sold by Leonardo’s heir to King Francis I of France for 4000 gold ducats in 1519, which according to the American Numismatic Society would be equivalent to $575,000 at today’s price of gold at $1277 ...

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No one needs to know the value of multitasking more than a physician. At any point in time, we have to juggle a myriad of tasks and obligations. As a younger physician, I was able to recall multiple requests and obligations without writing them down. As I have grown older and the memory is starting to fade, I find it necessary to ...

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How do you describe the feeling when you are at a restaurant, and the waiter sees your coffee cup at less than half full (never half empty) and without asking they refill the cup or better yet, bring you a fresh cup of coffee?  If you are like most customers, you have a nice feeling about the restaurant and the waiter as they have anticipated your needs.  Usually, this anticipatory ...

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figure-1-for-kevin-pho Do doctors make too much money? I don’t think so. I read with great interest the blog by Dr. Michael Kirsch defending physicians’ salaries: "If you think doctors make too much money, think about this." Unfortunately, the public’s perception of physicians’ incomes has been that physicians make too much money. Whenever I hear this remark from patients or even non-physicians, I show ...

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I am an email junkie and spend more time than I would like to admit on emails every day.  I start my day by looking at emails, and I end every evening reviewing emails.  And yes, I spend time during the day checking the computer for pertinent emails that need my attention.  I think many physicians are of the same ilk. According to Alexandra Samuels, who is the author of Work ...

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Sticks and stones may break my bones but two words -- thank you -- will not hurt you but will certainly help you. We, myself included, are often so busy and always in a hurry rushing from one task to another that we often forget common courtesies.  I believe that we can accomplish so much more with our patients, our staff, and even in our personal lives by not forgetting to ...

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Today so many physicians are not able to see pharmaceutical representatives (PRs).  However, PRs do serve as a great resource and finding a way to make their visits more efficient and focused is an objective we all need to strive for. I recall requesting an interview with Lou Holtz, then the head coach at Notre Dame, and was told by his secretary the date and time that the interview would take ...

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shutterstock_195401897 Have you ever tied your shoes and found that the bow unraveled and you almost tripped over your own laces?  Learning to tie your shoes is a life skills task that you learned as a toddler unless you were trained on Velcro straps!  You performed the task of tying your shoes nearly every day of your life believing that you were ...

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Many of our patients are besieged with unsolicited Internet advertisements offering them unbelievable solutions and cures to most of mankind’s medical maladies.  Patients come to and ask for advice about these promises to magically restore their health. Since I receive so many requests from patients to evaluate these offerings, I have put together five questions that patients should ask themselves before proceeding to buy from websites offering outlandish claims, including restoring ...

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I see nearly 100 patients a week.  Of these, easily 35% are overweight and 15-20% are obese with a BMI greater than 30.  I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, which along with Mississippi has the highest rate of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, and other diseases commonly associated with obesity.  There are many explanations for the obesity academic in America but certainly poor nutrition and lack of exercise are at the ...

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As a medical student I was in awe when a professor looked at a patient’s hands or nail beds and described their medical condition without taking a history.  I was also enthralled by a TED talk by the best selling author, Abraham Verghese, where he described a lesson that Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes, learned as a medical student at the medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland from the famous physician ...

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Bumblebee_05 Practice medicine like the bumblebee. We also know the basics of the beehive containing a single queen bee, hundreds of worker bees, and several hundred to several thousand drones with their only function is to mate with the queen (and after they perform this function they die!), each with their own degree of specialization and place in the honeybee society. However, there is ...

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Americans are notoriously generous and good tippers.  However, there are some servers who get “over the top” gratuities.  How do they do it? 1. They make a concerted effort to reach out and touch someone.  How many physicians enter a room and never touch a patient?  They are touching more keyboards than hearts.  I have learned from complementary healthcare providers that there’s a medicinal value of touching the patient.  Every chiropractor, ...

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Several years ago I wrote an article for physicians on the topic of balance, and one of the suggestions was to place family first.  There are two stories that I have learned since the publication of that article that I would like to pass along. Balance in a doctor’s life is best achieved if there is balance between family and work.  One of the best suggestions is to place family ...

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As a little boy I had a dream that I have always wanted to join the circus.  I thought for sure I could be a clown or even the ringmaster.  At age 34 a friend who did public relations for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus gave me the opportunity to make my dream come true and I was invited to be a clown in the circus. The show was to ...

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Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non–skin cancer among U.S. men. It can be life-threatening, and many men have cancer without knowing it. For those reasons, doctors sometimes look for prostate cancer in healthy men (screen for cancer) by measuring blood levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein secreted by the prostate gland. High PSA levels can be caused by cancer and may lead a doctor to take a ...

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There is a strong relationship comparing sports to the military, business, and also to medicine.  Young athletes, in their late teens and early 20s, are mostly brawn and use their strength and speed to achieve success early in their professional careers.  As the athlete matures in their late 20s and early 30s, the physiologic processes slowly decrease and efficiency and maturity and other cerebral skills emerge. There are 2 rainbow arcs ...

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In my medical practice, I've used note writing extensively, to communicate with patients, with families of patients and with referring physicians.  And yet, when I received a note, which is not related to patient care, it is always a little surprising and uplifting, and emphasizes why note writing (and note receiving) is so appealing. In this Internet age and the age of information, we are bombarded with electronically conveyed messages, television ...

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What is your impression of an airlines when you sit down and open the tray on the back of the seat in front of you and find food and coffee stains on the tray?  You may just worry if the same attention that was given to tray tables carries over to the maintenance of the engines.  Or what is your opinion ...

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