Despite the political angst, the doomsday predictions and a very rocky launch, the Affordable Care Act has enabled more than 8 million Americans to acquire insurance coverage through the public exchanges. Health insurance increases the probability that patients will access the medical care they need. And my colleagues at Kaiser Permanente are already seeing some positive stories emerging as a result. They’ve shared dozens of stories with me about patients with undiagnosed ...

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Concussion expert Dr. A. Chainey Umphrey has assessed the damage youth sports can inflict. He has seen it ruin lives. It happens in one form or another every day: A high school senior leaps to head a soccer ball. She takes an elbow from an opposing player going for the same ball. Woozy, she shakes it off and stays in the game. Six months later, her blistering headaches have subsided but she still experiences ...

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With American health care in the midst of rapid transformation, both doctors and patients will be forced to adapt to changes stemming from the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” Of course, everyone responds to change differently. But is it possible to predict how doctors will adapt to health care reform based on the year they were born? The answer may surprise some patients and even force them to think differently ...

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The Cayman Islands are nestled in the Caribbean Sea some 430 miles south of Miami. The three-island cluster is known for its inviting coral-sand beaches, laid-back island culture and tax-free status. While it lures many tourists and big banks, it’s not the first place you’d expect to find the future of American health care. That may change soon. Last month, I flew to the Caymans to moderate an afternoon-long panel on delivering ...

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There is nothing more disheartening for a physician than watching a patient die from a preventable cause. And, of course, the loss for the family involved is unimaginable. But it’s important, especially for parents, to understand the potential consequences of preventable, infectious diseases. Here’s a scenario doctors across the country are witnessing first-hand: A 2-year-old girl develops what seems like a cold. Over the next several days, her breathing rate increases. At ...

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In a recent article, Malcolm Gladwell dissected and diagnosed American health care. Throughout our interview, he tackled controversial topics from the Affordable Care Act and medical malpractice to the contrasting Canadian health care system and much more. I expected him to dive deep below the surface and provide new and intriguing perspectives. He didn’t disappoint. But it was his closing comment that caught me off guard. When I asked Gladwell what ...

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Malcolm Gladwell hasn’t written much about American health care. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been thinking about it. And it sure hasn’t stopped many of his powerful ideas like “tipping point,” “outlier” and “blink” from gaining entry into the national health care debate. In his most recent book, “David and Goliath,” Gladwell reshaped our perspectives on the underdog and highlighted our tendency to over-value certain strengths. In the health care ...

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The evening news is filled with fatal car crashes and shootings. But drug overdoses kill nearly 40,000 people a year, accounting for more deaths than vehicular accidents or homicides. Drug overdoses are on the rise in America, fueled largely by prescription meds. Reversing the course of this epidemic will require some dramatic changes. The facts Drug overdose rates climbed more than 100 percent between 1990 and 2012. But what most people don’t recognize ...

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The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to make affordable, quality health care coverage available to more Americans. But how many physicians will America need to satisfy this new demand? The debate over doctor supply rages on with very little conclusive evidence to prove one case or the other. Those experts who see a shortage point to America’s aging population -- and their growing medical needs -- as evidence of a ...

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Hospitals are commonly thought of as the safest place to be for sick people. Patients have around-the-clock access to skilled care teams. Their vital signs are continuously monitored. A physician stops by every morning to check on them. While it all sounds safe, a hospital can be a very dangerous place to be. Here are four frightening risks hospitals pose, along with their causes and some easy-to-implement solutions that could save hundreds ...

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The primary debate in health care reform this past year centered on insurance coverage. The next great debate will focus on the cost of providing health care. For decades, the way we’ve paid doctors and hospitals has driven up health care costs. And while the pace of health care spending has slowed the last four years, it continues to rise faster and more noticeably than improvements in U.S. health care outcomes. The reason is not ...

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Radical change often happens suddenly, the result of a single decision or event. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR stand out as two dramatic political examples. In a social context, Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade both radically changed our society. Then there’s the U.S. health care system. We know it can take 17 years for a new, proven treatment to ...

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This is the time many of us make resolutions about our lives -- often tied to our health and wellness. As the health care industry enters a new era of consumerism, people are seeking more and more ways to take ownership over their health and health care. While data about doctors, hospitals and health outcomes are becoming more available and transparent, we still have a long way to go. Perhaps in a ...

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA), sometimes called “Obamacare,” dominated health care media coverage this year. And rightly so. It is the most significant change in American medicine in more than half a century. But the legislation is just one aspect of a complex and highly fragmented system. It is also just the beginning (not the end) of the process to fix U.S. health ...

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A woman comes to the doctor with depression, fatigue and insomnia. A co-worker stays late in the office even when there is not much to do. A sales associate appears tired and distracted. For each of these individuals, domestic violence -- physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or psychological abuse against an intimate partner -- could be the underlying cause of distress. Historically, domestic violence has been viewed as a criminal issue -- ...

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What first comes to mind when you hear the word “hospital”? Your reaction may depend on your past experiences. You may feel gratitude for the birth of a child or the treatment of acute appendicitis. You may feel sorrow, remembering a loved one who passed away on a hospital bed. Regardless of our experiences, many of us assume the closer our hospital is to where we live, the safer and better off ...

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apple-iphone-siri-ibm-watson-illo In every strength lies a weakness and in every weakness a strength. This maxim has held true throughout history -- from biblical days to the battles of modern times. And it holds just as true in the information technology (IT) “arms race” that’s playing out in American health care today. In Malcolm Gladwell’s newest work David and Goliath, he suggests that when we fail to ...

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If you knew you were going to be admitted to the hospital for a serious and unexpected medical problem, which day of the week would you pick? It sounds like a silly question. You don’t get to pick the day you will become sick, of course. It’s unexpected. And why should it make a difference? Isn’t a hospital with a 24 hour nursing staff and on call physicians the safest place ...

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Imagine two men in their early 60s. A year from now, both men will be dead.

Changing how doctors, patients and the media perceive prevention could save lives and billions of health care dollars.
Today, each is scheduled for an initial consultation with an orthopedic surgeon and will undergo hip replacement surgery. Patient A will die on the operating table from a surgical complication. Patient B will undergo the procedure without incident. ...

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In his beautifully written, recently published novel “And the Mountains Echoed,” Khaled Hosseini presents a series of stories in which individuals are faced with near-impossible choices. Impossible choices permeate Khaled Hosseni's latest novel. Studies show many doctors struggle to help their patients through their most difficult choices. As difficult as the decisions in the book seem, it turns out the ...

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