A physician recently recalled to me a situation he found himself in on the last National Doctors’ Day. Those of you reading who work in health care, will already be aware that this is on March 30th every year. I have seen this day celebrated in every hospital I’ve worked in since I first came to the United States over a decade ago. I actually think it’s a nice gesture, and ...

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A few weeks ago, I was giving a day-long seminar in California on improving communication skills, optimizing the patient experience, and how this is all ultimately linked to better proven outcomes. Part of the day involved doing role plays, playing the part of doctors and patients in various difficult hypothetical scenarios. My experience of this type of group exercise is that all clinicians usually really enjoy it, when it’s done in ...

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Physicians everywhere are having to deal with ever-shrinking time slots with their patients. Every doctor (or nurse) would love to have more time if possible, and it’s probably one the biggest frontline frustrations for any clinician who wants to do a good job. Time to go over the history in more detail, examine the patient thoroughly, and then spend adequate time discussing everything afterwards. Wouldn’t that be nice? The reality though ...

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When I’m working in a hospital setting as a physician, part of my everyday job duties involves going over consent forms with patients. I am of course a medical physician, rather than a surgeon, so generally don’t have to go over them as often. But I do have to take consent regularly for certain interventions including blood transfusions and minor procedures. The process of getting consent is something everybody is ...

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In June, a story circulated online about how Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, one of the most famous academic medical centers in the United States, and a major Harvard Medical School-affiliated institution, decided that it would take down physician portraits that were hanging in a popular and historic lecture theater. The reason? Well, it was felt that the portraits were predominantly of white male physicians, who had been esteemed teachers ...

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A natural part of life is emotionally growing (hopefully) with experience. If I was to look back at my own journey, when I was in medical school and just graduating, I would say that without doubt, one of the biggest things I would tell my younger self, would be to not take things too personally. This would be particularly true in professional situations. I look back at how personally I used to ...

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Following one of my recent articles on how physicians can improve their communication skills and ultimately help attain better patient outcomes, I received an interesting comment from a physician. It went something like this: “Sorry, but I’m not an actor.” This response typifies a small (but not insignificant) subset of responses I get when I’m discussing and promoting techniques that any doctor can utilize to better their skills in this area ...

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Fake news is a term that’s become notorious over the last couple of years. For notorious reasons perhaps. But there’s actually another serious arena where there is inadvertently an awful lot of “fake news” on a daily basis. And that is, well you guessed it: in health care throughout our nation’s hospitals and offices! Let me explain, and I suspect anyone who works in health care will be familiar with the scenario. ...

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As physicians, we are used to asking our patients lots and lots of questions. It’s our job to elicit information, listen, and then come up with a management plan. There’s a standard script every doctor goes through, based on the science of medicine, and we usually have this memorized to a tee. And that’s all very well and good. However, as with many things in life -- especially those that ...

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I was recently doing some home shopping in Target. It was peak time and fairly busy. After I was done, I walked towards the front of the store and approached the counter area to pay. But alas, there appeared to be hardly any manned registers. Lots of people were strolling up and down, trying to do the same as me: find a real person to help us check out. We ...

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