When a patient is unwell and seeking help, a vast number of emotions could be going through their mind. Their whole life could have been turned upside down, they may have been fearing this moment for a while, and stressing over the implications of their illness. To physicians, it may sometimes feel like just another name on our list or almost become a routine mechanical interaction, but for the ...

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The doctor-patient interaction is the absolute core of clinical medicine. Maybe I’ll go much further: it’s the core of health care in general. I always try to remember, whenever I’m ever feeling frustrated with the system, the crazy bureaucracy -- and of course, the debacle of our clunky electronic medical records and their data entry requirements -- to separate myself from all of that when I’m face-to-face with my patient ...

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There are so many theories out there about what we should or shouldn’t be doing with our complex and fragmented health care system. We are facing a perfect storm of factors: an aging population, a huge increase in chronic disease, new and expensive treatments, and rising expectations of what care we should be receiving. All of this is sending costs spiraling out of control. As a nation, we spend almost ...

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I am a frequent traveler and spend a lot of time in a number of different cities. The one I’ve currently been spending the most time in is a place, quite frankly, I’m crazy about: New York City! Anyone who writes a lot is usually also by default, a keen observer of people, and there’s no place better to do this than a busy, crowded city. There’s an interesting habit that ...

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Health care has undergone innumerable changes over the last decade, and the pace of change only appears to be accelerating. At the crux of most of the changes we’ve seen is the central problem that the cost of our health care system is unsustainable, and we as a nation need to put the brakes on it. The costs to individual patients are also unacceptably high. Unfortunately, the prevailing philosophy has been ...

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It seems like every other day, there’s a new discussion or debate which emerges about the unique challenges that minorities face in America. This is, of course, a sensitive topic, because minorities in any arena will always have their personal story. Whether it’s because of your color, or anything else that makes you feel like you face extra hurdles -- there are indeed lots of ways in which society still ...

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The path to becoming a physician is a long and character-defining one. From the moment one first realizes that they want to become a doctor, applies to medical school, and then goes through the rigorous next few years of exam after exam and exhausting clinical rotations -- the road is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Everybody is aware of how much knowledge and hard work is required to become a ...

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I recently needed to transfer my patient to a larger medical center for some urgent care. As I sat there in my relatively small hospital working out where they would be best served, a famous academic medical center that was not too far away, came to mind. I placed a call to the facility’s bed facilitator, who took the patient’s details from me, and was told to await a callback ...

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The ability to lead is not something that comes naturally to everyone. There are some people out there who are wired to lead right from when they are very young -- but these are few and far between. Most of us have to train ourselves, and acquire the necessary leadership skills based on our own learning curve and experiences. The fact is that we are all leaders in one way ...

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We are living in times of extreme political polarization in the United States. In fact, it’s a trend sweeping the Western world right now. I’ve always considered myself somewhat middle-of-the-road, and I vote much more for the candidate than the political party. Of course, I have my own strong views on certain issues, but I’m probably the type of swing voter that parties want to target because admittedly my voting ...

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