If patient-centered care is the current winning game plan for health care, then shared decision making (SDM) is the secret weapon. But we physicians need a new way to approach it. SDM, as defined by the Society for Medical Decision Making, is “a collaborative process that allows patients and their providers to make health care decisions together, taking into account the best scientific evidence available, as well as the patients values ...

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While doing my doctoral dissertation research at a clinic for kids with diabetes, I observed the attachment that some of them had to the physician faculty member who directed the clinic. I particularly remember one teenager who complained that this doctor "did not care" about her, as he sent "fake doctors" (residents) to take care of her, not coming himself. She was refusing to cooperate. When I suggested to the ...

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Let’s conduct an experiment. Ask a baby boomer, say someone over the age of 60, about the landing on the moon in 1969. You can count on an emphatic response with people recounting the memorable moment when the moment was televised. The reverence, admiration and utmost respect for the NASA’s scientists and astronauts is practically palpable. NASA, considered the pinnacle of scientific innovation at the time, practically glowed with a ...

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Do you know we have record rates of physician burnout, dissatisfaction, and suicide? Ongoing shortages in primary care, without improvement in sight? Physicians exiting medicine earlier  than in the past? What about burnout? Do you know it affects patients as well as their doctors? Affects physicians' families and friends? Increases mistakes and malpractice risk? Affects patient adherence and outcomes? Is costly to the entire system? How do we start to fix this? ...

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In the movie Malice, Alec Baldwin plays Dr. Jed Hill, a surgeon who gives a famous speech during a deposition in a medical malpractice case. “”If you’re looking for God, he was in operating room #2 on November 17th, and he doesn’t like to be second-guessed ... I am God.” No one wants a doctor like that. And yet, maybe we do. We yearn for someone capable of healing all of our ...

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More than two years ago, I wrote about some of the obstacles -- as well as the opportunities -- that introverted medical students face during training. Now that I have many rotations under my belt, it’s time for an update about my experiences on rotations, along with some helpful advice to newcomers. The challenges First, the challenges: Medical school rotations are very fast-paced, and our team members (co-workers and superiors) ...

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The practice of medicine is a lot like the practice of parenting. It is full of highs and lows, moments of pure joy and those of devastating heartache. When I talk to my friends who are parents, they agree with me. Some of the most difficult times as a parent is watching your kids fail. When your child is hurting, it hurts far worse than if you had experienced it first ...

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I have no business background: zero, zilch, nada. Growing up, I was the kid who bought the lemonade, not the one who set up shop on the busy street corner. My parents bought the cookie dough, coupon book and every other school fundraiser from the kid next door instead of their own child. Job interviews? Never had them. All the jobs I've ever had I got because I knew the ...

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"How did you know what to say to her?" asked the resident, "We have been trying to figure her out all morning and have gotten nowhere." An expression of mixed curiosity and frustration crossed her face. “I try not to focus on how she is acting, as much as I try to talk to the part of her Jesus would love,” I found myself answering. This catchphrase would find its way ...

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After about the first week of anesthesia residency, I was told, “Don’t get pregnant, you are going to ruin the call schedule.”  Initially, I took it as a joke because I was getting married that year and I wasn’t thinking of having children yet, but I did think, “what if it happened accidentally?” After it’s told to you over and over again by your male co-residents and even some of my ...

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