As I age, the probability of acquiring yet another health condition seems to, unfortunately, increase. There's always one test or another that is on my to-do list, be it bloodwork, X-ray, MRI, or maybe a CT scan thrown in for good measure. I comply usually with a sense that it is for the benefit of my health, i.e., to enable my doctors to determine the best mode of treatment for ...

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I am a mid-40s female rheumatologist. Fortunately, I consider myself to be fairly healthy; my diet and weight are OK, I run 30 to 35 miles per week, and my only medication is a low-estrogen oral contraceptive that I have been self-prescribing for years. Work and life are busy, and my health maintenance could be better. I have been getting regular mammograms since age 40 (some self-prescribed), maybe I see ...

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I am a small-town family physician, and I am blessed enough to be living my dream. You see, I have always wanted to be a doctor. I cannot think of one other occupation choice that has ever entered my brain. I have wanted this since I was four-years-old, and I can remember in vivid detail telling the world this was what I was destined to be. So what happens when your dream ...

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Anyone familiar with Nintendo's Mario franchise is probably very confused by the title of this blog but stay with me here. My kids have recently become obsessed with Mario. It's brought back great memories from my childhood of playing Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System way back in the day and "Super Mario Bros." before that. As I've assisted my kids in defeating a boss here or there, I ...

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Each year, Medical Economics surveys physician readers to find out what irks them most. Topping the latest list: insurance paperwork, followed closely by electronic health records (EHRs). The reason is the same for both. Insurers and EHRs get between doctors and their patients. When it comes to medicine’s computer problem, the obstacle is literal. Doctors sit behind a screen, focused on the EHR and not the patient. ...

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Have you ever wondered why your personal health information essentially belongs to your health care provider or institution? I mean: why do they keep your information under lock and key, and you have to sign a release to get it? After all, it’s your blood that they just pulled out and tested, it’s your body they just shot up with X-rays or operated on — and you paid for these ...

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Reflexively, I often feel my breath catch, and my eyeballs roll ever-so-slightly when a patient leads with, “I saw on the internet ...” The precious minutes available to connect, inspect, and direct the management of their Google search are suddenly squandered by backtracking to reassure the bug bite will not turn into the bubonic plague! Our medical training has been outsourced to Wikipedia and WebMD. Today we all stand guilty believing we are ...

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I, like many physicians, am the only doctor in my extended family. To say that they are proud is probably an understatement. I’ve been a practicing physician for seven years now and yet my grandmother each time I see her greets me with, “There’s my doctor grandson.” I have worked quite hard to get to where I am, and I enjoy what I do. I, too, am proud to be the ...

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I wasn't as happy as I expected to be when I walked out of the hospital on my last day in medical school. But then again, there was little to celebrate -- my last few patients had terminal cancer, a stroke, and end-stage liver disease from alcoholism. I signed off my patients to my resident, and so, my medical school career came to an unceremonious end. I thought to myself ...

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The day of solo practitioners is coming to an end. In its place will be gaggles of gastroenterologists and flocks of physicians. Mega practices are becoming the norm in American medical care.

Here’s a few pictures of this trend, somewhat dated (they only go through 2015) but still quite revealing.

The figure below illustrates the distribution of primary care physicians in the U.S., from June 2013 ...

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