STAT_LogoDear Doctor, Please help me understand why so few of you have chosen to treat people with opioid addictions. I’ve been following the topic of opioid addiction for years. It is one of the most common themes for First Opinion submissions. Authors routinely point to the importance of medication-assisted therapy, the standard of care for individuals ...

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In the wake of Pride Month, I have been reflecting on how our health care system impacts the lives of individuals with identities across the gender spectrum. Sometimes, when sending a prescription to a pharmacy for any given patient, we will get a phone call that the date of birth on file with insurance does not match the date of birth we have on file. Typically, this is a clerical ...

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No news attracts attention like a physician who’s in trouble with DEA or their state medical board. So, how does it happen, what are the common issues and what can a physician do to safeguard themselves? First, let’s look at what the numbers and the research tell us. The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) tells us that 4,091 physicians were disciplined during ...

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The keto diet has recently garnered much fame for its apparent ability to improve diabetes and obesity – results so impressive the Journal of the American Medical Association recently highlighted the diet and thereby christened it as something more than a low-carb craze. However, not all the evidence supports such a positive outlook, leading the diet to straddle the increasingly blurred lines between faddist snake ...

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Everybody gets nervous at the doctor’s office. Physicians ask all sorts of personal questions about what people eat, how much they drink, and how things are at home. Even questions that would seem completely harmless in another context — such as how work is going, or what hobbies a person enjoys — seem surrounded by hidden meaning and purpose. After all, who doesn’t want to “pass” their annual checkup? Part of ...

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Drivers are distracted klutzes and computers could obviously do better. Self-driving cars will make all of us safer on he road. Doctors have spotty knowledge and keep illegible records. EMRs with decision support will improve the quality of healthcare. The parallels are obvious. And so far the outcomes are disappointing on both fronts of our new war against human error. I remember vividly flunking my first driving test in Sweden. It was early ...

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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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I am not a doctor of finance.  I’m a medical doctor.  So when I enter an elderly patient’s home, I’m not expecting to do a wallet biopsy.  Whether they can pay me or not is of little consequence.  I do think, however, about whether they will be able to afford the care I prescribe.  Will they have enough to pay for that extra caregiver?  Is there cash to keep a roof over ...

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As medical professionals we often see people at their worst: battered and broken, bothered and in pain, no make-up, bad hair day, naked and too ill to even care about modesty. At those critical moments, in our patients' hour of desperation, they hand over their lives to us … and the lives of their family. All that they are -- they willingly place at our mercy. At times, burnout, and ...

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My father, recently retired, spent over 40 years in private practice. After dinner, he would sift through piles of paper charts and call patients with their lab results. As a grade schooler, what impressed me the most was that he knew many of his patient’s phone numbers by heart. Of course, this was in the days before HIPAA and caller ID, so scattered charts on the dining table and calling ...

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