It’s been said in the world of business that people only buy two things: good feelings and solutions to problems. In medicine, the single most important factor that brings patients through our doors isn’t a “toward” kind of desire, but an “away” one -- away from feeling bad. More specifically, it is pain and fear that most often cause patients to call and ask for an appointment. They hopefully leave with ...

Read more...

A doctor writes prescription, pharmacist fills prescription, insurance covers prescription. Simple, right? But that’s not the way it works anymore. Some changes are good. Gone are the cryptic abbreviations and illegible handwriting -- replaced by computer printed scripts, or better yet scripts magically transmitted via the ether. But along with fewer errors there’s even less transparency on pricing and coverage. Patients, who haven’t been to pharmacy school and couldn’t possibly decode the pages of ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

Ironically, the same electronic health records (EHRs) initially designed as a tool to help physicians diagnose diseases have largely evaded diagnostic scrutiny. Talk to physicians who utilize them on a daily basis, however, and it becomes abundantly clear that today’s EHRs are ailing. They are adding hours to the physicians’ workday, siphoning attention from patient care, and sowing the seeds of demoralization across the profession of medicine. To address this ...

Read more...

I sit before you and others like you, in silence, anxious about what I might be told. You deliver a litany of questions to my countenance as I sit in a chair beside you. Your attention is diverted to the cold and detached computer screen where my responses are entered without you ever noticing the fear in my eyes. There is no acknowledgment to indicate a level of understanding of ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

How many physicians know how many visits they are approving when referring to a specialist? This was a germane question posed to me today. I first asked this question of myself as a junior faculty member, while busting the residents’ chops over the egregious numbers of referral visits they were approving. You see, as any good resident knows, being proactive in the referral department demonstrates skill in the art of “avoiding ...

Read more...

I’d be willing to bet most of you have heard of, or previously used, telemedicine in some shape, form or fashion.  Stated simply, telemedicine is the process of seeking care from a medical provider using your phone or laptop.  This field is exploding, and I have no doubt popularity will continue to grow as large health systems and pharmacy giants dive in. It’s easy to appreciate the convenience and efficiency of ...

Read more...

When I think back to the original meaning of the word “doctor,” I believe we may have lost our way in the physician/patient interaction. The word “doctor” originates from the Latin word, meaning to teach. As a physician and educator, I can’t remember the last time I went to the doctor and was taught something. Prior to starting medical school, I spent six months in the hospital and rehab, rebuilding ...

Read more...

This must be my eighth cancer scare. (No, I really don’t undergo excessive testing.) Decades ago, I’d noted a possibly normal finding but dropped it after getting no response at subspecialist visits. Recently, following pertinent CME, I asked again and the physician bit. You can guess the rest. One night while dodging traffic I accessed on my phone the ultrasound report from the designated cancer center’s (DCC) patient portal, revealing a ...

Read more...

590 Pages
Join 141,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 141,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.
close-image