As someone who has been in IT health care supporting hospitals, radiologists, and specialty surgeons, I’ve seen the struggle from just about every angle when it comes to the problems with health care technology. One of these struggles that continue to be a problem for myself, our patients, and our physicians are the imaging CDs that patients bring in. Sometimes the patient brings in a disc that is found to be ...

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“So, will this mammogram save my life?” she asked. I thought for a few seconds … "I have no idea.” “What?” she sounded perplexed. “Well, if you have a cancer that’s aggressive enough to kill you before everything else, but not aggressive enough to have already had cells metastasize, and not so aggressive that it responds appropriately to chemo but it still needs to be rapidly dividing enough to respond to chemo, and we ...

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I asked a colleague at a recent dinner meeting about his children. They’re all grown, he said, one is actually a doctor. But, he added quickly, “I had nothing to do with it.” His son had chosen his father’s field of radiology, though my colleague similarly disavowed any influence. He did mention, with some relief, that his son was happy with his choice. About a year earlier, I was catching up ...

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There is a movement afoot. I can feel it. I can see it. Women in medicine are no longer going to tolerate the subtle and not so subtle discrimination that has stymied their career growth. They are not going to be complacent while their male colleagues are paid higher salaries, offered speaking engagements and research opportunities and promoted at a greater rate. Women in medicine are pulling together in an ...

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In early November, Chuck Norris filed a lawsuit against medical device manufacturers involving gadolinium-based contrast media, a chemical used in MRI imaging scans. The lawsuit stated that the gadolinium that doctors injected into his wife Gena to improve the clarity of her MRIs have left her “weak and tired and with debilitating bouts of pain and a burning sensation.” As with any adverse effects involving medical procedures in the news, it ...

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Humans evolved with the constant force of the earth’s gravity. This is relevant to several of our organs, but the brain’s anatomy makes it especially important. The brain floats in spinal fluid encased inside the closed box of the skull. Gravity would be expected to affect the details of that. Indeed, studies of people who spent prolonged periods of time in bed in a head down position indicate this abnormal ...

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It was 5:30 a.m., and I was startled to feel the nudge of my husband’s hand on my arm while vaguely hearing the sound of my alarm going off in the background.  Although I was not prepared mentally to get up for another day, I quickly jumped out of bed so as not to allow the sound to wake my sleeping daughter in the next room. I cherished no actually, ...

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Pink ribbons are everywhere, and we all know what that means: breast cancer. While this has helped raise awareness on a horrible killer and the importance of early screening, it does not address the fact that there is still no cure for stage IV cancer or the fact that men get breast cancer as well. Yes, it is important that we all know that breast cancer is prevalent in our ...

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I am not the first physician blogger to write about the difficulties of prior authorizations, denials, and appeals, but recent occurrences in my own practice have been so convoluted that I feel they must be shared. The nonsensical denials would almost cause one to laugh, if not for the reality that each denial represents potential delay in care for the patient and redundant work for the physician. That's work that expands ...

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I love breast cancer awareness month. As a breast medical oncologist, it gives me an opportunity to spread the message of how important early detection is for improving the success of breast cancer treatment. I am surprised regularly at the number of women who either are not doing mammography at all or who do it every couple of years when they remember. We know that women who are participating in ...

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What should you do if an insurance company denies a test?  Record the name of the denying physician in the chart and take the burden of the denial off of your shoulders and onto the shoulders of a faceless, algorithm-following insurance clinician.

A study published in JAMA looking at the brains of former football players donated to a brain bank, a highly selective sample, found signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a degenerative neurological disease — in nearly all deceased players examined. The mainstream media converged towards numerical consensus.

  • Fox News reported players in a study had CTE.”
  • CNN reframed the headline, “CTE found ...

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I am a gynecologic-oncologist. I work in the high-stakes realm of cancer care. I strategize complex treatment plans involving surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and the newer biological agents to treat the myriad of disease that we call collectively “cancer.” Cure — or at least control — requires urgent and timely administration of these modalities along with various imaging or blood work to assure that the treatment prescribed is effective. I love ...

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The age-old saying is that knowledge is power. But what happens when you are overwhelmed with the information you need to make a decision without the understanding of how that information fits together to answer your question? It’s like trying to put together a large, complex puzzle without a finished picture for comparison. Oh, and by the way, you also aren’t sure you have all the pieces. This situation can ...

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I bought a pocket ultrasound in 2011, determined to learn how to perform and interpret ultrasound at the bedside and thus transform my internal medicine practice. I bought it new, and it cost over $8,000. That was a staggering amount of money to spend on something I knew very little about. In 2015 after having performed many thousand ultrasound exams with my little GE Vscan with the phased array transducer, ...

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“Can you hear it?” she asked with a smile. The thin, pleasant lady seemed as struck by her murmur as I was. She was calm, perhaps amused by the clumsy second-year medical student listening to her heart. “Yes, yes I can,” I replied, barely concealing my excitement. We had just learned about the heart sounds in class. This was my first time hearing anything abnormal on a patient, though it was ...

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I feel privileged to be practicing medicine. Many people consider doctor careers and imagine how great it may be. Is it the right thing for you? Yes there are days of frustration, exhaustion, and utter defeat, but at the end of the day I home and know that I helped at least one person if not two from the 16 I meet. The fact that I alleviated one individual’s anxiety or ...

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Here's a question that has been debated for several years: Should radiologists talk to patients about their imaging results? Citing several issues, I came down solidly on the "no" side in a 2014 blog post. Two major radiology organizations have committees looking into the concept, and New York Times article said, "they hope to make their case [for it] by demonstrating how some radiologists ...

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Being a radiologist, I rarely speak to patients, but I was asked to counsel Mrs. Patel (not her real name), who was worried about the risks of radiation from cardiac calcium CT scan. Because of her risk factors for atherosclerosis, her cardiologist wanted her to take statins for primary prevention, but she was reluctant to start statins. They eventually reached a truce. If she had even a speck of calcium ...

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During breakfast with my father over the holidays, a friend of his asked me what kind of doctor I am. “I’m a radiologist,” I answered. I was met with a puzzled expression and a reply of “Oh, I thought you were a doctor doctor.” I smiled and returned to my banana. Most radiologists, especially those like me who are not physician offspring, are faced with this sort of discourse at least once. ...

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