Missing the first US Ebola case – A learning opportunity in patient safety and caregiver distraction

It was a mistake to send the Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan home from a Dallas emergency room after he presented with fever and pain, which were early signs of Ebola infection. It would be a larger mistake to miss an important learning opportunity. This case demonstrates what I believe to be a major threat […]

New post up on theHeart.org — Dr Emanuel’s Death Wish Harms Rather Than Helps

You know the story on US healthcare and the elderly: Our current default is an American tragedy. It’s devoid of truth and candor; it’s inhumane and it’s wasteful. Recent gains in longevity have come by extending the period of disability right before death. Aggressive care treatment is often hoisted onto the frail because caregivers lack […]

A letter to patients and caregivers — Improving US healthcare is a team sport

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The thing about US healthcare that bothers me most is the waste: the nuclear stress tests on demented patients in diapers, the MRIs for every case of back and knee pain, the egregious pre-op tests for low-risk surgeries, the mega-workups for simple cases of AF, the disease mongering in the name of prevention, and most […]

US healthcare, wait times and the truth…

It’s time for another post on truth and healthcare. (This almost sounds like a good series.) I’ve recently written that the VA healthcare system represents the truth—and that Americans should get over the Pollyanna view that triage, wait lists, and taking care of increasing numbers of increasingly sick patients can be managed with magic. The […]

The danger of digital medicine

Sometimes I worry about where technology is leading the healthcare profession. It is not just the distraction of white screens and electronic health records. These are bad, terrible, in fact. The concern I have runs deeper than just monopolistic EHRs. We, and I mean we as in the caregivers, are losing touch with the basics. […]

Another VA lesson — Healthcare needs to stop being like flying business class

The VA healthcare story has me thinking about the good aspects of delays in medical therapy. Typical American intuitive thinking holds that healthcare waiting lists are a bad thing. The two central tenets of this mindset are that healthcare brings health, and most of medicine is as time sensitive as cardiac arrest or heart attack. […]

The VA healthcare system — Can we handle the truth?

Memorial Day weekend is an apt time to consider the recent accusations of wrongdoing in the VA healthcare system. It’s an opportunity to face the truth. As a free American, I am connected to veterans. It has always been remarkable that young people give their life or health for their country, but now, in this […]

Physician satisfaction: Seeing both sides of the debate

Students of the obvious might consider the topic of physician satisfaction one of mere folly. The “rich doctor” label is an easy one, and the recent Medicare data dump, which revealed hordes of physicians who were doing quite well, thank you, only strengthened it. Yet, when one moves past intuition, into analytical thinking, the contentment […]

Six initial impressions of the Medicare payment disclosure story

What a day it was for medical news. After much legal wrangling, specifically by the Wall Street Journal, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released detailed data on payments to 825,000 US physicians in 2012. It was called a “data dump.” Wow. Was it ever. The story was front page news in US […]

The simple reason the medical-home study failed…

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This week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a comprehensive study that has major health implications. Major because the negative findings should change how Americans think about health and healthcare. Plus, the findings validate a belief this doctor holds as truth. First my belief, then the study. One blog is enough for […]