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Latest Posts

Mystery Providers: Healthcare Professionals And Identification Badges

So I’m in the exam room recently with a new patient. After some initial dialog with the child and family, I launched into the business of problem solving. Ten minutes into my history the mother politely asks: “I’m sorry, and you are?…

I hadn’t introduced myself. I had left my ID badge at my workstation, and by order of some innocent distraction with the child or family, I hadn’t identified myself immediately on entering the room. This is rare.

Sometimes I assume people will know who I am. But I don’t wear a white coat and my stethoscope is concealed. I wear clothes only good enough to sustain the barrage of regurgitation, urine, full-frontal coughs, and sloppy hugs that mark a successful clinic day. A colleague once told me I dress like an algebra teacher. I haven’t quite processed that one, but suffice it to say it’s easy to fall into a mistaken identity.

So I apologized and made a proper introduction. What’s remarkable is how far I went without the mother having any idea about my identity. I can imagine that it took a certain amount of wherewithal to interrupt the person she suspected was the doctor to ask such a basic question. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Should Doctors Be Socially Anonymous?

I don’t think doctors should be socially anonymous. We need to be seen. Here’s why going underground isn’t good policy for physicians:

Anonymity makes you say stupid things. When you’re shouting from the crowd it’s easy to talk smack.  Come up to the podium, clear your throat, and say something intelligent. You’re a physician, not a hooligan.

It’s 2010: Anonymity died a long time ago. You think anonymity offers shelter? You’re funny, you are. Anonymity is a myth. You can create a cockamamie pseudonym, but you can’t hide.  And if I don’t find you, the plaintiff attorneys will. They found Flea.

Being a weanie is no excuse. Just as you’re unlikely to consult a lawyer before speaking at a cocktail party, commenting as Dr. You is unlikely to kill you or land you in court. Just a few pointers: Don’t talk about patients, help people out, and be nice. Trust me, I’m a doctor. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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