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Advice From The EMR Trenches

The latest from moi: “Implementing Electronic Medical Records: Advice from the Trenches” in the March/April 2011 issue of HIT Exchange magazine. An excerpt:

The news released in late December from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that more than half of the nation’s physicians are now using electronic medical records (EMR)—double the adoption rate of just five years ago—is surely worth celebrating. Until, that is, you take a look and realize that just a fourth of office-based physicians have access to a “basic” EMR system including patient history, demographics, problem lists, clinical notes, and computerized physician order entry (CPOE), while just one in 10 has a “fully functional” system, which also includes the communication system required for meaningful use, such as the ability to send tests and prescriptions electronically.

But the floodgates are about to open. In January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began registering physicians and hospitals in 11 states for the EMR incentive program announced in 2009 as part of the federal stimulus package. Registration for California began in February, and the rest of the country should be up and running by the end of the year. Physicians could be eligible for up to $44,000 in bonuses over five years through Medicare and up to $63,750 over six years through Medicaid.

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine, Health Care, and the Writing Life*

The Mystery Of Alcoholics Anonymous

To further emphasize my admiration for superb sci/med/health writing, I wish to add another writer to my growing blog category of “Journalists, Awesome.”

Via my drug abuse research colleague, DrugMonkey, my attention was drawn to a new Wired magazine article by Brendan I. Koerner entitled, Secret of AA: After 75 Years, We Don’t Know How It Works. I strongly recommend this long-form article for anyone in the field of substance abuse and dependence research, psychology and general clinical research, students of excellent science writing, alcoholics and their family members, and anyone who thinks that good science writing no longer exists.

I don’t want to influence your views any further, other than to say that since I poured my first whiskey and water for my grandmother when I was around 7, I’ve had a longstanding interest in why Alcoholics Anonymous helps so many alcohol-dependent folks kick the disease for decades while others trying the approach continue to crash and burn or otherwise abhor its very tenets, especially the “Higher Power” focus. The reader comments there also reflect this bipolar view of the unorganized organization. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Terra Sigillata*

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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