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Latest Posts

Dr. Frank Ryan’s Death: What We Can Learn From It

I’ll be honest — I’d never heard of Dr. Frank Ryan, a Hollywood plastic surgeon, until his tragic motor vehicle accident recently. Clients included actress Heidi Montag and boxer Oscar De La Hoya.

Although the California Highway Patrol investigation isn’t complete, rumors have suggested that Dr. Ryan may have been text messaging when driving. If this is true and an intelligent, well-trained doctor can fall prey to the allure of technology, then what does it mean for the rest of us?

First, realize that we can’t multitask. You have one brain. You can focus at one task at a time. Though laws allow hands-free cellphone calls, the issue isn’t trying to dial the phone but rather that the mind is engaged in the conversation and not on the road. Yes, we are all increasingly busy, but we can’t multitask. In fact, researchers have found that it takes more time and effort to refocus when we are distracted from one task to the other. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Article Boasts New Birth Center’s “Luxury Hotel” Amenities

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune headline: “Buffalo birthing center has the latest amenities.” An excerpt:

Starting in August, new mothers will have a chance to multi-task in style in Buffalo, Minn.

The local hospital is unveiling its new birth center, where every patient room will be equipped with an iPod docking station, a flat-screen TV and DVD player, a soaking tub, rocking chair and refrigerator — oh, and a place for the baby to sleep, too.

Buffalo Hospital has spent $7.1 million to turn its old labor and delivery unit into a state-of-the-art facility to appeal to a new generation of patients.

At maternity wards around the country, that increasingly means catering to patients and families as if they’re at “a luxury hotel,” as the Buffalo Hospital website puts it.

And some smart readers have reacted. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Is Your “Brand” Confusing?

Last week I scribbled about the future of the social health community. This week I’m in Australia speaking about screaming babies, practical parenting, and social media — such divergent things.

I’ve listened to author Tim Sanders suggest that a person needs to stick to just one thing or folks will be confused about who you really ARE – your “brand” will get fuzzy. I’m not sure. While having a niche is important, it’s not everything. 

Case in point: Steven B. Johnson is one of this generation’s most talented nonfiction authors. By day he oversees his social startup By night he travels the globe speaking about his bestselling books, among them Ghostmaps and The Invention of Air. In his free time you’ll find him writing cover features for Time magazine.

And then there’s Daniel Pink, former speechwriter for Al Gore and peripatetic bestselling author, speaker, and thinker.  Manga, motivation, videos on travel tips — nothing is outside his realm it seems.

Two remarkable people defined more by their curiosity and thinking than the imposed confines of a tangible niche — and it works for them. I’m guessing that Johnson and Pink don’t spend a lot of time fashioning their look.  They just “do” — and do it well. Perhaps that’s how I’d like to be seen.

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Multi-Task

I’ve been fighting pretty hard to avoid the temptation to multitask. I plan to do so again this year. People who claim to multitask are viewed with awe. Attaining the skill is a badge of honor. In a society that is increasingly 24 /7 where demands from work, family, and friends seems endless and the opportunities to be connected are more, how can a person survive if they simply do one task at a time?

Simple. Research suggests that the person who single tasks actually does better work, focuses better, and is productive.

Oh and it might save your life. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

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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