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Latest Posts

Healthcare Staff: Please Hold The Snark

Every once in awhile I have the distinct “pleasure” of being a patient. This week I was reminded about how awful it is. I didn’t mind the blood draws, poking and prodding, injections, or interaction with my physician, but it was the rudeness of the ancillary and administrative staff that really got under my skin. I had forgotten how unfriendly people can be, and how especially hard it is to deal with when you’re not feeling well. Context is everything when it comes to rolling your eyes and sighing heavily. Let me explain.

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Patients Are Avoiding Healthcare Because Of Costs

One in five Americans didn’t seek medical care for a recent illness or injury, often because of the cost, according to a survey of adults polled by a healthcare consulting firm, and the number of people who saw a doctor fell as well.

Four out of 10 adults said the cost was the main reason not to seek care, a trend that be driven by unemployment and health insurance costs, said a survey by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. They surveyed more than 4,000 adults. Also, 79 percent of respondents sought medical attention from a doctor or other health care professional in 2010, down from 85 percent in 2009. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*

Health News Consumers Tired Of Misinterpreted Studies

People aren’t dumb. Even if — or maybe especially if — news stories don’t point out the limitations of observational studies and the fact that they can’t establish cause-and-effect, many readers seem to get it.

Here are some of the online user comments in response to a CNN.com story that is headlined, “Coffee may cut risk for some cancers“:

* “I love how an article starts with something positive and then slowly becomes a little gloomy. So is it good or not? I’m still where I was with coffee, it’s all in moderation, it ain’t gonna solve your health woes.”

* “The statistics book in a class I’m taking uses coffee as an example of statistics run amuck. It seems coffee has caused all the cancers and cures them at the same time.” Read more »

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

A TV Physician Is Not Your “Doctor” Or “Coach”

A German physician wrote me about this, so while CNN may have an international reach, it’s not always with an adoring audience.

The physician was reacting to the weekend “Paging Dr. Gupta” program, which Dr. Gupta referred to once as “SG, MD.” The first thing that struck me was his introduction, in which he said:

“I’m your doctor. I’m also your coach.”

Later in the program he said:

“Think of this as your appointment. No waiting. No insurance necessary.”

I find this very troubling. He’s not my doctor. He’s not my coach. When I watch a “news” program, it’s NOT my medical appointment. It’s supposed to be news, not medical advice.

But that’s not what the German physician wrote to me about, so I kept watching (the segment in question appears about 5 minutes and 30 seconds deep, and after the 30-second commercial you have to watch to get there):

Gupta reacted to a viewer’s message on Twitter in which the tweep asked: “Does anyone know a ‘miracle’ treatment for ovarian cancer?” Read more »

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

Is Healthcare Reform Dead?

One of my favorite movie scenes is from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” when an unfortunate soul pleads with the designated collector of corpses (this being after the plague, mind you) that “I’m not dead … yet.” The collector responds by whacking him on the head … until he is, in fact, quite dead.

This scene comes to mind as I blog about yesterday’s stunning GOP upset of the seat-that-used-to-be-held-by Ted Kennedy. If the election of Republican Scott Brown didn’t quite kill off health care reform, some Democrats are quite willing to complete the task. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*

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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