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Latest Posts

New AMA Report: More Than 40% Of U.S. Physicians Are Victims Of Lawsuits

badappleI received this press release and was depressed by the prevalence of lawsuits filed against doctors in this country. More than 40% of physicians are sued at some point in their careers, and the vast majority of these suits are found to be meritless. If that doesn’t make you want to quit practicing medicine, I don’t know what does.

This kind of litigious climate definitely adds to my stress levels — and makes me fearful of caring for very sick and fragile patients who are likely to have poor outcomes, regardless of what I do. Many of my colleagues practice medicine with one eye always looking over their shoulder, wondering when that one bad apple will take them to court in an attempt at a financial windfall.

In Canada, those who bring frivolous lawsuits to court are responsible for all legal costs. Read more »

Should Hospitals Provide Live Twitter Streams Of Surgical Procedures?

Should hospitals send twitter “updates” on patients undergoing complicated catheter ablation procedures using “pre-approved” scripted story lines?

In a far corner of the operating room Thursday, a Web producer and a cardiac expert with St. Vincent’s huddled over a laptop. They chronicled the procedure largely from a script that Oza had signed off on a day earlier.

The procedure uses radio frequencies to scar parts of the heart. The scars block signals sent from a quartet of veins in the left atrium, signals that cause the heart to go haywire. The entire procedure is done using a catheter inserted into a patient’s groin while the patient is anesthetized. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Do EMRs Increase The Risk Of Being Sued?

Doctors are pushed to adopt electronic medical records harder than ever before.

However, costs are often the prohibitive obstacle, and whether the current generation of EMRs improve patient care remains in question.

But what about liability? Surely, more complete, legible medical records would reduce the risk of being sued. Right?

Well, it’s not that cut and dry. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

The 2000-Word Patient Email

We assume that technology will improve communication between doctors and patients.

But not always.

Look at the 2,000 word email.

While it isn’t yet the standard means of communication in our clinic (it will be soon) we occasionally take email from patients.  My experience has been that they’re sometimes long and unfocused with tangential information irrelevant to the problem at hand. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*

Female Surgeon Propositioned By Patient Via Facebook

There is an interesting article in E-Health Europe about how patients try to contact doctors on Facebook, the popular social networking site, and how doctors shouldn’t respond to them. In my “Medicine and Web 2.0” university credit course, we cover this important issue several times and I try to provide students with useful pieces of advice about how to avoid such problems.

The Medical Defence Union said it was aware of a number of cases where patients have attempted to proposition doctors by sending them an unsolicited message on Facebook or similar sites.

The medical defence body said it would be “wholly inappropriate” to respond to a patient making an advance in such a way. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

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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