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Physician Questions The Need For Demographic Data With The EMR

Race is a medically meaningless concept.

Spare me the few tired cliches about prostate cancer, diabetes, and sarcoidosis being more common in blacks than whites, or even the slightly increased risk of ACEI cough in patients of Asian descent. We screen Jews of Ashkenazi descent for Tay Sachs without any racial labeling. All that information is readily accessible under the Family History section of the medical history. It is no more than custom which dictates the standard introductory format including age, race, and gender. It turns out I’ve blogged about this before at some length (pretty good post, actually). What is new is the advent of electronic medical records.

Much hullabaloo has been made about federal stimulus funds allocated to doctors as payments for adopting EMRs; “up to $44,000!” Here’s the problem with that figure, though, including how it breaks down (source here): Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Dinosaur*

Medical News Stories: Beware Of Insufficient Evidence

After seeing the NBC Nightly News last night, a physician urged me to write about what he saw: a story about a “simple blood test that could save women’s lives.”

Readers – and maybe especially TV viewers – beware whenever you hear a story about “a simple blood test.”

And this is a good case in point.

Brian Williams led into the story stating:

“Two of three women who die suddenly of cardiac heart disease have no previous symptoms which is all the more reason women may want to ask their doctors about a blood test that can be a lifesaver.”

Then NBC News chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman said:

“It’s not a new test, it’s not an experimental test but nonetheless it’s a test not a lot of people know about and that’s a problem because this simple blood test could save your life.”

The test in question is Read more »

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

Inherited Health: Building Family Medical Histories

More than a year ago I wrote about AccessDNA, which now changed focus and became Inherited Health. Jordanna Joaquina, M.S., C.G.C., Director of Genetics and Co-Founder of Inherited Health, shared what kind of changes they implemented into the site:

— We have created an easy-to-use and secure tool that allows people and their biological relatives to collectively create and update their family health history together.

— We then analyze the family history information to create a personal health guide, which identifies hereditary disease risks and provide actionable guidance about how to lower these risks for each family member.

— We also provide a summary of the family health history that can be printed and shared with doctors and helps avoid repeatedly filling out health history forms at doctors office and improves the accuracy of the information provided because of collaborative family effort.

Click HERE to see an image of a whole health report, with all the details and disease risks.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

The Divide Between You And Your Medical Records

You have a right to your medical record. It’s true –- the record of every test and procedure you’ve had done, any films or studies, your doctors notes — it’s all yours if you ask for it. But it’s not that simple.

If you’re sick, your “record” is likely in pieces in lots of different places. Some of it is in paper files and computers in the offices of each of your doctors, or in the clinics where you had a test or procedure. It’s in multiple computer systems in a hospital, or in a folder in a radiology department, a container in a pathology department, or the computer system of a pharmacy. Each of these places has their own policy or procedure if you want your record. There are forms you have to fill out, fees you have to pay, time you have to wait.

So while you have a “right” to your records, for practical purposes, you’re going to have a very difficult time actually getting them. (By the way, this is something our team at Best Doctors does very well.) But let’s say you actually get all of your medical records. Now what? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

A Tough Route To Becoming A Doctor

This occurred after a liver, heart, lung, and kidney transplant:

Allison John, 32, made medical history in 2006 after she received her fourth organ transplant — a kidney from her father, 61-year-old David John, to add to her previous heart, lung and liver transplants.

A life plagued by illness and frequent hospital visits has not deterred John from her dream of becoming a doctor, however. After 14 years of interrupted study, she finally received her medical degree from Cardiff University last month, according to the U.K. press.


-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

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

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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