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All Patients Are Empowered: And Other Myths About The E-Patient

Irrational exuberance was a term once used to describe the stock market before the last crash.  It also seems an apt description for much of the talk these days about empowered health consumers.

To be sure, patients today have unprecedented access to health information.  Patient decision-support tool can be found on just about every provider, payer and self-insured employer website.  Consumers can go to any number of websites to find quality data about hospitals, physicians and health plans.  Personal health records (PHRs) promise to make our personal health data portable for meaning that all our treating physicians will be “singing off the same song sheet.”

That’s what the industry experts tell us.  But what’s really going on?  Here I will describe what I see as the top 5 myths about empowered health consumers. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*

A Scientist Warns Against Some Forms Of Collaboration

Yesterday I went to go see my friend, the recently infrequently-mentioned Dr. Buttercup. When I first came to MRU, Dr. Buttercup was gracious enough to allow me to share lab space with him. That, coupled with our mutual love of beer and cake, meant that we saw each other quite frequently. Now that I have moved into other laboratory digs and find myself full of people, I see less of Dr. Buttercup and am the recipient of far less of his wisdom. It’s a shame. I miss that dude.

Then again, as soon as that guy received a grant score that someone told him was “fundable”, he became insufferable. Show off.

But, I digress. I saw Dr. Buttercup yesterday about a different matter and we got to discussing the idea of collaboration. He shared the notion that, as an Assistant Professor, collaboration is one of the funnest things he does. It’s also potentially one of the most dangerous because it robs your time without real reward. Still, brainstorming new experiments is fun and sometimes that additional effort on someone else’s grant pays the bills.

This made me think that the same is true for postdoc-level scientists and made me think about some collaborations I got myself into once upon a time. You see, when you’re a newly-minted, grown-up scientist, you’re on top of the world. Perhaps you start to feel like an expert in something and, perhaps, you’re enthusiastic to show the folks around you how good you are at what you do.

Don’t do it. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess*

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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