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How Cell Phones Are Changing the Therapist-Patient Relationship

In my training as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, I’ve learned to pay close attention to the details: I notice when my patients change their tone of voice, when the flow of their ideas shifts direction, or when they seem to enter a new emotional state. This focus on my patients is essential to doing my […]

Care

What Makes People Like and Dislike Their Doctors?

For many years, online reviews have been an important resource for digital consumers. While these reviews mainly originated for things like restaurant recommendations and eCommerce purchases, sites now aggregate ratings of everything from churches to colleges and even hospitals. Given the powerful effects online reviews can have on the health of a business, healthcare providers […]

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Mindfulness at Work: Bringing Joy to the Practice of Medicine

Recent news stories have catapulted the value of providing “mindfulness” and the health community is paying attention. Clinically introduced by Dr. John Kabat-Zinn in 1979, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) brings together mindfulness meditation, body scanning and simple yoga postures over an eight-week training program. Participants are taught that they can decrease their response to stress through “moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.” Compelling research studies published in 2015 show MBSR is effective for veterans with PTSD, relief of depression and anxiety among patients with cancer, a better quality of life for individuals living with inflammatory bowel disease, treatment of insomnia, alleviation of depression in the elderly living in nursing homes, and decreasing chronic low back pain. Read more...

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Why Medicine Needs Its Stories

I was at a dinner meeting for our hospital last week, and before everyone went in to sit at their tables and hear the evening’s speeches, there was some time for the usual networking over wine in the reception room. I got chatting with an established local primary care physician. A respected member of the hospital staff who has been in practice for over 30 years. He’s quite a presence and a great clinician, someone who still finds himself coming into the hospital to work on various administrative duties. I expect every hospital in the country has characters like him wandering around. Read more...

Patient Honesty in the Exam Room: Doctors React to New Survey

To any physician, the fact that patients aren’t always entirely honest about their health concerns will come as no surprise. Health issues are tremendously personal, and we all know how challenging they can be to discuss. Yet the more detailed and accurate the doctor-patient relationship becomes, the better equipped both parties are for success. Read…

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Is it Okay for Doctors to Email and Text Patients?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal addressed the controversies surrounding the use of email communication between doctor and patient. This practice is fraught with significant legal, personal, and professional issues. Patients certainly deserve prompt answers to their questions and reasonable access to their providers – but should we as physicians be accessible via email 24 hours a day? The WSJ piece profiles a few physicians and highlights the way in which each uses email to communicate with patients. Based on recent national surveys, it appears that currently nearly 30 percent of physicians communicate via email to their patients. Nearly 18 percent actually used text messaging to interact with patients. Estimates suggest that only 5 percent of American patients included in the survey use email or text to communicate with their physicians or other healthcare providers. Read more...