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Patient Care

Latest Stories


Turning Your Practice Data into Actionable Insights

Like many acute care facilities around the country, the Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas sees a lot of patients with heart-related ailments. Following a cardiac event, the practices of follow-up monitoring, ensuring medication adherence, and identifying high-risk patient populations are all instrumental in reducing readmission risk. A study from December 2013 examined the […]


How Physicians are Coping with Self-Diagnosis in the Information Age

Bryan Vartabedian, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist practicing in the Woodlands, Texas, has a bone to pick with eosinophils. A type of white blood cell that can be elevated in patients with inflammatory bowel conditions like milk allergies or Crohn’s, Vartabedian has found himself repeatedly explaining to anxious parents who have Googled test results that their […]


How Technology Helps, and Hurts, Healthcare

Robert was the picture of health. He had run eight marathons and finished countless 5K and 10K races. He tracked everything from sleep to food intake, logging his exercise parameters religiously. A seven minute mile was a routine workout for Robert. But over the course of a few days, he noticed that he felt more winded during his run. One morning, when he awoke and checked his heart rate variability (HRV), it revealed a unusual drop. His VO2 max had also fallen considerably. So Robert sent an email to his physician, sharing his data and concerns. His doctor was also a runner, and loved when his patients armed him with data that enabled him to treat them. Read more...


Why Are Appointments Booked Online Canceled Less?

Back in medical school, I always heard how hard it was for patients to get in to see a doctor in dermatology, my chosen field. It was a refrain I often found a little difficult to believe, considering how many newly minted dermatologists graduate each year, not to mention how this specialty usually can see more patients in a day than a family physician. Living in Houston, I had only to look on Zocdoc to see appointment availabilities to fit almost every sub-speciality, time requirement, and insurance plan. Yet talking to patients, the problem seemed very real, and especially so when I left Houston to work in a rural setting. But what I also began to notice, having now joined the workforce, was how many appointments were cancelled – and how many last-minute openings even my busiest colleagues seemed to have. Could it be that the lack of doctor availability isn’t just due to a physician shortage, but to the way patients schedule and attend their appointments? Read more...

Most Popular in Patient Care

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…


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...

Care, Grow

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 more...

Care, Grow

Changing Patient Feedback Forms Could Transform Healthcare

We’ve all seen them: those once paper but increasingly digital forms that enthusiastically request our feedback.Tell us how we’re doing, they cheerfully announce, or Help us improve! Some of us even send them out as part of our practices or health systems or educational programs. We also fill them out, both as regular citizens and as clinicians. Or we mean to. I certainly try to, with some exceptions. Recently, I deleted a survey from a hotel I stayed at for one night in a country I am unlikely to return to in this lifetime. I just didn’t care enough to bother. Read more...