Posts in Healthcare Delivery
What Does the Doctor-Patient Relationship in Your System Look Like

Despite a growing interest in some of the “soft” skills related to medicine and the enduring hope that reform will provide a more fertile ground for change, healthcare has generally transitioned away from the time when physicians developed strong interpersonal bonds with patients. You can blame time restraints, the depersonalization potential of the EMR and the way doctors are paid. But whatever the cause, the fact remains that the doctor-patient relationship has suffered.

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How Redesigning the Exam Room can Change Healthcare

The team care exam room represents a critical component in the PCMH, which supports a more effective delivery model for primary care medicine, which in turn, forms the foundation of healthcare reform itself. And on the more personal level, the exam room is where we are most likely to gain our greatest sense of satisfaction in practicing medicine, along with the financial remuneration that makes it all possible.

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What does your exam room need most?

If you've followed previous blogs it won’t come as a surprise that I put a lot of emphasis on the exam room not only as a key element in an individual practice, but also as a critical step in strengthening primary care medicine itself. As the path to healthcare reform becomes increasingly difficult to clearly follow, it’s a safe bet that I’ll focus on the exam room even more as one of the aspects of the medical world over which we can actually exert control. Of course, whenever we make changes in any part of the way we have practiced in the past there’s always going to be someone who tells us, “Don’t re-invent the wheel.” If you've been given that familiar advice lately, roll this over in your mind:

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Going Solo Doesn't Work in the Operating Room

This surgeon walks into an operating room and nobody is there except the patient. If that sounds like the beginning of a joke consider that the patient waiting for the procedure wouldn't find it very funny. A successful surgery requires the close cooperation of a number of operating room personnel. It relies on their familiarity with their specific roles, their preparedness and their ability to execute their responsibilities quickly and confidently.

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Rx for Physician Burnout

In a comprehensive analysis published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, more than 7,000 physicians were surveyed on their quality of life and job satisfaction. Almost half of them reported at least one symptom of burnout and the overall rate was considerably higher than other U.S. workers even after adjusting for a range of appropriate variables. The doctors described their symptoms with words like “overwhelmed”, “exhausted”, “detached” and “frustrated”.

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What would medicine look like without primary care doctors?

One of the most knowledgeable and insightful healthcare reporters I have had the pleasure of appearing with is Caitlin Burke of CBN TV and the 700 Club. She recently asked me, “What would medicine look like without primary care doctors?” What a wonderful question and one we should be asking ourselves as the primary care crisis in our nation continues to unfold.

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