I’ve heard it a thousand times. 'The patient wanted testing done.' So the doctor ran a blood test. But few people really want a blood test. What they want is to know that they don’t have something horrible. I’ve seen it a thousand times with young parents. Anxiety competes with their trust in me as we discuss what could be going on with their child. I never ... Continue Reading about The Request for a Blood Test – Why More Testing May Not be Better
Possibly the biggest change that I’ve seen in clinical practice is the rising burden of health care costs on patients. On a daily basis I have difficult conversations with families as they face the grim reality of health costs offset in their direction. It’s captured pretty nicely here in this Bloomberg piece, Doctors are Fed Up with Being Turned Into Debt Collectors. ... Continue Reading about High-Deductible Insurance – 3 Consequences to Patient Care
This article in Stat, As social media ‘influencers,’ patients are getting a voice. And pharma is ready to pay up, raises questions about pharmaceutical supported patient influencers. An entire industry has cropped up to link drug makers with the industry’s own version of an influencer — people, usually patients, who have small but devoted followings and who might be ... Continue Reading about Patient Influencers: How Do We Protect Patients from Patients?
Running an algorithm for the management of a well-typed tumor or a child with a septic joint is relatively easy. But managing the expectations of that cancer patient or nervous mother is something more involved. Expectations are how we imagine the future given what we currently know and understand. Patient expectations are part of the human experience of ... Continue Reading about Human Experience of Disease and Patient Expectations
One of the most important roles I play as a physician is the management of patient expectations. The reason it’s so important stems from the nature of my work. As a gastroenterologist to small people I work in a grey-zone. I live in the space between intestinal pathology and the complicated lives of growing children and families. And if you know anything about ... Continue Reading about How to Manage Patient Expectations
I read recently about a patient who spent 4 hours in an ER but was never experienced touch by a human. Not surprising, really. Technology is doing a lot of what we used to do with our eyes, ears and hands. For better or worse. While physicians often associate touch with the physical exam, it can facilitate more powerful things. Here are a few things the hand can ... Continue Reading about Touch | Beyond the Physical Examination