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House Calls

When I was a medical student, 50 years ago, physicians, especially pediatricians, internists, and family physicians, were still making house calls as part of their provision of care for their patients.1 The symbol of the practicing physician at that time was the “black bag,” which contained diagnostic tools like the stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, tuning fork, reflex hammer, […]

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Social Media and Physician Conflict of Interest

The use of social media by physicians has increased substantially in recent years, with some estimates reporting increases from 41.6% in 2010 to as high as 90% in 2011.1 While personal use is more common, approximately 65% of physicians interact with various social media platforms for professional reasons.1 For example, some physicians use social media to promote […]

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Dr. Joseph S. Alpert

Socrates on Quality

Following several hours of vigorous exercise on a warm afternoon in the spring of 410 bce, Socrates converses with Asculepo, a young medical student attending the Hippocrates School of Medicine in Athens. Asculepo is telling Socrates about several recent lectures at the school on the subject of quality in healthcare. Socrates: A wonderful afternoon, Asculepo, perfect weather […]

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Learning to De-Adopt Ineffective Healthcare Practices

With rapidly rising healthcare costs constraining US wages and forcing difficult policy decisions, there is increasing pressure to identify means to decrease spending. One attractive target is the de-adoption of medical practices found to be ineffective or harmful. Just as emerging scientific evidence can support novel practices that improve health, it can also reverse beliefs […]

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Medical Axioms: The Pithy Little Sayings That Reflect Deeper Knowledge

  I love axioms. Perhaps it is the result of hearing them from one of my earliest mentors in medical school. Or perhaps it is the result of advice given me by my journalist/English teacher mother who told me that everything you write can be improved by condensation. Whatever the underlying reason, I continue to […]

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