Yep, You Can Yelp Us

Some of the country’s best doctors have the worst patient satisfaction scores.

Want to know why?

Part of training to become a fee-for-service doctor is learning how to suppress your feelings. You get good at being who people want you to be, not who they need you to be.

You’re slowly transformed into something you didn’t foresee–a Stepford doctor out to please everyone with a sycophantic grin and forcibly appealing demeanor, hoping that your patient satisfaction survey will be favorable, no matter the cost.

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Stop Losing Primary Care Physicians To Burnout

Here’s a central difficulty of the Affordable Care Act: If everyone has access to health insurance, then everyone has access to all the medical care they need. But curing sickness and preventing death is costly, so why not save money and lives by making primary care doctors more affordable?

After all, it’s our business to KEEP you healthy. And keeping you healthy cuts costs in the long-run.

However, we don’t and won’t have enough primary care providers in the United States unless things change.

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The Immeasurable Value Of Direct Care — Time To Listen

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– Stephen Cocksedge, Listening as Work in Primary Care

That’s worth repeating: 85% of diagnoses can be made just by listening to the patient.

It’s clear cut: When doctors do not have enough time to listen the result is that they do not listen.

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Welcome To The Broken American Healthcare System. Where Dissatisfied Docs Can’t Provide Quality Care.

According to Afshine Ash Emrani, MD, the worst news in healthcare isn’t antibiotic resistance, drug-drug interactions, hospital-acquired infections, and definitely not the alarming rate of obesity in our youth.

No, the worst news is the increasing number of dissatisfied physicians.

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America Spends The Most On Healthcare. Tell That To 3,900 People Who Just Lost Their Hospital Jobs.

Affected by reduced payments, hospitals in Pennsylvania cut 3,900 jobs from February 2013 to February 2014. Oh and more layoffs and budget cuts are expected, according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.

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Healthcare Startups Can Save Lives, Rake in Money, And Introduce Competition.

Ron Gutman is on a mission to bring back the village doctor. But he’s going about it in a different way than we are. He runs a three-year-old startup called HealthTap. They offer an online service that replicates a house call. With his app, you can instantly connect with physicians via the net and ask them personal medical questions.

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American Healthcare Deception Starts And Stops With Insurance

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, M.D. posted a powerful blog entry on the New York Times website. He describes the ideal doctor-patient relationship, a place where intimacy transpires and information is exchanged openly and honestly. But he adds a caveat: “That is seldom the reality… Deception in the doctor-patient relationship is more common than we’d like to believe.”

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Are Pillbox Apps Just Nagging Parents In Disguise?

Getting patients to take their pills requires something more than an app -- it's called finesse.

Getting patients to take their pills requires something more than an app — it’s called finesse.

We’re big fans of technology here at Atlas MD. We bring our iPads into the examination room. We field phone calls from our patients. We’ve coordinated prescriptions and medications with pharmacies and then texted timely information to patients in need. Dr. Doug has literally brought tears of joy to a woman’s eyes for such an effort. So you’d think that helping people take their pills would be the perfect thing for a mobile app to do, right?

Well, there plenty of apps offering this service on the app store. But are they getting people to take their pills?

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A Doctor Reminds Us that Patients Are in Control

We had to share this harrowing story of Dr. Annie Brewster, who is both a physician and patient. See, she suffers from MS, and in dealing with her condition, she’s gained amazing insight into what it’s like on the other side of the gurney. She explains:

“Being on the patient side has changed me as a doctor. Now, I see more clearly that no medical decision is simple. While my job is to make recommendations to patients based on my medical knowledge, there is no one answer.”

According to Dr. Brewster, what is ultimately “right” is based on a multitude of factors and we may not have the precise answer within our reach. Now she tells her patients when she suggests any treatment, “You are in charge.” Being as we were just reading about a healthcare future that’s been Walmart-ized and might have machines dictating our treatments, this seems especially relevant. What do you think happens if primary care physicians are to be replaced by software algorithms and nurses? Would patients be less stubborn? Would they be even less likely to listen to their own intuition?

Again, these are ambiguous, difficult issues to discern. But regardless, it’s humanizing to remember that in spite of all our education, training and experience, we are not the final call. Really, it’s up to the patient to trust us and follow a treatment plan that works for them. Our job is to take the time to make sure we’re offering the most sound advice within our own reason and skill set.

READ DR. ANNIE BREWSTER’S PATIENT-PHYSICIAN PERSPECTIVE

BBC Reports “Doctor Slang” is a Dying Art

Well, the cat’s out of the bag. Doctors have been keeping their sanity amidst the pressures of a considerably serious line of work — by creating a secret language of funny acronyms. However, with the advent of EMR, acronym usage has waned. We’re going to plead the Fifth as to whether or not Atlas MD uses cryptic codes to label our patients, and whether or not Atlas.md, our direct care EMR, will render them obsolete.

That said, a panel of “PhDs” (pretentious hardly doctors) — wait, excuse us, that was a slip — a panel of “ethicists” worked to compile existing abbreviations. Yes, some were particularly offensive, like GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt). For the most part, doctor slang was more offensive to colleagues, though. The report indicates that in general, doctors’ notes have been kinder to patients in recent years. Also of note were variations, in England specifically, indicative of regional dialect.

READ ALL ABOUT DOCTOR SLANG ON THE BBC