Family physician, author, blogger, speaker, physician leader.

Tag Archive for Atul Gawande

Will Technology and a New Cohort of Gen X Doctors Save Health Care?

I recently stumbled across a blog post by Dr. Jay Parkinson, an entrepreneur and founder of Sherpaa, who reflected on a recent private breakfast with New Yorker and best selling author Dr. Atul Gawande. The question posed by Gawande: Can technology be a change agent for health care? From Parkinson’s blog post, the response is: The inevitable answer is yes, with one important caveat. It’s not the technology that will change the practice of medicine, it’s the doctors who use the technology who will end up changing it. And it won’t come overnight. Many of the most influential doctors practicing medicine today have an antagonistic relationship with computers. Change will only come in a massive way when the under-40 generation takes control. Under-40s expect technology as impressive as Facebook, twitter, kayak, and tumblr to influence each and every moment of our practice. My generation simply doesn’t know how to live […] Read More »

The Seven Pillars of High Performing Primary Care Practices – Part One

In a previous post titled, “Is Making Primary Care More Professionally Satisfying as Simple as Lowering Panel Size” I observed that lowering panel size and implementation of an electronic medical record did not change how doctors worked. Those doctors who stayed late continued to stay late. Those who left earlier tended to continue to leave earlier. Within a health care organization often touted by many to be an example of how health care should be delivered in the country, this phenomenon existed. Why? Was making primary care more professionally satisfying and more attractive to future doctors simply more than lowering panel size? Doctors at the Permanente Medical Group, where I practice, do not have many of the frustrations of other primary care doctors. Doctors are salaried. There is no perverse incentive of doing more tests or more procedures when there is no medical benefit. Doing more is a common pressure […] Read More »

Why Health Care Reform Won’t Happen Without Physician Leadership

This past week has been filled with great articles that show the stunning gap between what we know and what we need to do in health care to make it more affordable, accessible, and higher quality. In a recent piece by NPR, research shows that when it comes to treatment of low back pain, doctors are prescribing more powerful pain medications (narcotics) and ordering more imaging tests like MRI and CT scans when there is no evidence these are better than anti-inflammatories, time, and rest. Reasons for gap? Solutions to make the care provided for low back pain more evidence and scientifically based, we first needed guidelines. In the past, we didn’t have guidelines. Now we have had guidelines for quite sometime. However, we also know it takes 17 years for an idea to spread to be commonly practiced and become the norm. So to help make change happen more […] Read More »

Doctors Must Lead Change in Gun Control and Mental Illness by following our Founding Fathers

I haven’t give much thought about gun control, but since the horrific unspeakable tragedy which occurred in Sandy Hook, Connecticut where 20 children and 6 adults were killed, I like many others are. Increasingly, crime scenes are now including movie theaters, malls, and schools, places where people escape reality, find gifts, goods or services for themselves, loved ones, or friends, and where the next generation of pupils learn. This trend must stop. For me, this tragedy is far more personal. I used to live not too far from the  picturesque quintessential New England town, Newtown. My children are roughly the same age as those children lost. The medical students I mentor aren’t much younger than the teachers killed. As a practicing doctor, I believe that this event will forever change the way the country views gun control. It is becoming a public health issue. As doctors, we pledge to do […] Read More »

Physician Leadership Matters – Learnings from the New England Patriots – Part III

It is always a treat, particularly when living on the West Coast, to watch the New England Patriots football team play on national television in their home stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts. On Monday Night Football, the match-up was between the Patriots and the Houston Texans, which had the best record in the AFC and undefeated in all away road games. As previously posted, there is much health care can learn from the mastery of execution led by head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady and many others. It continues to be a story about leadership, a culture of excellence, loyalty, and setting high expectations. Although a regular season game, the story unfolds as the Texans with one of the NFL’s best records entered Foxborough wanting to make a statement of their arrival among the elite teams and the Patriots, a team with a tradition of consistently high performance and excellence.  […] Read More »