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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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Work–Life Balance, Burnout, and the Electronic Health Record

United States physicians were studied by Shanafelt et al in 2011, and again in 2014, regarding burnout and satisfaction with work–life balance.1 Physician burnout increased significantly, from 45.5% to 54.4%. Parallel studies of all US workers during the same period showed no changes. There are several possible explanations for this. New physician members were added to the […]

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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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American Journal of Medicine Editor Joseph Alpert

Please Say Thank You

I frequently get letters from readers regarding one of my editorials or commentaries. Editorials and commentaries in The American Journal of Medicine (AJM) are expressions of opinion by the author of the piece. Of course, most observations in the Journal deal with medical topics, although occasionally they will stray into remarks about life in general or current events. As […]

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