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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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Dr. Joseph S. Alpert

Emotional States and Sudden Death

It has been known anecdotally for thousands of years that acute positive or negative emotions can trigger sudden death. Indeed, there is even a Bible story about a man who died suddenly when confronted with a rebuke from one of Jesus’s disciples: “St. Luke reports that when Ananias was charged by Peter, ‘You have not […]

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Joseph S. Alpert

Do We Learn More from Our Mistakes than from Our Successes?

For years I have believed that you can learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. It is a dictum that I have quoted many times on rounds with residents and students. I tell them that I still remember the mistakes made as an intern, but the success stories have faded from my brain. […]

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