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My Interview with Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande is the preeminent physician-writer of this generation. His new book, Being Mortal, is a runaway bestseller, as have been his three prior books, Complications, Better, and The Checklist Manifesto. One of the joys of my recent sabbatical in Boston was the opportunity to spend some time with Atul, getting to see what an […]

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Hospitalist Potpourri

I’m just back from the annual meeting of the Society of Hospital Medicine and, as usual, I was blown away. I’ve not seen a medical society meeting that is remotely like it. As Win Whitcomb, who co-founded SHM, wrote to me, the meeting is “a mix of love, deep sense of purpose, community, mission, changing-the […]

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Global Health Hospitalists: Strange but Noble Bedfellows

As my Division of Hospital Medicine has grown – now to about 60 faculty – I spend part of my time figuring out what direction we should go in. At times, the path is obvious. It didn’t take Wayne Gretsky to recognize that we needed expertise in healthcare IT a decade ago, or in cost […]

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#MomInHospital

A few weeks ago, a middle-aged man decided to tweet about his mother’s illness from her bedside. The tweets went viral and became the subject of a national conversation. The man, of course, was NPR anchorman Scott Simon, and his reflections about his mother’s illness and ultimate death are poignant, insightful, and well worth your […]

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How UCSF is Solving the Quality-Cost-Value Jigsaw Puzzle

I sometimes explain to medical students that they are entering a profession being transformed, like coal to diamonds, under the pressure of a new mandate. “The world is going to push us, relentlessly and without mercy, to deliver the highest quality, safest, most satisfying care at the lowest cost,” I’ll say gravely, trying to get […]

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(Not) Saving the Best for Last: Managing One’s Time on Rounds and Sign-Out

A clever little study was published last month in the Archives of Internal Medicine, and it – plus the fact that I’ve just started a stint as ward attending – prompted me to think about the importance of managing a set of tasks in the hospital. In my quarter-century of mentoring residents and faculty, I […]

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In Today’s JAMA: Abraham Verghese and I Discuss the Changing World of Ward Attendings

Senior attendings like to quip that the medical students seem to be getting younger every year. They’re not. But the attendings on the wards of American teaching hospitals actually have gotten younger. At UCSF Medical Center, for example, about 90% of our ward attending-months are now staffed by hospitalists, about half of them physicians in […]

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Gregory House, MD, RIP

The final episode of the show House, MD airs on FOX tonite. I wrote the following op-ed piece for USA Today; it’ll appear there tomorrow morning and is reproduced here with permission. Dr. Gregory House hung up his stethoscope and cane for the last time last night and shuffled off into eternal life in the […]

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Bedside Ultrasound for Hospitalists: Our Time Has Come

In 1949, the English-born physician John Wild, working at the University of Minnesota, discovered that he could determine the thickness of bowels injured in the war by bouncing sound waves though the abdominal wall. Over the next 30 years, medical ultrasound technology improved markedly, ultimately leading to the many uses we’re all familiar with. Once […]

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In Search of a New Rhythm on Today’s Wards

In Search of a New Rhythm on Today’s Wards

When I was a medical student, I remember wondering what my attendings did when they weren’t on the wards. As an attending now myself, trying to cram three half-month ward blocks into my hyperscheduled life each year, I find that sentiment charmingly naïve. I – like most of my faculty colleagues – am awfully busy […]

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