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Patient Safety’s First Scandal: The Sad Case of Chuck Denham, CareFusion, and the NQF

In retrospect – always in retrospect – it should have been obvious that, when it came to Dr. Charles Denham, something was not quite right. In a remarkable number of cases of medical errors, it’s clear – again, in retrospect – that there were signs that something was amiss, but they were ignored. The reasons […]

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HIT Job: How the New York Times Blew it on Healthcare IT

I’m well aware that a good fraction of the people in this country – let’s call them Rush fans – spend their lives furious at the New York Times. I am not one of them. I love the Grey Lady; it would be high on my list of things to bring to a desert island. But […]

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Doctors, Tend to Your Online Reputations. KevinMD’s Terrific New Book Tells How

Kevin Pho, better known as KevinMD, is the nation’s leading physician-social media guru. He and his colleague Susan Gay were nice enough to invite me to write the foreword to their book, “Establishing, Managing, and Protecting Your Online Reputation: A Social Media Guide for Physicians and Medical Practices,” which was published today. I think it’s […]

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The US News “Best Hospitals” List: In God We Trust, All Others Must Bring Data

I knew it would happen sooner or later, and earlier this week it finally did. In 2003 US News & World Report pronounced my hospital, UCSF Medical Center, the 7th best in the nation. That same year, Medicare launched its Hospital Compare website. For the first time, quality measures for patients with pneumonia, heart failure, and […]

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Today’s Supreme Court Decision: My Two Cents

The United States government, for all its exasperating foibles and silliness, retains the capacity to surprise and even delight. Five years ago, who could have guessed that we would elect a centrist African-American president with a middle name of Hussein. Three years ago, who could have guessed that our deeply divided Congress would pass ambitious […]

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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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Digital Distractions: Time for a Diet

Digital Distractions: Time for a Diet

It’s been said that losing weight is much harder than kicking cigarettes or alcohol. After all, because one doesn’t need to smoke or drink, the offending substances can simply be kept out of sight (if not out of mind). Dieting, on the other hands, involves changing the way a person does something we all must […]

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A Look Back – 30 Years Later – At The Impact Of AIDS On Residency Training

A Look Back – 30 Years Later – At The Impact Of AIDS On Residency Training

Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the first reports of a cluster of cases of pneumocystis pneumonia in gay men in Los Angeles. While I’ve recently heard a number of reflections on these early years, I’ll focus on a topic that I haven’t seen covered: how AIDS transformed training – including my own – […]

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Can Berwick Be Saved? Here’s One Possible Scenario

Can Berwick Be Saved? Here’s One Possible Scenario

We’ve all had the experience of hearing someone we know well say or write something totally out of character, and wondering, “what was that about?” Don Berwick said such a thing last week, all-but-contradicting President Obama’s support for a strengthened, independent Medicare payment board. After a little head scratching, I began to wonder whether this […]

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The Partnership for Patients: The Inside Scoop on a Game Changing Safety Initiative

An hour ago, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Medicare chief Don Berwick announced the “Partnership for Patients,” a far-reaching federal initiative designed to take a big bite out of adverse events in American hospitals. The program – which aims to decrease preventable harm in U.S. hospitals by 40 percent and preventable […]

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