How can you tell whether your doctor is any good?



On my last night of residency, a friend and I swapped our most memorable stories. We recalled the nights of panic and triumph caring for dozens of critically ill patients, about the day — okay, [...]

Is It Getting Harder to Care for Poor Patients?



In my more exasperated moments of residency, I must admit I was envious not only of what my supervising doctors knew, but also who they treated. Residents in our clinic, doctors in training just [...]

Can Low-Intensity Care Solve High Health Care Costs?



How much you spend on medical care depends on what you get, but also where you get it. Confoundingly to many, the cost of the same procedure on the same patient by the same physician can vary by [...]

The Largest Health Disparity We Don’t Talk About



I didn’t think our relationship would last, but neither did I think it would end so soon. My patient had struggled with bipolar disorder his entire life, and his illness dominated our years [...]

Telemedicine is getting trendy, but doctors may not be keeping up



For years, doctors have been told to look at the patient — not the computer — when providing medical care. What we haven’t been told is what to do when there’s only a computer. Telemedicine is [...]

We’re Bad at Evaluating Risk. How Doctors Can Help.



My patient and I were locked in a game of decision-making hot potato. “What would you do, Doc?” he said. We’d been discussing whether he should get screened for prostate cancer. Such questions [...]

Whatever a doctor’s political views, end-of-life care is the same



It’s no secret that we live in an era of historic political polarization. Almost daily we’re reminded of the corrosive consequences of Americans drifting apart: Polarization affects how we work, [...]

Do You Trust the Medical Profession?



Trust, in each other and in American institutions, is vital for our social and economic well-being: It allows us to work, buy, sell and vote with some reasonable expectation that our behavior [...]

You’re Sick. Whose Fault Is That?



On my pediatrics rotation in medical school, several residents told me they worked with children in part because they sometimes found themselves judging adults: Did they do drugs? Were they fat? [...]

Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One.



My favorite medical diagnosis is “failure to thrive.” Not because patients are failing to thrive — that part makes me sad. But because of the diagnosis’s bold proposition: Humans, in their [...]