10 Things the NSA Would Find Out if They Asked for My Personal Records

Last week over at HuffPo, Peter van Buren wrote an article about *gasp* the NSA being able to request medical records (and I’m supposed to be shocked by this revelation?) To reduce any symptoms of mass hysteria this article, or any like it, might cause, here’s my RX: 10 Reasons The NSA Don’t Give A S*** About My Medical Records! #10: I’m a twenty-two year old caucasian female who is five feet six inches tall (I asked if they could round up from 5ft 5 and ¾ inches) and weighs 115lbs (I mean, that’s not a lie, I did weigh that much one time. . .for like a week. . .) NSA’s Interpretation: “A woman lying about her weight? Unheard of. This warrants further investigation.” #9: I currently work in the same hospital I was born in: and the first thing I did after I exited my mother’s womb was poop on the table (isn’t the mom-to-be the one worried about doing that?). NSA’s Interpretation: “Clearly this was a tactic used by the baby to distract the doctor so that the mother could hide national security secrets in her vagina.” #8: When I was like 3, I fell on to one of those plastic toy shopping carts (and was shirtless I guess?) Yeah so the plastic splintered and cut my boob so bad it bled for three days but...

Face It, US Healthcare Sucks. But There’s Still Hope

America is a pretty great country. You may even think it’s the best. But it’s not.   I know you’re thinking, “This girl is so unpatriotic,” but I’m not at fault. There’s no denying the statistics. If you look to where the well-being of our people lie, the healthcare system, you’ll see we are nowhere near the top (well, except for health care costs). Where We Stand A 2013 survey published by The Commonwealth Fund showed that in comparison to 10 other industrialized nations, the United States fared the worst in terms of health care cost, access, and affordability. For example, 37% of US adults did not get the care they needed because of cost while 4% and 6% of United Kingdom and Sweden citizens faced the same issue. Also, 41% of those in the US spent $1,000 or more out-of-pocket regardless of insurance status while only 2% and 3% respectively of Sweden and United Kingdom citizens had to pay similar costs. You can see these data for these countries and others displayed in the graphs below. While our healthcare system is making it difficult for us to get adequate care and costing us a bundle, we’re also overall less healthy. We’re the second most obese of well-populated countries with 31.8% obesity only falling short to Mexico with nearly a third of its citizens packing the extra pounds according...

5 Reasons To Start Listening To Podcasts

1. You don’t want to listen to slayer on your morning commute. There was this guy who lived on my floor freshman year of college who casually admitted that he didn’t “really like listening to music.” Everyone thought this was equal parts hilarious and bizarre, as well as a potential warning sign that we lived amongst a future serial killer, but I still think of him whenever I’m not in the mood for tunes. Although modern technology allows us to put music in our ear holes pretty much 24/7, there are plenty of times (that dreaded morning commute comes to mind) when I’m too busy idly contemplating suicide to deal with the emotional demands of a song. In fact, the pleasant distractions of an engaging conversation are just about the only thing I can tolerate until about noon. This was presumably the thought process behind morning talk radio shows, but thankfully most podcasts aren’t hosted by the kind of wacky, prank-calling “shock jocks” that make you want to careen your car into oncoming traffic. 2. There’s a podcast for everything. The internet has obliterated any semblance of subculture, exposing the underground (all vulnerable and exposed like an unready, shriveled penis) to the light of the mainstream. Gone are the days of tape-trading, obscure message boards, the fear that you might be the only one – now every possible niche,...

14 Signs You Work in a Hospital

1. You don’t have to look at your badge when a code gets called anymore because you’ve already memorized what they all mean… But if you got dropped in a new hospital, you’d probably be lost because there isn’t a standardized system for code labeling in the U.S.   2. You’re either BFF’s with the kitchen staff, maintenance staff, switchboard operators or all of the above, because you know they are the reason the hospital keeps running.   3. At any given moment, any location in the hospital, you know where the nearest coffee pot is.   4. You know which shoes in your closet are 1) too clicky 2) too scuffy or 3) too squeaky to be worn throughout the hospital corridors.   5. You also know what items of clothing you can clip your badge too, and what pieces will require you to wear a lanyard.   6. You have a minimum of three lanyards, at least one of which is silly and/or sparkly.   7. You have hidden in the hospital Chapel at least once; and if you haven’t yet, trust me, you will.   8. You know which bathrooms are the least used and you try to make a beeline for them on your break.   9. You weren’t sure what I meant by the word “break” just then.   10. You know which departments...

Frustrated by EHR? How about GMAIL(HR)?!?

Folks, there’s been a lot of jibber-jabber lately about “Medicine 2.0″ and using technology to better connect with our patients. Here’s a quick tutorial that cuts to the...

The 4 “T”s for Transforming Medical Education

A while back, I was able to reflect on the always jam-packed and inspiring Association of American Medical Colleges 2011 Meeting that took place in Denver.  The theme of the meeting was transformation.  It was certainly an interesting theme with the undertones of economic recession and the GME funding crisis- and that was before the failure of the Supercommittee to reach a resolution. So how does medical education need to transform?  In more ways than one, it turns out.  So here are just 4, and being a fan of alliteration, they all begin with “T”. • Trust – it’s clear that we need to restore the American peoples’ trust in physicians and in the medical education process.  While students enter medicine to make a difference, something that they see in their journey to becoming a physician makes them jaded and they sometimes lose sight of their initial intention. Is it debt, burnout, role models…Or likely some combination of the 3? It does not matter, because we have to restore their faith in teaching– yes teaching.  Teaching is the heart and soul of our medical education and it is sometimes the easiest to lose in an academic health center focused on NIH dollars or US news world report rankings.  In addition to teaching our students, it is time to teach another constituency, our patients and Congress about the critical need for medical...

How One Student’s Notes Became the ‘Wikipedia of Medicine’

Since many medical schools have switched to the pass/fail system, students have become much more comfortable sharing notes. Med students, attempting to convey enthusiasm and sense of camaraderie amongst their class, tell visiting applicants “we have a Facebook group where everyone puts up review sheets, helpful websites, etc…there is a real sense of trying to help one another because no one is telling us that in order for you to do well, your friend has to do badly….below the curve, at least.” For one student at Manchester University, at the Royal Bolton Hospital, sharing notes went far beyond uploading his 5,000 page Microsoft Word document. Tom Leach, now a junior doctor in Australia, had the best notes around in med school — and his friends knew it. He tells The Times of India, “One day I went into the library and there was a queue for the photocopier where people were copying my notes.” His notes were so clear and accurate that Leach decided to put them online and in just a few years it developed into so much more. Leach describes his site, AlmostADoctor.com (cool name…) as “The Wikipedia of medicine with doctors as editors to verify the content” but a closer look shows that the site offers much more. With tabs for Notes, Blogs, Flashcards and Reviews in several fields of medicine, there is not much more an aspiring...

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