Recent Posts by Ken Teufel

Erasing the Stigma of Physician Depression

By: Dr. Ken Teufel The high incidence of depression among physicians can no longer be ignored.  Several recent reports show that every segment of the profession is at risk, from medical students and residents in training to mid-career physicians and those nearing retirement. One study found that approximately 25% of medical students and residents suffer…
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Service Abroad Plus Locum Tenens: A Perfect Fit

By: Dr. Ken Teufel Never before has it been this easy for physicians to spend two to three weeks, or even three to four months, volunteering their services abroad. Physicians and clinicians have the option to work for two to four weeks as an emergency medicine physician in Ethiopia or provide oncology services in Bhutan.…
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Direct Primary Care Gains Traction

By: Dr. Ken Teufel Is there such a thing as a "stress-free" way to practice medicine?  Not really.  But many primary care physicians are rediscovering the joy of practicing medicine by shifting from the stress-filled fee-for-service model to the more relaxed pace of direct primary care.  In its purest form, direct primary care cuts out…
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Be Wary of FDA-Designated “Breakthrough” Drugs

By: Dr. Ken Teufel When the FDA says a new drug is a "breakthrough," does that mean it's clearly better than what's already out there? Since 2012, the FDA has been empowered by Congress to label a drug as a "breakthrough therapy" if preliminary clinical evidence suggests it has an advantage over existing options.  Since…
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First Ever Guidelines Issued for Prescribing Opioids

By: Dr. Ken Teufel Think twice before writing that prescription for a pain-relieving opioid. That's the clear, strong message from the CDC in its attempt to curb the growing "epidemic" of pain killer abuse and opioid-related deaths. According to CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., sales of opioids such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet have quadrupled since…
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Doctors, Patients, and the Blurring of Professional Boundaries

By: Dr. Ken Teufel The blurring of professional boundaries between doctors and patients is not simply an ethical issue. It's a threat to a physician's reputation, license, and livelihood...not to mention the liability risk. Some boundary violations are obvious, such as pursuing an intimate relationship with a patient or with a member of the patient's…
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1% of Physicians Responsible for 32% of Paid Malpractice Claims

By: Dr. Ken Teufel Approximately 1% of all physicians account for 32% of paid malpractice claims (New England Journal of Medicine, January 28, 2016).  Using the National Practitioner Data Bank as their resource, Stanford medical law expert David M. Studdert and his colleagues concluded that "a small number of physicians with distinctive characteristics accounted for…
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Becoming a Doctorpreneur

By: Dr. Ken Teufel Not too long ago, doctors who became entrepreneurs got little respect from their medical colleagues.  After all, you went to medical school to learn how to take good care of patients and, in the end, you were awarded a medical degree, not an MBA. "Critics often note that profit motive tends to…
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Does Defensive Medicine Reduce Malpractice Claims?

By: Dr. Ken Teufel Doctors are often criticized for practicing "defensive" medicine -- doing an excessive number of tests and procedures, or admitting patients to the hospital when it's not medically necessary -- "to cover myself in the event of a malpractice claim."  The sole purpose of defensive medicine is to reduce the likelihood of…
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Errors In Diagnosis Way Too Common, Report Says

By: Dr. Ken Teufel Most Americans will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine (September 22, 2015).  "Diagnostic errors have been largely unappreciated," says report chair Dr. John Ball of the American College of Physicians.  "The stereotype of a single physician contemplating a patient…
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