Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

Tag: efficiency

Help Wanted: DIY Medicine

Taking medical care to the self level.

First there were contractors. Then came Home Depot.

Once we had accountants. Along came TurboTax.

Stockbrokers? E-trade.

Printers? Soon we had Kinkos, er, FedEx.

Even venerable old lawyers are being outsourced and replaced by do-it-yourself manuals and online services.

Which brings me to my profession. Medicine.

I’m researching a new frontier in health care: do-it-yourself medicine. As more information is available online, patients are empowered like never before.

The rise of the e-patient movement is one such example. But now, with direct-to-consumer lab testing and radiology, people are able to access medical services and consume them like any other commodity.

I’m interested in learning about people that obtain these services without the consultation of a medical professional.

Caveat: a lot has been written about cyberchondria, google-itis, and patients advocating for themselves and their loved ones with their doctors.

I’m looking for people out there that self-diagnose and treat but make every effort to steer clear of the medical establishment.

Are you such a person? Do you know one?

All information and stories will be held in strictest confidence. We’re trying to gauge the prevalence of this phenomenon in the world.

Comment on the blog or send tips/inquiries to GlassHospital [at] gmail [dot] com.


I’m working in the hospital this month, managing a team that consists of a resident, an intern, and a sub-intern (a 4th year medical student on a job audition).

I do these in-hospital rotations two to three times per year.  I usually get pretty anxious beforehand, since the vastly different “rounding” schedule throws my normal patterns into disarray.  Also, the patients are much sicker. These folks are in the hospital, after all.

I always wind up enjoying my hospital rotations. Mostly because helping very sick people get better is emotionally satisfying. Also, I find that working with the residents, interns, and students is rejuvenating and keeps me on my toes intellectually. I learn a lot. Invariably, I see and experience things that I’ve never seen before.

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Push or Pull?

Chances are if you’ve never been admitted to a hospital, you know someone that has.  If that admission was unplanned, you likely waited a long time in the ER before you or your friend/loved one was transported up to the hospital floor.

If hotels ran like hospitals, they’d run themselves out of business.  Imagine the desk clerk, instead of giving you your room key (swipe card?), telling you, “I’m sure your room will be ready in the next 2-4 hours, or at change of shift, Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham…”

What is it about hospitals and all this waiting?

For one thing, hotels have the tremendous advantage of their customers planning their departure dates.  All the hotel has to do is enforce a “checkout time,” after which a guest is threatened with paying for another day’s stay–voila!–let the march of checker-outers begin!

Hospitals wish they could do the same thing, but there are major differences.  The main difference is that you and I aren’t paying directly for the hospital bed–insurance is.  So there’s no personal incentive to get out quickly.

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