Gratitude from the CEO

As the end of 2017 approaches I want to thank all our patients for being valued members of ImagineMD. It’s been an amazing year! I’ve been practicing medicine the way it was always meant to be practiced—with the time to think through complicated issues, explain my thinking, and form true partnerships with my patients. Because of this, I’ve managed to routinely avoid unnecessary healthcare utilization (urgent care center visits, ER visits, and even inpatient hospitalizations), coach numerous patients to change their behaviors to lose weight and improve their overall health, and afforded unprecedented access by phone or office visits. My patients’ active participation has enabled me to do my job the way I’ve long envisioned I could. Read More→

In the News: A New Shingles Vaccine

needle and syringe for an immunizationHerpes zoster, also known as shingles, results from reactivation of a virus that lays dormant in the dorsal root nerve ganglia of the spinal cord of patients who had chickenpox earlier in life. It causes a painful rash that looks like small blisters, which usually occurs in a restricted distribution over the skin on one side of the body called a dermatome. There are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles yearly in the U.S. Complications include post-shingles neuralgia, or continued pain, that may require narcotics to control. Read More→

A Patient Asks: “What’s Available Now to Treat the Common Cold?”

The coma woman with drugs to fight the common coldmon cold represents a benign, self-limited syndrome comprising a group of diseases caused by viruses. It’s the most frequent acute illness in the United States. The term “common cold” refers to a symptom complex that can include nasal congestion and discharge, sneezing, sore throat, cough, low-grade fever, headache, and malaise. The most common time of year to catch a cold is in the fall and winter months for reasons that remain unclear. Antibiotics are far too frequently prescribed for these symptoms because patients want to get better quickly and doctors don’t bother to educate them about the difference between viral illnesses and bacterial ones. Read More→

A New Treatment for Degenerative Arthritis

x-ray of a knee with arthritis

Degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, is the most common form of arthritis that people get. Symptoms range in severity from none to rapidly progressive and disabling, in some cases eventually culminating in joint failure.

The symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and restriction in range of motion. Symptoms usually occur in only a few joints in middle age. The pain is typically worse with joint use and improved by rest. Pain is generally worse in the late afternoon and early evening but can also be worse in the morning soon after waking up. There may also be night pain in severe osteoarthritis, which can interfere with sleep. Giving way or buckling is a common symptom in knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis usually doesn’t appear until after age 45. Osteoarthritis causes significant interference with daily activities in many patients.  Read More→

Humanity in Healthcare with Direct Primary Care

Factory workers on an assembly lineThe Current Situation

Healthcare in the United States in 2017 feels uncomfortably like a factory running an assembly line, with patients as widgets moving slowly along the conveyor belt and often falling off and crashing to the floor. Not enough emphasis is placed on patients being able to establish a trusting relationship with their primary care physicians, leaving patients feeling rushed and frustrated, and paying for care that’s often at best unnecessary and even dangerous. Read More→

What 15 Minutes at Your Doctor’s Office Gets You Elsewhere

Some tasks are long and tedious, like going to the DMV. But some tasks aren’t allotted as much time as they need. According to a report from the Annals of Internal Medicine, the average amount of time doctors spend with their patients during an office visit is only 15 minutes. Given how important our health is, a quarter of an hour per visit seems woefully insufficient. So we compiled a list to compare how much time other professionals are given to complete their important tasks. Read More→

In the News: The Health Benefits of Coffee

a full coffee cup waiting for someone to drink itTwo recent studies showed that there’s an positive correlation between coffee consumption and longer life. The EPIC study found that people who drank the most coffee had a significantly lower risk of death than non-coffee drinkers. The Multiethnic Cohort study showed the same thing, which held true for all ethnic groups except—strangely—for Native Hawaiians. Read More→

A Patient Asks: “Does Light Therapy Really Work for Depression?”

a woman talks on the phone next to a light boxSeasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) describes episodes of major depression that regularly occur during particular seasons. The most prevalent form of SAD is winter depression, marked by recurrent episodes of depression that begin in the fall or winter and, if left untreated, generally remit in the following spring or summer. The lifetime prevalence of SAD in the general population is approximately 0.5 to 3 percent. Read More→

A Novel Treatment for Addiction and Post-Traumatic Stress

a man prepares to inject a drugIt’s hard to read a newspaper these days without seeing an article about the epidemic of drug use and drug overdoses sweeping the country. Addiction to all kinds of substances remains a major health problem and treatments are often tragically unsuccessful. Recently, however, we’ve begun to better understand the underlying neurological mechanisms of addiction, and with that understanding has come a novel intervention aimed at treating the problem at its source. Read More→

A Direct Primary Care Doctor Takes Over My Medical Care

The story of a frustrating experience with the fee-for-service medical world

a stethoscope and pen on a medical record

The Problem

Shortly after moving to Chicago from Vancouver, Canada in 1999 I developed a rash on my face. I thought it would resolve on its own, but after several weeks of persistent itching I went to see a primary care doctor. She told me she thought the rash was the result of dust mites in my apartment. So I moved. Read More→