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Sensing Savvy

Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP

Thomas has been a physician for more than 25 years. He is board certified in family medicine, completing his family medicine residency and earning the honorary degree of fellow, granted by the American Board of Family Medicine (AAFP). Thomas has been a teacher and mentor of medical students and residents for more than a quarter century and served as an assistant family medicine residency director for more than a decade.

Recent Posts

Resident Work Hour Limits: Should They Be Extended?

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on May 22, 2017

An 18-year-old woman was taken to the ER of New York Hospital on March 4, 1984. Suspecting she had a viral syndrome after presenting with a fever and jerking movements, physicians admitted her for observation and hydration.

As the night wore on, however, the woman became more and more agitated, leading her doctors — a first- and second-year resident and an attending — to order additional medications and restraints. A few hours later the woman was dead. This was the infamous case of Libby Zion, and it forced the medical establishment to take a hard look at resident work hours and supervision due to errors made during her care.

Before work hour restrictions were implemented, it wasn’t uncommon for residents to stay awake for upward of 36 hours. In 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) limited resident shifts to 16 hours, but the ACGME proposed in late 2016 that the shifts be extended to 28 hours.

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Topics: Clinical Trends

4 Ways Surgeons Can Build Trust with Their Staff

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on May 15, 2017

“Patients trust us. We can’t take that trust for granted.”

This was the sentiment from Leonard Arnold, a surgical technician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Arnold was explaining a situation in an OR where the surgical team was participating in a “time-out” — a pre-surgery routine where all surgical staff take time to ensure they are operating on the correct patient, the correct site and the correct procedure. But there was one important person missing from this time-out: The performing surgeon.

 In Arnold’s story, the surgeon had refused to participate until a hospital official finally reprimanded him.

While surgeon-patient trust is often discussed, trust and collaboration between a surgeon and his or her staff can be overlooked.

Improved collaboration not only creates more trust among your staff, it also helps improve the patient experience.

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Topics: Cardiothoracic

Temporary Doctors are Gaining Popularity: 5 Things to Know

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on May 10, 2017

For the past 10 years, Dr. Louise Henson has been working as locum tenens physician. Because she’s a temporary doctor, Henson can avoid long hours and being on call, and can set her own hours and doesn’t have to worry about taking time off for family or personal commitments.

Until recently, locum tenens physicians traditionally filled in for colleagues who were ill, traveling or otherwise unable to work. Now, the opportunity to work as a temporary doctor is becoming an attractive option for physicians who feel burned out. Healthcare facilities are also seeing the benefits of employing more locum tenens staff members.

A recent report from locum tenens staffing agency Staff Care found temporary doctors are on the rise. Here are five things to know about the increase in locum tenens physicians.

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Topics: Clinical Trends

3 Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2017

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on Apr 19, 2017

As 2017 takes shape, the healthcare industry is looking at a massive upheaval: The end of, or changes to, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), new technology advances, likely new healthcare legislation and changes in patient care.

To give you a clearer picture of what the year could bring, we identified three healthcare trends to watch.

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Topics: Hemodialysis

4 Interesting Stats on Physician Burnout

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on Apr 12, 2017

In just four years, physician burnout has increased by 25 percent. What’s behind the rise? Medscape recently surveyed physicians and found that the feelings are connected to many healthcare reform issues.

Here are four stats on physician burnout to know:

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Topics: Cardiothoracic, Work-Life Balance

Does Physician Gender Influence Patient Outcomes?

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on Apr 5, 2017

You’ve probably seen the headlines:

“Female Doctors May be Better than Male Doctors”

“Having a Female Doctor Might Save Your Life”

“New Study Says Female Doctors Save More Lives than Male Doctors.”

The study that spawned the above headlines was conducted by a team of Harvard researchers who sought to answer the question: Does physician gender influence patient outcomes?

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Topics: Clinical Trends

Life Expectancy in the US

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on Mar 20, 2017

The statistics alarm. Despite being one of the world's wealthiest nations and one which spends more than any other country on healthcare, the United States trails most other industrialized countries and even Cuba in life expectancy. According to the UN's World Population Prospects of 2015, the US, with an average life expectancy of 78.88 years, ranks 43rd in life expectancy at birth. American males are expected to live to 76.47 and females to 81.25 years.

"Some people need health care some of the time, but all people need health and wellness all the time."

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Topics: Clinical Trends

Is Physician Leadership Right for Me?

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on Mar 13, 2017

When you started your career in medicine, were you thinking about eventually making the transition to a leadership role? Many physicians begin their careers knowing they want to take this step, and as a result pursue degrees like a Master of Public Health or Master of Business Administration, in addition to a Doctor of Medicine.

However, only about 5 percent of the 6,500 hospitals in the country are led by physicians. Issues like patient outcomes and safety, reducing readmissions and quality of care all require the expertise and leadership of physicians, according to Medscape.

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Topics: Clinical Trends

Hospital Administrators and the Changing ACA

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on Mar 8, 2017

The possibility of repealing the ACA has hospital administrators and other healthcare professionals closely following the news—and with good reason.

Hospital lobbying groups have warned that the promise to repeal the ACA without an adequate replacement could lead to service cuts, layoffs and hospital closures.

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Topics: Hospital Administration

The Magic of the Left Internal Mammary Artery

Posted by Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP on Jan 16, 2017

The Left Internal Mammary Artery (LIMA), also known as the Left Internal Thoracic Artery (LITA), has been the gold standard conduit of choice for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) for several decades.

More than 30 years ago, Boylan et al published a study in the Journal of Thoracic Cardiovascular Surgery in which the long-term results of 200 patients who underwent CABG, 100 of whom received a LIMA — left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) bypass graft and the second 100 who received a saphenous vein (SVG) to LAD bypass graft, were analyzed.

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Topics: Cardiothoracic, CABG Surgery

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