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Straight Talk about Disease Prevention

Harold C. Sox, MD, Editor
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: Dr. Sox is a director of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, from which he receives only reimbursement of documented travel expenses.

Requests for Single Reprints: Customer Service, American College of Physicians, 190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

Ann Intern Med. 2007;146(12):891-892. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-146-12-200706190-00012
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When physicians say that the best part of being a doctor is talking to patients, I think of my father's internal medicine practice in Palo Alto, California. From 1935 to 1972, he practiced just the way he wanted to. New patients got an hour. Return patients got a half hour. Before Medicare, having an expensive test meant money out of pocket. Ten minutes of talk often led to a prescription for empirical antacids instead of an upper GI series. The talk was pleasurable, it was an exercise of clinical skill, and it made a difference.

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