365 shows later: The Podcast by KevinMD’s most popular episodes

By | June 1, 2021

It’s been such an inspiring journey for The Podcast by KevinMD! I started the show one year ago, on June 1, 2020. I didn’t know what to expect, who would want to be on the show, or who would listen. Heck, I didn’t know the first thing in starting a podcast.

I did know one thing: Thousands intersect with our health care system who have stories to share. Some write those stories here on KevinMD, but the impact is often more visceral when told in their own words, with their own voices.

Set against the backdrop of the defining health crisis of our generation, The Podcast by KevinMD shared the untold stories of everyone impacted by COVID-19: doctors, nurses, patients, and medical students. Just like many of you who listened, I learned so much from each of my guests. My job was easy: I asked questions, then sat back and listened to these incredible stories, insight, and wisdom.

I appreciate each and every one of you who made this the fastest-growing, daily medical podcast today. I have no plans of stopping anytime soon.

15 minutes a day. 7 days a week. Welcome to The Podcast by KevinMD.

Hosted by Kevin Pho, MD, The Podcast by KevinMD shares the stories of the many who intersect with our health care system but are rarely heard from.

Here are the 10 most downloaded episodes over the past year.

An unexpected COVID-19 vaccine side effect

“Just a few seconds after the needle penetrated my arm, I felt a mild soreness, kind of like a flu shot. But as I sat for the required 15 minutes of observation time, a wave of something engulfed my body. It was such a strange, unfamiliar sensation that I didn’t realize what was happening. I looked around the room at the other medical personnel getting their shots, and no one seemed to pay me any attention. I wasn’t changing color, short of breath, or breaking out into a sweat. I did harbor reservations about the safety of this new vaccine that seemed rushed to market. Was I about to become a statistic in the next FDA safety bulletin?

It seemed like forever, but finally, I divined what was happening to me. I felt different inside. A fundamental change had occurred deep within my body. I sensed that others in the room experienced a similar feeling. I struggled to recall the name of the emotion. It had been so long.

It was happiness.”

Andrew N. Wilner is a neurologist.

He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, “An unexpected COVID-19 vaccine side effect.”

Ethical dilemmas in the pandemic era

“The donation of hydroxychloroquine, in contrast to the accompanying donation of 1,000 ventilators, is unethical as either humanitarian aid or as a ‘research study.’ The United States has a moral responsibility for any human harm that results. We cannot simply send medications off to potentially vulnerable populations without regard for the lives that could be negatively affected. It is not enough to intend to do good and avoid harm; we must ensure it.”

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Charles E. Binkley is a bioethicist and general surgeon.

He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD articles, “It is unethical for the United States to send hydroxychloroquine to Brazil” and “Mike Pence and the Mayo Clinic’s moral failure.”

How this surgeon beat a medical staff disciplinary action

“I recently represented a physician in a noteworthy peer review case at an academic medical center. The medical staff president initiated a complaint against a surgeon, who would later become my client. The complaint was that the surgeon inappropriately collected cash payment from an uninsured patient at the hospital’s point of service instead of having his office invoice and collect payment from the patient. The medical staff felt this was unorthodox and highly inappropriate and contra to the medical center’s values. It is important to note that neither the medical staff bylaws nor any hospital rules addressed the collection of payment at the hospital’s point of service. The medical staff president quickly appointed a three-member ad hoc investigation committee, which included one of the surgeon’s competitors, an obvious conflict of interest. The ad hoc investigation committee recommended that the surgeon be disciplined, i.e., lose his medical staff privileges.”

Barney Cohen is a health care law attorney.

He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, “How this surgeon beat a medical staff disciplinary action.”

Tips for medical students starting their clinical rotations

“Each year, medical students across the country prepare to start the long-anticipated core clinical rotations. Suddenly, we’re thrust into a world of constant adaptation and evaluation, with many highs and many lows.

As I finish up the year and new students get ready to start, I’ve been asked time and time again for my advice. I decided to aggregate my key takeaways from the year, and what I wish I had been told.”

Netana Markovitz is a medical student.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “13 tips for medical students starting their clinical rotations.”

Everything physicians need to know about Bitcoin

“It is still extremely early in the Bitcoin story. This is due to the same network effect that Facebook, Amazon, and Apple have had as adoption of new technologies rapidly expand and are adopted by society. Bitcoin has passed its ‘tipping point.’ Converting some of your money to Bitcoin now is like taking an ownership stake in the Internet itself back in 1995.  Ultimately, Bitcoin will either have a massive price appreciation or go to zero – meaning it is a hugely asymmetric investment.  A mere 1% allocation could potentially 2x the value of your portfolio; a 10% investment could 11x the value of your portfolio. Losing 1% of your portfolio is an extremely small risk given the upside to bitcoin. Finding the right allocation is up to you, but having 0% allocated to Bitcoin is a massive risk since risk in bitcoin is asymmetric to the upside.”

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Noah Kaufman is an emergency physician and financial planner. He is founder and CEO, Kaufman Medical Group, and can be reached on Twitter @noahkaufmanmd. He is also founder of the Facebook group, Physician Options Traders.

He shares his story and discusses his KevinMD article, “How physicians should invest in Bitcoin.”

How racial issues affect both doctors and patients

How do racial issues affect patients’ physical and mental health, and how do we address them during regular visits? For those without the lived experience of the black community, how can we learn and educate ourselves? How are the current protests different from those in the past? In order for us to make enduring changes that arise from the protests, what needs to happen?

C. Nicole Swiner is a family physician and can be reached at Docswiner and on Twitter @docswiner.

She shares her story and her perspective on the country’s racial climate and how it affects both doctors and patients.

Who are the doctors who end their own lives?

“Recently, a fellow physician mom ended her life. While outwardly, a very vibrant, lively, and happy woman, she fought her own internal demons for some time. From what we know, she struggled with depression but was still committed to being a good mom, physician, and wife. Sadly, a few days before her birthday, she could no longer bear her sadness and decided to end her agony. I know many physicians’ lives follow these patterns. What shook me this time, though, was a discussion I had with a very close group of friends. These are all very highly educated professionals whom I love, respect, and admire. But, none are physicians.”

Fariha Shafi is an internal medicine physician.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “Who are the doctors who end their own lives?

Samuel Shem, MD on how can we put the connection back into medicine

“There is a frenzy of trying to use technology to re-establish the healing human connection in the doctor-patient interaction. These efforts range from advanced transcription of voice-to-record, scribes who do the data recording during a patient encounter, and so on. The IT department at NYU Grossman Medical School, where I teach, worked with the dominant and much-loathed electronic medical record to create a patient-focused dashboard for each doctor. The dashboard both improved quality of outcomes and reduced costs.

These attempts are useful, but they don’t address the root cause of this inhuman encounter: billing, the link of patient data to cash. In each of these tech improvements, the doctor is still forced by the money-people to massage the bill for the highest private insurance payments. There is a war across the screen — and like all wars, it’s about money. On one side, doctors are forced by the accountants to bill the most. On the other side, insurance people are striving to pay the least. No ‘program’ or ‘bot’ could do this job. It’s trapping doctors in the epidemic called burnout, moral injury, or just plain abuse. Forcing us to lie, to provide maximum payment. So long Hippocratic Oath.

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I think the solution is obvious. Why are VA hospitals’ electronic medical record systems widely preferred to any of the other ones out there? Because they are not-for-profit billing machines. All across the U.S., each VA diagnosis and treatment has approximately the same reimbursement. No war across the screen. No Hippocratic hypocrisy.”

Samuel Shem is a psychiatrist.

He shares his story and discusses his books, the House of God and Man’s 4th Best Hospital.

Women physicians and pivoting from medicine

“We must continue to work to create gender equity as here is where we stand today: A significant gender pay gap still exists in medicine where women doctors earn up to 33% less than their male counterparts. Even though women make up 36% of practicing doctors in the country, only 15% of women doctors are department chairs. Among women doctors who are also mothers, 78% felt discrimination. All of this is leading to 48% of women doctors reporting burnout, and 22% of female physicians admitted thoughts of suicide this year right before the pandemic hit our shores.

As a nation, we cannot afford to lose doctors to professional burnout and suicide, especially in the midst of a global pandemic worsening and hitting record numbers throughout our country in recent weeks.”

Archana Reddy Shrestha is a physician life coach, author, and co-founder, Women in White Coats. She can be reached on Instagram @womeninwhitecoatsblog.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “What Kamala Harris means for women doctors.”

Nisha Mehta, MD on why physicians should consider side gigs

“At first, it may seem strange that ‘physician’ and ‘side gig’ are even used in the same sentence. After all, the average physician in the United States is already working more than a 40 hour work week and struggling with issues related to work-life balance. As someone who talks about physician burnout and as the founder of the Physician Side Gigs Facebook group, I’ve been asked many times how adding yet another thing to the physician’s plate could possibly be a good idea.

And yet, I’m a strong believer that physicians should have additional revenue streams and pursue other interests. Why?”

Nisha Mehta is a radiologist and founder, Physician Side Gigs and the Physician Side Gigs Facebook group.  She can be reached at her self-titled site, Nisha Mehta, MD, and on Twitter @nishamehtamd.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “Why physicians need side gigs.”


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