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Sept. 27–Oct. 1

Washington Convention Center

The Industry

family medicine

The Attendees

4,818 primary-care docs who serve as the first line of defense against disease

The Issues

An Apology a Day: Attorney and practicing family physician Richard Roberts’ multistep plan for reducing malpractice risk included a suggestion that doctors apologize face-to-face. Claims are rarely about the money, Roberts said, but rather because the aggrieved believe the doctor doesn’t seem to give a damn. “Patients will forgive gaps in knowledge,” he says, “but not gaps in caring.”

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Patient, Heal Thyself: Newt Gingrich, founder of the Center for Health Transformation, won thunderous applause after explaining, among other things, how cell phones will increasingly put “technology at physicians’ fingertips.” The possibilities: allowing doctors to access the latest scientific findings; snapping and sending photos straight from a trauma scene; and, once a glucose-testing phone accessory is developed, managing a patient’s diabetes by phone.

“Chronic Constipation Symposium”: Finally, diagnosis of constipation has been standardized with the Bristol Stool Form Scale, which graphically classifies BMs in seven handy categories. Those passing Type 4s are, said one forum leader, “happy people.”

—Rob Tierney