As of mid-January 2015, I will be discontinuing my subscription to which has been providing my patients with a secure messaging platform (as required by the federal HIPAA statutes).

PracticeFusion (my electronic health record [EHR]) now has a functioning secure messaging platform, that all my patients have access to provided that they create an account through PatientFusion, Only my patients have access to this platform.

To date, 624 people have done so. This undoubtedly represents more people as there are many families in my practice, but since I have approximately 1300 people in the electronic system (which I started in 2010), some of you have not signed up.

When I message you thruough the EHR, a notification will appear in your regular email in-box.  Unfortunately, as of now, no such notification appears in my regular email inbox when you message me.  This may change in the future, but for now there may be certain situation when I cannot access my EHR’s messaging system.  An example would be that when I am out for the evening, with only my cellphone, and do not have access to a computer.

It is also a lot easier for me to check email than it is my EHR messages.

Please remember that email, including the PatientFusion messaging system, is not the proper way to reach me in any kind of urgent situation.  In such cases, call my office number, press “O” during the voice message, and leave a message with the human operator who answers.  For a less urgent situation, if you send a report through PatientFusion that  you need me to read before the office opens next, also send a regular email to

If you need help registering with PatientFusion, Donna will be happy to help you out.  She can be reached at the office or at her email:  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Some day this system will replace my health alerts, but for the moment, if you haven’t signed up for that, please let Donna know and she will help you.

There is not much to report since the last alert.

This year’s epidemic has not begun in the Northeast yet, but you can see from the CDC flu site, especially the map at the bottom of the page, that flu is widespread in parts of the southern US and the next several weeks will certainly be showing flu advancing around the country.

There are concerns about this year’s vaccines, as are described here.  Although the future is difficult to predict, a worse than usual season is certainly possible.  The CDC is warning physicians to be alert to flu-like illness and to consider prescribing anti-viral drugs (Tamiflu, for example) to young infants and anyone who is immunocompromised.  Although the effects of such medications are relatively minor in healthy persons (an illness which is shortened by one day), in the immunocompromised population the drug can be lifesaving.  For a clear description of what constitutes the immunocompromised population, please see this article

So, as usual, during the epidemic practice good sense (avoid crowded places where exposure to people with flu is more likely), use good hygiene (hand washing in particular, sneezing into your elbow rather than your hands), stay up on your vitamin D (5000 – 10,000 units a day during the season) unless you know that your levels are already in the high normal range), good nutrition, adequate sleep, etc.

The flu article on my website is still relevant, although I have not updated it since 2009’s swine flu scare.