Thursday, May 27, 2010

Perspective: Who Speaks for America's 650,000 Independent Private Physicians, Part II


-talks of doctor’s desire for more personal patient relationships and the patient’s distaste for doctor switching , both caused by health plans changing physician networks,

- appreciates that most patients do not know doctors are forbidden to enter into private contractual relationships with patents should patients desire treatment outside of Medicare,

-contradicts the often-heard liberal message that the U.S. system ranks 37th in the world is based on a deeply flawed 10 year old WHO study that has since been repudiated by WHO itself,

-has ever heard of another WHO study ranking U.S. health care number one among other nations in “responsiveness” – more attention to patients, shorter waiting times, more amenities, and greater access to world-class care,

-reveals shortcomings of evidence-based care, i.e., care based on statistical data on large populations, which may have little relevance to individual patients,

-talks of diagnostic uncertainties, that vast gray zone of vague symptoms of unknown cause, which may require multiple tests and procedures before a diagnosis surfaces.

-informs patients that physicians can spend little time with them in order to gain the revenue to pay malpractice fees, staff overhead, rent, and other costs of doing business,

-has the courage to say that poor outcomes may rest on what patients do after leaving the doctors, i.e., returning to adverse life styles, not filling prescriptions, resorting to ineffective alternative therapies, rather what the doctor does or recommends in the presence of the patient.

-speaks of shortcomings of electronic medical records among doctors – the expense, maintenance costs, lack of return on investment, practice disruptions, 30% dies-installment rate, 25% drops in productivity, mixed records of efficiency and quality improvement, and lack of relevance to solo and small practices.

- forewarns government policy wonks that electronic medical records are virtually useless to doctors as communication tools unless physicians are able to enter progress notes using speech-recognition information, or to have access to useful diagnostic support information,

- to sum up, informs the outside world of the story of independent practitioners - the backbone of American medicine?

Who articulates these things?

I would like to say, I do. And I have in my blog, Medinnovation, in my books, and in www.modernmedicine. where I regularly submit blogs and interview national thought leaders.

But a more reliable , consistent, and prestigious source is the Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit C01C3 organization that represents all American doctors belonging to state medical societies. These societies are close to the ground and who know what moves them, what discourages them, and what is good and bad for their patients. Visit their website,, and listen to the beat of of the culture of individual physicians, who provide 80% of care for patients in the United States.

The information contained in this blog does not necessarily reflect the views or position of the Physicians Foundation or its Board members.

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