Monday, November 07, 2016

Healing healthcare by speaking up

Lots of doctors find what I say uncomfortable. I've found that calling a spade a spade makes you unpopular, because even while people may agree with you in their heart of hearts, they're not sure they want some of these dirty secrets being laundered in public. That's why doctors are uncomfortable when I'm willing to talk openly about some of the unethical practices which have tarred the reputation of our profession, such as kickbacks and commissions. They feel I shouldn't ruffle the feathers of the powers-that-be.

And, yes, I have paid the price for this. You do get hurt when you stick your neck out, but  I have accepted this reality.  Keeping quiet is much safer, but it makes it harder to live with yourself. How can you turn a blind eye to the flagrant abuse of the powers which patients have entrusted doctors with ?

I agree it's an uncomfortable topic, but I think not talking about it is the biggest mistake. In one sense we are engaging in the conspiracy of silence, and by keeping quiet we're allowing the bad doctors to continue to get away with underhand sneaky tricks, which harms the entire medical profession. It damages the good doctors as well. It's because of these unethical doctors that the entire profession gets tarred with the same brush.

In the past, the default setting between patient and doctor was one of trust, and a doctor had to really commit an egregious error before he was considered to be a bad doctor.

Today, most patients distrust doctors, and you have to work twice as hard in order to prove to him that you're not a crook. Only after you've done that will he then start trusting you. It takes a long time , and it's an uphill battle, and that's why it's important for us to speak up.

I'm fortunately at that position in my life where I'm financially well off. I practice medicine because I enjoy it. I don't need to do it in order to make a living anymore, and I guess I'm senior enough that I can afford to express my opinion . If I don't speak up, then why should I expect anyone else to do so ? And if I don't, then who will?

I agree it's much more comfortable to air your woes in private, and to moan and gripe about how the profession has gone to the dogs. I don't think that helps anyone. If there is a problem, the only way to solve it is by exposing it. We need to discuss it openly , so that we can work together to find a solution.

The reason that I'm willing to be politically incorrect is because I'm optimistic and hopeful. I think there are enough good doctors that we can find constructive solutions, and get rid of the malpractices which have riddled our profession.  I think we can get rid of the corruption if we're willing to stand up and make our voices heard.


1 comment:

  1. This post has made me realise , as if some one has been eavesdropping my thoughts, debates, brainstorming, noises that I have been doing/creating with dr clients for 5 years or so....the rut is bad in the recent years ....it started nauseating everyone, almost all stakeholders of this so called healthcare system except the main stream stakeholders - drs or hospital owners...

    In addition to this choked systems that was created by medical professionals, so called non medical entrepreneurs who are entering into this space thinking that there is big money, fast money involved in this space....so many horror stories we are seeing , hearing everyday...

    Consumer behaviour & Customer Satisfaction are two areas which interest me a lot ...so I spend little time in understanding the consumers aspirations, expectations and feedback on drs, hospitals..

    What I observe is that drs / hospitals dont know how to check customers pulse and dont have a clue of what the customers want...they just dont believe in asking and talking...they are taking things for granted...

    They just don't believe in listening to the voice of their customers, putting themselves in the shoes of their customers, think like a customer, understanding the needs and pains of the customers, assessing their gains after their hospital visit etc etc

    I can go on writing ...just like what you are doing....you have taken to writing ...i have taken to oral debates, discussions..that's the only difference...

    Let's continue with our "Surgical Strikes"....

    Enjoying your posts....

    Have a great day...

    ReplyDelete

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