Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Doctor's Office -

The Doctor's Office - "Did you feel healed the last time you went to the doctor? My bet is no. If you were lucky, maybe you got 10 minutes with the doctor. In not much more time than you might have spent in a fast food drive-thru, the doctor wrote a prescription, ordered a battery of lab tests and sent you off for a thousand dollars worth of imaging studies.

Somewhere along the line too many doctors stopped being healers and became prescribers and technicians.

We became business people and started thinking in terms of relative value units -- the coin of the medical finance realm -- as much as how to make patients better. We took seminars in medical coding, so we could talk the same lingo as the government and the insurance companies.

The changes in medicine are at odds with many of the values that defined the profession I joined."

Doctors, like all humans, respond to incentives. Given the perverse system of incentives which exist today in healthcare , it's hardly surprising that most doctors behave as rational human beings, and focus on maximising their benefits. Rather than preaching, it makes more sense to change the incentive structure, so that doctors are rewarded for being healers, rather than for being technicians. Patients will ultimately get what they pay for !

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