Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Who's happy now?

John Goodman reviews Doctored by Sandeep Jauhaur, which finds that neither patients nor their doctors are exactly pleased with the way medical care is delivered;
Only 6 percent of doctors are happy with their jobs, according to one survey. They commit suicide at twice the rate of the general population. Over half are unsure they would recommend the practice of medicine to young people.
“Patients today are increasingly disenchanted with a medical system that is often indifferent toward their needs. Patients used to talk about “my doctor.” Now, in a given year, Medicare patients see on average two primary care physicians and five specialists, working in four separate practices. For many of us it is rare to find a primary care physician who can remember us from visit to visit, let alone come to know us in depth or with any meaning or relevancy... Insensitivity in patient-doctor interactions had become almost normal.”
Maybe, it's because medical care is now, for most people, essentially free. In the sense that one party receives the product/service, a second provides, yet a third--a government or an insurer--pays for it.

Which is a system only a politician would come up with, because it gives politicians power over their fellow man. Fortunately, some places are not yet colonized;
“I briefly worked in a clinic in Macau where patients paid for everything out of pocket. I had patients ask to postpone tests I had ordered until they got paid, forcing me to have a better conversation about what they needed and when, and why they needed it (or in some cases, didn’t really need it at all). As a consequence, they were more engaged in the process, and I believe they received better care.”
Which is the way medicine, in living memory of some, used to be delivered in the good ol' US of A.

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