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Fixin' Healthcare

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Transformation Of Healthcare - Your Complaint Is My Command

A recent poll of 39,000 patients and 335 primary care physicians was conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center. The patients were composed of subscribers to Consumer Reports magazine and the physicians came from a random sample drawn from a national list of doctors.

Most patients think their doctors treat them respectfully, listen to them patiently and care about their emotional well-being. However, there are some complaints from both sides and the survey confirms that miscommunication is common for patient and physician.

Comes the telling part, "nearly 80 percent of doctors reported being urged by patients to prescribe medications they saw advertised in TV ads". Who says medicine isn't a business and the business is sickness? Marketing and advertising may identify "presumed" solutions to need, but more often than not these activities are designed to create demand.

Demand for health care works when the objective is achieving and maintaining optimum health status. Demand for health care fails when the objective is temporary relief of symptoms and propagation of sickness.

If nothing else the report conjures an image of primary care physicians' offices as daily "sick call" (patient health complaints). Primary health care should deliver and patients deserve a higher order of thinking and better outcomes than is created by this situation. The root of the problem starts with the mind-set and the reinforcement of health care as sick care. Health care is sick care that but it can be much more.

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