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Welcome to our PhysicianTrends Blog.  We're here to talk about physicians and how they are changing in the midst of the most massive transformation in our healthcare system since Medicare.

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Wednesday, 20 January 2010
Sherry Krueger

Doctors Mad: Why Now?

Written by Sherry Krueger

I am baffled at the outrage the physician community is displaying. The number one complaint: The government in the exam room. What happened to the doctor / patient relationship? How can doctors provide effective treatment with limits? My question: Why are you concerned now?

A recent study found that doctors are leaving the profession twenty years earlier than other professionals. The author cites lack of trust and dislike of the doctor by patients as the main reason. There are many reasons for this, among them: the increasing litigious nature of our society; reporting and public investigations of physician mistakes; the advent of the “quickie” office visit; the unfounded expectation that the doctor is perfect are among a few. Where are we headed if this trend continues? We already are seeing a decline in the number of physicians practicing in America. This gap is being filled by an increasing reliance on foreign doctors, “physician extenders” including Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, etc. The care of American patients is gradually being turned over to non-physician healthcare providers. Will they be trusted more than doctors? What do you think?

“When doctors sit in the lounge all they do is complain about how miserable their lives are. I can’t stand to go in there anymore”, stated a thirty year veteran surgeon. Why are doctors so dissatisfied? And more importantly, why don’t they do anything about it?

On Monday, January 31st, Federal Judge Roger Vinson, declared the Healthcare Reform Bill unconstitutional, setting up a path for the new law to be heard by the US Supreme Court.  It may take weeks or months until the final decision on the Healthcare Reform Bill is reached.  In the meantime, we should discuss real healthcare reform that can benefit patients and doctors while saving money throughout the whole system.  There are several areas where healthcare reform can be achieved that actually make sense.

Many years ago I was listening to a doctor friend talk about his colleagues and was struck when he said “You know, very few doctors are leaders. They follow each other like sheep. They train us that way in medical school, we are not trained to think for ourselves.” Since that day, I have heard this idea stated repeatedly by those who manage and sell to doctors. Doctors never want to be the first ones to try something, they say. They want everything tested by someone else, someone else to take the risk and confirm that it works before they dive in.

Thursday, 10 December 2009
Sherry Krueger

CASH Medicine and Healthcare Reform

Written by Sherry Krueger

One of the main complaints registered by doctors on the Glenn Beck forum was the intrusion of insurance companies in their lives. Many physicians were outspoken about how screwed up the system is because of a third party payer. We could not be more in agreement with this conclusion. However, the public and most doctors are addicted to the insurance drug. They have no idea how to get along without it. Patients expect everything to be covered (and somehow don’t get that full coverage causes exorbitantly high premiums) and doctors don’t have any idea how to run a cash medicine practice. But the tide is turning. Estimates are that nearly 20% of family practice physicians are looking at going cash. New models for cash medicine are emerging. PriceDoc is one that allows patients to bid for doctor services. Conceirge medicine is gaining ground. Medical societies are being created that focus on lifestyle medicine for cash. We think the 80/20 rule applies. 80% of physicians will stay in the old system and go along with whatever the government imposes on them (and keep complaining) and 20% will look to innovative strategies to change, such as moving to cash. Let us know your thoughts on this topic.

Sixteen highly regarded physicians representing many fields -cardiology, oncology, general surgery, internal medicine, and others, assembled at the Grand Hyatt in New York City to discuss the impact of the currently proposed health bills on their patients. As reported by Betsy McCaughey of www.defendyourhealthcare.us, here are the main concerns addressed by these physicians:

There’s been a rash of shows over the last month talking to doctors about healthcare reform. Results of a survey from Investors Business Daily was released in October stating that 45% of physicians will consider quitting if the current healthcare reform bill was passed. Opponents sited flaws in the survey however, it has been found in many surveys of physicians that as many as 60% have said they would quit medicine and seek another profession if they could make as much money. The problem is that most physiciaans cannot find a job that pays as well as medicine. What do you think? How dissatisfied are you with your career? What part of it is most dissatisfying? Are you considering quitting? Let us know your thoughts.

From the debates in Town Halls to so-called political “tea parties” we seem to be witnessing an unprecedented level of anger and hostility in this country. Since a lot of this anger seems to be fueled by the state of healthcare, what is the practitioner to do when this aggression trickles into the office and effects relationships with staff and patients alike?

It seems like an image from a Norman Rockwell painting of a bygone era – the physician, black bag in hand, stethoscope around his neck, plodding through the snow to make a house call. Nostalgia aside, house calls are making a comeback, thanks largely to Electronic Medical Records, (EMRs) and other digital “mobile medical” technology.

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