There’s been a lot of talk about the economic stimulus plan, comparative effectiveness and health care reform lately. And with good reason—health care reform is integral for our physical as well as our fiscal health.
But in today’s Well column, Tara Parker-Pope raises an important point: in all this talk of methods and outcomes, where is the doctor-patient relationship?
The column touches on a core critique of our medical system, one that right now is better equipped for acute care then prevention and wellness. Specifically, it explores our propensity to want prescriptions that might be unnecessary, or to favor newer or more expensive treatments or procedures when older or less expensive ones might suffice:
“Whether it’s invasive back surgery, medical scans or expensive drugs, patients and doctors alike often refuse to believe that costly treatments aren’t worth it.”
What I find interesting about this column is that it doesn’t posit the blame on just the patients who ask for drugs or the doctors who write the scripts—rather, it points towards the need for both parties to work together to achieve the best outcome.
I’ve written a lot about the doctor-patient relationship, and while I have much more to say about this particular manifestation, I can’t help but feel so much remains true—in the end, mutual trust and respect is fundamental to a healthy relationship and thus a healthier outcome.
The medical education our providers have and the experiential wisdom we have about our own bodies are not at odds with each other. If we combine them and ask the right questions of each other, hopefully we can filter out the unnecessary treatments and tests.
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Another great edition of Grand Rounds is up at Health Business Blog. Check it out!