I was thinking the other day that I have worked as a surgeon for over 30 years, I have work in the healthcare industry for over 35 years and I am amazed at the stubbornness of the status quo in the medical world. Have we made much progress with technology? Absolutely. But has that changed much in the world of patient-centeredness? Judging from the comments I hear in my clinic, I would say “definitely not!”
Healthcare is Still Tedious and Boring in it’s Ability to Change
What other industries can “claim” that? Who would want to? We have managed to digitalize medical records (although still perfecting that one!) and Xrays. We have one-day labs and robotic operations but we still can’t set up appointments and see people in a timely manner. We still can’t solve the issue of over-the-top ER bills and charges. We still overemphasize hospital care and underemphasize outpatient care. We gripe and moan about things that should have been solved long ago because they involve the patient’s time and money.
What does it take to solve these problems? I think it takes clinicians (doctors, PA’s, NP’s) who start with questions like these: How can we get patients in on time and out on time and still give excellent care? What if we charged a fee that was posted and transparent? Are there things we can do to increase the face-to-face time and yet continue to refine the automation? In other words, start with the patient and work backward.