Ms. Smith has an appointment at 8 AM to go over her diabetes, discuss her recent diagnosis of breast cancer and she also has some increased pain in her abdomen. We have 20 minutes scheduled for the visit. During the appointment we go over labs, adjust some medications, discuss future tests for her abdominal pain and go over her breast cancer treatment plan. It is an emotional visit as well. She feels comforted knowing the we will get through this together.
My patients have told me they feel cared for, listened to and do not feel like a number. However this is not how most medical practices work….
Most doctors today are discouraged and walk away from medical practice altogether because of Big Box Medicine. If you haven’t heard of this term before: it is an industrialized version of what medicine used to be. It causes your doctor to go to work and get on a treadmill. It treats patients as widgets and doctors as factory workers. Appointments are scheduled for 15-20 minutes (maybe half of which will be spent in face-to-face time with your doctor) to address multiple health issues. In turn the response has been for doctors to turn into referral and pill mills. There is an emphasis on treating illness rather than promoting health and prevention. There isn’t much profit if you aren’t sick.
Job satisfaction for physicians is at the lowest in decades. Doctors spend time in between seeing patients, answering phone calls, refilling medications, doing tons of paperwork, interpreting Xrays, MRIs, and labs. Due to these pressures younger doctors no longer choose primary care. Those toward the end of their careers are thinking of early retirement. This is further worsening the primary care shortage.
It’s time to get off the treadmill. The article below highlights some of the benefits of the Direct Primary Care (DPC) model. Patients should be in a partnership with their doctor to create the best, healthiest version of themselves.
“The message to our nation could not be clearer: Stop spending more on health care. Convert to DPC and save.”