Medicine's Dirty Little Secret
Recently, a colleague reached out to me to vent their frustration with the medical profession. This colleague described a terrible experience with a highly regarded medical clinic in the United States. This clinic is so respected and highly regarded if I named the clinic you would say "yes I have definitely heard of them." The clinic misdiagnosed a Parkinson's patient, telling them they had a form of multiple system failure. They told a patient he had days to live. This highlights an important point that is reiterated by my colleague frequently, "doctors are getting the basics of medicine wrong." My colleague designed his practice to be cutting edge and uncovering the frontiers of disease. Instead his patient base is mainly composed of patients that have been mismanaged or misdiagnosed with a simple disorder.
Doctors have gone from positions of great esteem and reverence, to people that need to be double checked on Youtube and WebMd. The medical profession has tried to protect itself through stringent licensing and education. What they have succeeded in doing is creating doctors who are really good at passing tests and taking licensure exams. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. It's #1 Heart Disease, #2 Cancer and then #3 Medical Errors. Medical errors account for nearly 10% of deaths annually. As for the number of patients that are mismanaged and don't die, we have no idea. The medical profession is now creating epidemics, like the opiod crisis. Make no mistake, a crisis like that can only come from poor management. What did doctors imagine would happen when they gave highly addictive substances to any person in pain? Evidence has been compiled by Cochrane Review that shows that Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen combination is more effective than opiods at pain relief. Yet, opiods are still prescribed. You can only attribute this to mismanagement.
The doctoring process has become such a negative experience for so many people. 30 minutes to an hour of waiting, for a 7-12 minute visit. You make a patient wait for service, which makes them irritable and then you expect to get a good medical history and problem overview after that? I expect that half the short visit times are due to patients wanting to get the heck out of the office. Half of all adults have a chronic disease according to the CDC. That is insane. Mainstream medicine is in desperate need of a reformation. There are bright spots in the medical arena. I would recommend anyone looking for care try a Direct Primary Care provider. Unlike normal models these doctors are paid a monthly set fee and treat you as needed. For starters, DPC doesn't use insurance, this saves the doctors from hiring numerous administrative staff. You can get a cheap catastrophic health coverage plan and pay the doctor directly. Many DPC providers can provide medication on site at reduced bulk pricing. Due to predictable payments doctors don't need to service as many patients. The patient volume dropping allows for longer visits and less waiting. Seeing the patients for longer and as often as the patient needs leads to less medical errors. This is the future, tell your doctor about it, embrace it.