New Perspectives on Healthcare

How is everybody this week? Staying warm? The weather here has been up and down -- cooler than normal for a Florida winter. In fact it's been cooler this winter than it has been any winter that I've been here. That having been said, we don't have any snow -- not even a flurry. So I suppose, if you're into the warmth, this might be the place to be.

This week is FLYING by. I've been at the VA hospital all week and I absolutely LOVE it! The docs there have been amazing! I've seen at least 2 new techniques and hope for more. I'm learning a new system of care, which is great -- and seeing how a LARGE system coordinates care for a large amount of people. One of the most fascinating things is observing complicated patients with complicated problems and how they navigate the medical system.

I've been able to hear new doctors' perspectives on healthcare, specifically about medical ethics. Being in academia so long, we're sheltered by ideal situations and our own personal beliefs about the infrastructure in medicine. The truth is, that out "in the real world" things are VERY different. Some doctors keep patients coming in for visits for "wellness care," for prescriptions, for therapies, for whatever reason, when they don't need them. They suggest these things sometimes because they feel that the patient needs or wants them, and sometimes for financial reasons. It's the frank truth, and there's a lot of controversy around this.

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One of the docs I'm working with and I have been talking about discharging patients. His philosophy, and I completely agree with him, is that if we can't make someone better, help them function better, feel better, improve their daily function, then we're the wrong person for them to see. Maybe it is that our care isn't what they need -- maybe they need a surgeon, or a pharmaceutical, or something that is out of our scope, or just not our specialty. Regardless, we have to know when it's time to stop.

We have to decide what type of physicians we're going to be. We have to decide (with our patients) how best to help them -- even if it doesn't involve us.

I want to wish everyone an AMAZING week! This weekend I'm working with a team for the American Cup rowing series. I can't wait!