Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Arnwine on What Doctors Are For

The following is just in from Don Arnwine, long a well-known figure in healthcare management – now retired – relative to the recent posting on the subject.

I think [your daughter-in-law’s mother] has it right. I've long felt that this business of "choice" concerning doctors is as much political as medical. In my experience [including my own] what most people want and need in most situations is "information and attention." This can very often be provided by a "physician extender" who is more readily available and willing to help. I have had the same internist for over 20 years. I talk more with his nurse than with him and if I get the information and help I need why wait for him to call me back? Sometime back I went through a series of visits and treatments with an orthopedist. He had a Nurse Practitioner who possessed about 90% of the information and savvy that I needed. If that talent could be organized as "levels of care" rather than 'physician extenders" we might improve things.

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