James C. Salwitz, M.D., says that physicians must learn to balance roles as healers and, increasingly, as financial stewards and information-technology practitioners, each working day.
Among other things, he bemoans that:
“Physicians insist on ordering what they want, regardless of cost or net patient benefit. Doctors do not watch the henhouse, so someone else has to. It would have been a very different world if, from the start, the medical profession had accepted financial stewardship as part of their mission.”
“Look at information technology (IT). Healthcare is the last major industry to transition to a silicon base for decisions and communication. Because doctors have blocked IT every step of the way, nonmedical personnel, who often fail to appreciate the needs of doctor and patient, have written electronic medical record (EMR) software. And, because doctors have not seized on the power of the EMR as a patient care tool, the billers and insurers took control, so that the average EMR is not only clinically inadequate, it is focused on coding, posting, and accounts receivable.”
“If healthcare is to produce the best quality and personal result for every patient, doctors must leave their self-imposed isolation. They must make what can be a very difficult transition — that of changing of thought from the bedside to the boardroom and then back again, often in the same day.”
“The physician who can bring, in real time, the experience of the patient to the leadership process, tempered with an understanding of how complex biology and business systems interact, adds an incredible amount of value to healthcare. This is critical to the development of medical systems that actually work to the maximal betterment of every patient.”