Before a medical student is granted the privilege to practice medicine independently, he or she swears to follow the “Hippocratic Oath.” The words have changed over the years since Hippocrates made his original promise to deliver medical care to all patients without discrimination and without causing further harm. Most doctors take the oath very seriously and have every intention of following it. But as we all know, the workplace has a way of conflicting with people’s values.
We have an “okay” medical system in the US, but we are definitely in need of improvements. Today’s doctors spend more time on paperwork and data entry rather than on face-to-face time with patients. Many of them practice medicine under the umbrella of a large medical network in order to avoid the huge expenses of a private practice. The caveat is having to follow standard procedures that are not always beneficial to their patients.
Additionally, doctors are limited by their patients’ insurance companies. It is not at all uncommon for treatments to be denied prior to negotiation between a doctor and a benefits representative. Patients get lost in the shuffle of paperwork, regulatory measures, and unnecessary expenses. This often leads to a lack of confidence in their providers’ level of concern for their condition and doubts about their providers’ professional competence.
Let’s face it – we avoid going to the doctor because of the time, energy, and money it will cost us. That means we aren’t getting early diagnosis and it is probably costing us much more in the long run. Our providers, having had their hands tied by this bureaucratic mess, are frustrated and defensive when we question “the healthcare system” that they must deal with every day. Isn’t it about time to fix an extremely wasteful and woefully inadequate method of services delivery to us healthcare consumers?