Physicians, patients must unite for major healthcare change

August 10, 2017

For physicians, the main concern isn’t deciphering what a payer-government or commercial-feels is “quality” or collecting the data to prove the metrics are being met. The overarching question is whether this is really good for patients.

"I just want to do what’s right for my patients. When I go to bed at night, I don’t worry about my future … I worry about theirs.”

This was the reaction of an internist recently when I asked how she gets through the day given all the stressors plaguing the profession, from meeting quality metric targets to dealing with technology intended to improve patient care, but that doesn’t deliver on the promise.

 

Hot topic: To help physicians, EHRs must adapt to value-based care

 

She didn’t bemoan her own lot in healthcare, but instead how patients are suffering. Many physicians face anxiety about their future reimbursement and the ever-uncertain state of private practice. But many more worry about the individuals who come through their doors for care.

 

In this, our annual “Fighting Back” issue, we look at the latest challenge for physicians affecting patients: value-based care. For physicians, the main concern isn’t deciphering what a payer-government or commercial-feels is “quality” or collecting the data to prove the metrics are being met. The overarching question is whether this is really good for patients.

 

More: How to measure up for value-based care

 

But when given a challenge, physicians meet it. And they will with value-based care, just as they have with the myriad mandates they have faced over the years. They will adapt, adjust and get back to improving the lives of those seeking relief and compassion on a daily basis. 

But the underlying symptoms plaguing healthcare today persist with daily visits from patients battling high-deductible plans, rising prescription prices and fear that a procedure could mean a life spent riddled with debt. 

Next: Physicians can, and should, advocate for themselves and patients

 

Another feature in this issue, our interview with physician-turned-author Elisabeth Rosenthal, points out not only the value of better patient-physician relationships, but proposes a partnership by both parties to drive actual change in U.S. healthcare. 

Physicians can-and should-advocate not only for themselves, but also their patients, who are often left bewildered by the process and price of maintaining their wellness. And, as Rosenthal points out, patients should advocate for doctors. 

 

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The physician-patient relationship has always been important, but now it is critical for caregivers and care-seekers to unite. The task is daunting, because the system needs repair. 

But rather than sit by passively waiting for the next policy to determine their futures, physicians and patients must make a stand and remind others that they are critical components in healthcare today and should have a seat at the table where decisions affecting both are being made. 

 

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Keith L. Martin is editorial director of Medical Economics. How are you “Fighting Back”? Tell us at medec@ubm.com.