Time to Reflect?

SRxA’s Word on Health would like to add its heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and loved ones, of all those affected by this weekends seemingly senseless shooting that left six people dead and twelve injured in Arizona.

Although neither the motive nor the full extent of the ripple effects from these events have yet to unfolded, Congress already announced that all legislation scheduled for consideration this week will be postponed. This includes efforts to repeal President Obama‘s healthcare reform law.

Maybe this hiatus will enable people, all sides of the divide to step back and reflect on the real issues. Maybe, they should consider healthcare through the eyes of an impartial observer.

UK physician and medical reporter Dr Karine Nohr recently returned from the States, where she spent one week observing in a cardiology clinic in San Diego and another observing a primary care clinic in New York City.

Among her “observations” Dr Nohr thought it was “wonderful to see” the integrative medicine approach in both specialties. For example, she was impressed that patients undergoing cardiac rehabilitation were offered physical rehabilitation in a gym, vegetarian cooking classes, music classes, yoga, meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, managing anxiety and other modalities such as acupuncture and spiritual healing.

On the other hand, she was shocked to see how much unproductive time and energy in American medical practice, was devoted to financial matters. “A substantial part of the consultation might address what a particular patient’s insurance might, or conversely might not cover. This was completely irrespective of the patient’s needs and I did not witness any discussions with patients as to how important it was for them to undergo a particular investigation” reflected Dr Nohr.  “If a patient was well insured, then the degree of over-investigation or unnecessary investigation or unnecessary follow-up could be shocking. This is partly because doctors are reimbursed for procedures and not for talking with patients. Additionally, American doctors are so litigatious-conscious if a patient requests an investigation, that investigation would be done.”

Maybe, there’s something to be learned from this outsider’s view. What do you think?

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