Monday, October 8, 2012

Do your doctor's talk about you?

Mine do. And I think its a good thing. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer the first thing they did was set up a day of appointments with the medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgeon and social worker where they all examined me and looked at my test results and then had a meeting and set up a treatment plan for me. I know there are other times where they have talked about me because they tell me. They email each other, they call each other. They confer. I like that. I think they talk about me and don't tell me.

Apparently the idea of coordinating care through collaboration is known to be cost saving and provide better patient care.I was reading this article on what they didn't tell us about health care reform at the debates and was particularly struck by topic 5 on how the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic do things right:

"The candidates agreed during the debate that more needs to be done to control the cost of health care.
 
Obama praised the Cleveland Clinic as a model for new ways of controlling the cost of care. "They actually provide great care cheaper than average," he said. "And the reason they do is because they do some smart things."

One approach he highlighted was the collaborative approach of the clinic's doctors. Instead of each doctor ordering a different test, they meet and decide as a team how to approach the patient's problem. This prevents duplication. The team of doctors also provides preventive care...
 

One of the big differences between the Cleveland Clinic and other hospitals is that it and other multi-specialty clinics like the Mayo Clinic... employ their own doctors and can create these teams. In most traditional hospitals, doctors are independent private practitioners who are left to making their own choices.

Because Cleveland Clinic's doctors are paid fixed salaries, there is less incentive to do unnecessary tests or procedures compared to a doctor who works on a fee-for-service basis...

"Going to separate doctors with their own plans is expensive. These integrated group plans work well and the ongoing preventive care they provide -- working with doctors, nutritionists, nurses, nurse practitioners and the rest -- ultimately save on costs.""

Doctors who talk to each other share ideas and you end up with better treatment so what is there to lose? I am all for saving money and getting better care.

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