Good piece on some of the debate on the respective role of patients and doctors in improving healthcare, featuring some of the thoughts of Atul Gawande and Malcolm Gladwell, as well as the real life experience of Tara Parker-Pope. Quote:
The real problem is whether the “experts” are willing to make the judgement calls that our training provides? When to refer? When not to refer? When to get the MRI? When not to get the MRI? When to prescribe antibiotics? When to hold ground and sympathize when it is a virus? When to comfort, empathize, and heal when it means stopping chemotherapy when treatment is futile? When to do surgery? When to hold off? Are we willing to have others observe us in action so we can be even better? If not, why not?
For health care to be better, doctors must lead the change. No one else can. Insurers and employers have exhausted strategies to make patients more accountable. Increasing deductibles and co-pays indefinitely won’t work. Despite the unprecedented access to information, empowered patients and other patient advocates will never be able to fully close the knowledge gap. That difference in knowledge, as Gladwell points out in his book, Blink, is what allows an expert to distinguish between an authentic piece of artwork and a very good looking fake.