Experienced practicing physicians know that the most gratifying aspect of patient care is also their most powerful tool in achieving effective care. This cardinal feature of private healthcare is the therapeutic and healing relationship between physician and patient.
EFFICACY vs. EFFECTIVE HEALTHCARE
The difference between simply recommending evidence-based treatment with known efficacy and achieving effective long-term care is entirely dependent on the relationship between caregiver and patient. Studies of patient compliance prove this point time and time again.
The current fad for protocols, guidelines and pay for performance has done surprisingly little to improve patient compliance. Unfortunately, simply documenting that guideline recommendations have been initiated does not guarantee effective care.
Any progress in promoting efficacious treatment has been more than offset by the erosion of tools used to achieve effective healthcare. This erosion has occurred on both sides of the physician-patient relationship.
PATIENT’S ACCESS TO EFFECTIVE CARE COMPROMISED
Third party control of healthcare financing has understandably led to third party limitation on healthcare access. Reviewing the three freedoms of private healthcare in What Is Private Healthcare? Will show readily show how managed care and government regulation limit patient access to effective physician-patient relationships.
PHYSICIAN’S USE OF EFFECTIVE CARE COMPROMISED
Private physicians need freedom of choice to achieve effective patient relationships as well. They need freedom from managed care and government restrictions limiting treatment choices. Freedom from government regulations limiting how they conduct their businesses. Freedom from managed care and government limitations on free market reimbursement for their services.
Without these f freedoms, they divert time and attention to the burden of running a heavily regulated business. Without these freedoms, the time and attention needed to develop and maintain effective patient relationships is compromised.
WHY YOU CHOSE PRIVATE PRACTICE
Choosing to decline HMO contracting, withdraw from PPO contracting, convert to a concierge practice or opt out of Medicare can be bold and frightening steps. Many have done some or all of these for a single reason: to return to the gratification and professionalism of relationship based patient care.
All practicing physicians self select their market share, and by their third party contracting or rejection thereof help shape the character of the market as a whole (see Self Select Your Market share). Choosing to avoid limitations on your freedom to practice and to serve patients who value their freedom to make their own healthcare decisions results in the most gratifying pursuit of your profession. Others may be doctors with jobs while private physicians are professionals pursuing meaningful careers once again.
You chose private healthcare because you believe in the primacy of the physician-patient relationship. Your colleagues respect this choice. APPA is here to defend it.