Medicine is moving faster than the bureaucracies can keep up.
Here is the cover of a major medical journal that was sent to me free of charge. You’ll notice the huge ad. That is not a tear away, that is the actual cover. Can you imagine how much the drug company spent for that ad? Do you think it could possibly have influenced the content of the Journal either in this or future editions?
How might the public react to a politician if on the podium there was a huge poster stating “brought to you by big oil?” I suspect there would be major concern about undue influence.
Pharmacies Pay For Medical Education
One of the most coercive aspects of our current healthcare system is the way that medical education is subsidized by pharmaceutical companies. The money influences what topics are addressed, and how they are addressed. The companies and the doctors who take their money are always careful to have a process that enables them to look like they are not connected. In fact they are. As you can see, when it comes to medical journals any attempt at hiding the financial impact of pharmaceutical companies is dispensed with. Even the most prestigious medical journals are for sale to the highest bidder. In some cases, they are little more then a billboard.
A Reason To Question Doctors Advice
Doctors are ethical people who try their best to help their patients. However, they can only deliver the knowledge that they possess. In most cases that knowledge has been disproportionately tilted in favor of pharmaceutical remedies. In medical school we are taught precious little about nutrition, environmental and hormonal health.
In most cases your family physician has little to share with you regarding supplements, nutrition, and lifestyle. Doctors are too busy being force-fed pharmaceutical information. They are valued by their doctor peers not by their global health and nutritional fund of knowledge, but rather by their knowledge of drugs, bugs and pharmacologic agents. That is why doctors do not know how to treat obesity. That is why your doctor may react negatively when you bring up the latest functional medicine, nutritional or supplement idea.
Progressive Doctors Are Ostracized
Those of us who choose to expand our fund of knowledge and pursue information that is not within conventional medicine’s domain do so at our own risk. Although what we do can render enormous benefit to our patients, conventional doctors who choose to remain ignorant about alternative aspects of medicine look at us with suspicion. It is a human trait to reject as irrelevant or dangerous new information without first critically analyzing it. Nowadays most doctors are too exhausted from complying with insurance and government mandates imposed upon them to actually spend time pursuing new information or perform research on behalf of their patients.
The new era of healthcare has brought upon us “vertical integration.” That means that your doctor most likely is no longer an independent operator, but works as part a large group. Physicians thus aligned have financial pressures placed upon them to limit cost, and to refer within the confines of their group. This can put them in conflict between the best path for their patient, and the best path for their financial well-being. Insurance based doctors also face limits on the way they can practice medicine. If they do things that the insurance company considers to be “not standard of care,” or if they are deemed to be costing the insurance company too much money (in most cases by providing expanded patient services) they can be fined or even dismissed from the Insurance company.
By working independent of any insurance companies reimbursement model, your concierge doctor can be an encumbered to advocate exclusively on your behalf. The best of all circumstances is to have the concierge physician working on your behalf who is also an expert in functional medicine.
The new era of medicine will be more conformist, more regulated, more limited, less patient centered then ever before. Doctors are becoming cogs in the machine rather than individuals capable of responding to each patient’s unique needs. Many patients will find this form of mediocrity acceptable. If you’re not one of them, align yourself with a functional concierge physician now.
Medicine is moving faster than the bureaucracies can keep up. Only an independent provider has the freedom to move forward as the science progresses. Insurance companies, hospitals, large healthcare organizations all have an incentive to maximize profit. Their best way to achieve that is to provide less service for more money. The incentive for an independent direct care doctor is quite the opposite. Providing more care, generating greater value, delivering tangible results drives their success.
To your best health,
Dr. Stephen Petteruti
Photo credit: Getty Images