An online friend, colleague, and outspoken patient advocate, Trisha Torrey, has an ongoing e-vote about whether people prefer to be called a “patient,” a “consumer,” a “customer,” or some other noun to describe a person who receives healthcare.
My vote is: PATIENT. Here’s why:
Providing medical care is or should be unlike other commercial transactions. The doctor, or other person who gives medical treatment, has a special professional and moral obligation to help the person who’s receiving his or her treatment. This responsibility — to heal, honestly and to the best of one’s ability — overrides any other commitments, or conflicts, between the two. The term “patient” constantly reminds the doctor of the specialness of the relationship. If a person with illness or medical need became a consumer like any other, the relationship — and the doctor’s obligation — would be lessened.
Some might argue that the term “patient” somehow demeans the healthcare receiver. But I don’t agree: From the practicing physician’s perspective, it’s a privilege to have someone trust you with their health, especially if they’re seriously ill. In this context, the term “patient” can reflect a physician’s respect for the person’s integrity, humanity and needs.
*This blog post was originally published at Medical Lessons*
What is a patient? What do they do? What’s their role in the doctor’s office? Are they chassis on a conveyor belt? Are they puzzles for doctors to solve? Are they diseases? Are they demographics? Are they a repository for applied science?
Or are they consumers? Are they paying customers? Are they the ones in charge? Are they employing physicians for their own needs?
It depends. It depends on the situation. It depends on perspective.
Some physicians are very offended when the “consumer” and “customer” labels are applied to patients. They see this as the industrialization of healthcare. We are no longer professionals, we are made into “providers” — sort of smart vending-machine made out of flesh.
Patients, on the other hand, get offended when doctors forget who pays the bill. They see the exam room as a right, not a privilege. They think they should be the most important person in the exam room, being treated with respect rather than having to bow at the altar of doctor knowledge.
Who’s right? It depends. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*
The large healthcare bill has some very good elements in it that should help the average American.
One is a provision that will kick in in 2011 that says all health insurers will need to spend 85 percent of the premium dollar on actually providing care. This means people may actually receive benefits they pay for. What a concept! Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*
As the dust settles on the Great Healthcare Reform Bill of 2010 passage in Congress, it’s time to ask what we got for the effort. No matter what people thought of the bill before, like it or not, it’s here.
Still, few people really understand what the bill contains and when the benefits and costs for the measure will be incurred on a year-by-year basis. Given the bill’s complexity and tortuous path though Social Security and IRS tax codes, this really isn’t a surprise, I suppose.
So here’s my simplified broad-brush overview, broken down by year, culled from several sources as referenced. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*