by David M. Odom, MD
You have a health problem and you want it analyzed and treated, if not cured.
So, after a long wait, the day finally arrives for your appointment with the specialist.
You sit down, and he introduces himself. But first, the preliminaries: he needs to fill out the electronic medical record. So, he whacks away on the laptop, filling in every box and line. He is required to do this by his employer.
Wait a minute, you say! I am employing him! This is my chance finally to get to the bottom of this problem!
Wrong! You are not employing him. He is not your doctor. He is his employer’s doctor. He owes his allegiance to the operating company that owns and operates the clinic. The customer of the clinic owner are collectively, the insurance companies. The doctor does not work for you.
His employer considers the electronic medical record as legal proof of complete evaluation, a mechanism for legal protection. But, how does this help you? How does this get you closer to your quest? You thought that the medical record was a cogent evaluation of your health problem. Sorry, not true!
So, he continues to ask questions: “Are you sexually active?” “How many times have you had sex during the last week?” “Masturbation?” “Do you have any firearms in the house?” “Do you spank your children?”
After the electronic medical record is filled out, he turns to you and asks: “What brings you in today?”
Within minutes after you express a list of symptoms, he is writing prescriptions: Prozac®, Xanax®, Vicodin®, Nexium®, or some other pharmaceuticals designed to smooth over whatever ails you.
He appears distracted. He hurries on. Remember, he works for his employer. He needs to produce. That means seeing more patients during the business day.
The documentation that he has produced results in a “superbill”, which is a receipt that is electronically sent to the billing department from his laptop.
Although your problem remains, the specialist has conducted what his employer needs in order to generate cash flow. There has been disposition of your case without any measurable benefit to you.
You begin to realize that no one is going to evaluate your problem in any deep and organized way.
This is the problem with the modern system of medical care. It is definitely not “healthcare”.
And you don’t have “health insurance”, you have “medical insurance” regardless of the name change over the previous 15 years.
You need to find a health professional trained in functional medicine, perhaps including bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, whether a Naturopath or MD or DO. You need someone who will listen to you carefully, someone willing to spend the time and effort to look carefully into your situation. You need someone who works for you.
Do you have a question that you’d like Dr. Odom to answer? Submit your question here and look for Dr. Odom’s answer in a future post.