Physician, Not Provider

Let’s face it. Most people want the same thing: deeper relationships with fewer people. Doctors are no different.

Doctors want deeper relationships with fewer patients. The irony, or what may seem counterintuitive at first, is that deeper relationships with fewer people are actually more beneficial: emotionally, physically, spiritually, and even financially.

Patients want 2 main things from their Doctor: time and advice.

But you don’t get this being a “Provider”.

Why do Doctors allow others to call them “providers?” It’s even worse when Doctors call themselves “providers.”

In the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the efficiency movement gave rise to something called “scientific management,” as the deman for efficiencies in every sector of life increased. This was a big factor in the “modernizing” of scientific, medical, and engineering solutions.

This system gave rise to “medical corporatism…a corporate system of mass health care, organized as a vertically integrated hierarchy of relatively specialized practitioners and animated more by a managerial concern with collective efficiency than by the pursuit of patronage or individual competitive advantage.” (Sturdy and Cooter, pg 42)

There was a period in time where scientific management, or more specifically, looking at disease in the aggregate, was very important. But, as with many things, the pendulum has swung too far.

Seeing patients for 8 minutes or less may be an efficient way to see as many patients in one day as possible, but it is no way to truly care for patients. While it may be an efficient way to run a business and collect data in the aggregate, it is definitely not the most effective way to practice the art of medicine.

Medical corporatism gave rise to physicians becoming “providers,” or simply cogs in a wheel. Which has led many physicians to fee like a rat on a wheel in a cage.

The word Physician actually means “one who is skilled in the art of healing.” This does not describe a “provider,” who is tasked with seeing patients for less than 8 minutes at a time and just offering (or providing) approved treatments and prescriptions.

What is the solution?

First, we need to recognize that Medicine has been stolen. It has been hijacked.

We need to steal medicine back.

The practice of medicine is at the intersection of science, art, and business. Yes, all three are equally important.

The concept of Stealing Medicine Back has to do with a mindset of what the practice of medicine is, or what it can become. Everyone assumes that science and medicine go together; fewer and fewer people, however, believe that medicine and busienss go together.

But they do. Medicine and business go together; but most physcians, throughout the 20th century (and now into the 21st) ignored the business of Medicine; that’s how medicine was stolen. Yes, physicians were allowed to specialize, and with that specialization came an increase in incomes across all specialties.

But, as all doctors are becoming keenly aware, the current system is unsustainable. Unless physicians learn to do things differently, their incomes are going to start declining. It would be a surprise if, as a Provider, you haven’t already felt the pressure from hospital administrators and insurance companies. The groups that stole medicine from physicians are now telling physicians that their incomes are too high!

Those thieves of medicine are also telling providers that they are now going to be responsible for patient outcomes, regardless of the patient’s health or compliance (or lack thereof) to “doctor’s orders.” And if that’s not enough, compensation – the provider’s income – is being tied directly to these uncontrollable and ill-defined outcomes.

How do Physicians Steal Medicine Back?

First and foremost, stop accepting being referred to – and even calling yourself – a “provider.” It is demeaning and detrimental to the long-term welfare of physicians everywhere.

Secondly, it’s time for Physicians to get educated about the business and the art of medicine. Physicians – those skilled in the art of healing – need “skin in the game.”

Another way to Steal Medicine Back is to understand that patients want 2 things from their Physician: Time  and Advice.

This can not be done by Providers. It can, however, be done by Physicians and Medical Advisors.

Go to: A Solution for Physicians

Go Back to: The Future of Medicine