Practice guidelines a good antidote to forces of self-interest in medicine

LETTER — Posted July 19, 2004

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Regarding "Better ways to address self-referral than impugning integrity of physicians" (Letters, July 5):

I agree with the published letter regarding self-referral that suggests practice guidelines as a means to control the natural human desire to promote one's own interests.

Physicians would do well to admit that no one and no group can promise to ignore their own interests for the benefit of society. Our society is based on economic principles of every person pursuing his or her own interests, and the social benefit that comes from this. The professional altruism of doctors is usually extended to the patient before them, but as most patients see little of the costs of medical care, this is no protection against overuse of expensive technology.

Let's come clean. The medical profession can't change basic economics or human behavior. At the macro level, what is well-funded gets done. What is not, rots.

The public needs to find effective ways to align their own interests with the interests of the decision-makers in health care if good value is to be restored. Those of us with an interest in medicine as a service and a profession need to help it happen, lest we slide further into the abyss of rising costs sans value.

Bruce E. Robinson MD, MPH, Sarasota, Fla.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/07/19/edlt0719.htm.

Back to top




Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn