As much as I think I’m a pretty good negotiator I know that when I go to a car dealership, I’m at a disadvantage because they have industry knowledge that I don’t. We all have experienced that in our lives. Any job that you hold undoubtedly results in gaining industry knowledge that others don’t have. When I worked at McDonalds as a teenager I gained a knowledge of the fast food industry although some of that knowledge has made me a little more choosy about where I choose to eat.
When we go to our doctor’s office the same thing happens. It’s a business and their goal is to downplay the negatives and advertise the positives and as a result you may not know everything about your doctor that you would like.
“You Better Call Early”
Only one third of all doctors are primary care physicians according to an article by Smartmoney yet doctors’ offices are flooded with people who have common ailments that don’t need the care of a specialist. If you’re pretty sure that you’re going to need a prescription for something, make your appointment now because they aren’t going to fit you in when you’re really hating life. They don’t want to tell you that and appear customer unfriendly but when you’re really sick, don’t expect to get in that day.
“We Know You Have to Work!”
They realize you have a day job because they have one too. Complaining about the fact that you have to miss work to see the doctor isn’t going to get you anywhere. Not only have they heard that for years, you were the one who called them.
“I’m a Slave to the Insurance Companies”
Since you don’t have the money to pay for your medical care out of your own pocket, your doctor has to keep your insurance company happy in order to make you better. Your insurance company may keep you from seeing a certain specialist, getting a certain test, or allowing you an adequate amount of hospital care. That’s not your doctor’s fault.
“I’m not Telling you My History”
If you want to see if your doctor has been sued or has any disciplinary actions against him, be prepared to do some digging. Try the National Practitioner Data Bank or county court records.
“If you’re over 65, I don’t know if I can Help”
Current statistics indicate that there is only one geriatrician for every 5,000 elderly patients. This is largely because elderly patients who have more problems that need treated pay the least because of Medicare. As one doctor put it, “its fiscal suicide” to treat elderly patients.
“What’s With the Computers?”
With everything becoming digital, you would think that your doctor would harness the power of technology to make their life and yours easier but that’s not the case. Although electronic records are slowing catching on, the cost of the technology is expensive. For now, expect the same old thick files for your medical records especially if you have a doctor not accustomed to using modern technology.
“It Ain’t What it Used to Be”
Although the median salary for primary care physicians is just over $200,000, new doctors are coming out of college with an average of $130,000 of debt. Dealing with insurance companies is becoming more difficult while also paying out less money. Doctors are facing new challenges to their business models that they haven’t seen in the past causing many to become part of healthcare networks instead of running their business the way they would like.
The business of medicine is changing rapidly as new regulations are enacted. If your doctor’s office seems a little more like a business than an old time country doctor, it’s because the business of medicine is becoming more challenging.