Monday, January 12, 2009

I vote for Hospital X ...

Getting the best of healthcare treatment should be the rights of all individuals. Unfortunately, the healthcare market is skewed to favour those with the more moolah. But is money alone the sole determinant of getting the best treatment when you are dealing with cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular issues etc? How do you know to shop for the best place to get your gall bladder out?

This article in NYTimes indicated that it is important to shop around for the best treatment and that physicians should be ethically obligated to disclose whether or not the institution that they are affiliated with is the best place for the patient to receive the treatment indicated. But when you consider how little interaction the physician wants to have with you, as a patient, it renders this a moot point. Many physicians are still of the old school, paternalistic style: I know what's best for you and you should trust and not question my judgment/recommendation.

I was just glad that when my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, he agreed to go to a teaching hospital that my mother frequents. Not only is the cost reasonable (hehehe, we cheated on this one as my sister is a government servant and could get massive discounts for the treatment), the surgeon (a scary and uber competent woman) does the operation on a weekly basis and thus, is well-trained for the occasion.

The thing is, many patients are still unable to communicate their needs well with their physician. It is easy to point the finger at the physician for not being better listeners/willing to spend time with the patient etc., but do we, as patients, pay attention to what and how we tell our problems to our doctors?

Point to ponder.

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