Despite some positive economic metrics as of late, most people feel we have all seen better times, and this impacts the decision-making of individual medical care providers as they try and balance economic pressures with quality patient care.
During economic downturns it is common to see an increase in mental problems such as anxiety, depression, drug addiction, insomnia, low morale etc. These conditions are present in both patient and the medical teams that serve them. Even in the past when our economy has been better, there has been a history of political conflicts and disagreements within the medical care team. In my opinion, those conflicts are significantly higher presently since our current life stressors have been significantly higher as well.
Also, the amount of paperwork the medical care team needs to compete has been increasing significantly over the last few decades. This is distracting the focus away from patient care and consuming a lot of energy and time.
On top of this, economic pressures have made many people increase their desire to make profit as their only or most important goal when practicing medicine. In the end, our ONLY goal as a medical team should obviously be patient care. Patients are humans with illnesses who are suffering. They also tell us confidential information and they put their lives on our hands. They also pay us significant amounts of money for our work. Some doctors even call them clients, which I also think is certainly not a good term. It is alarming and shocking to me to see that the goal of many health care workers has shifted so much from our one and real goal, which is to focus on the patient’s well being, ONLY.
In my day-to-day encounters, and in what I read, it is very clear to me that all of the above issues are having a significant negative impact on the quality of medical care and the patient outcomes today.
Adolfo Cotter, MD