Surgeon James Rickert examines the growing financial conflicts of interest which affect physician decisions, and discusses how patients can try to protect themselves.
“Because of the necessary and comforting trust we bestow on our doctors, we typically do not view health care decisions as business transactions in any way and leave our natural skepticism and instincts as smart consumers at the doctor’s office door,” writes Rickert. “When a patient contemplates surgery or other unpleasant or dangerous treatments, even the most jaded and cynical among us wants to believe that his or her physician is thinking only of their best interest with absolutely no other motivations in play.”
However, after reviewing the evidence, Rickert comments, “When faced with data such as this, it is important that Americans realize the truth about medical care and throw away our comfort and complete trust. There are many actions that can be promoted to help patients avoid inappropriate care secondary to physician financial conflicts.”
What Can Patients Do In The Face Of Physician Conflict Of Interest? (Health Affairs Blog, April 10, 2015)