Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Healthcare and Vietnam: Loss and Grief

As a Vietnam Veteran and Family Physician, I'm noticing parallels that are bothersome.  Many times recently, I've thought, "This feels like Vietnam"  How?
By the discouragement in the physicians as the transformation of healthcare erodes their autonomy and sense of independence.  It has intensified and dragged down their quality and their spirit.

The "metrics" of the year or quarter or month or week are dumbing down the practice of medicine.  Just like the "metrics" of body counts in Vietnam killed the morale of the American soldier.  They weren't killers and rebelled against the concept of killing people just to have something to count.  We physicians aren't counters and coders as the EMR and a misguided group of programmers and MBA's/ MHA's have labeled and aimed us.

We care and work and serve much more than count and code, BUT we are selling out to the "Numerati" and other numbers/financial geeks.  How much time is left to care and work and serve?

I grieve the loss of the medical profession, just as I grieved for the deep wounds of the Vietnam Veterans, used as killers and body counters by misguided people in Washington, DC.

What do you think?

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