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Patients as Consumers: Why Shouldn’t I Shop Around?

Now that the mind of the physician is being demystified we have a glimpse into how they view us as their patients. Look at the slew of books & blogs by physicians; what really happens, what they really think.

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman provides an inside look at the physician’s mind, to help, I presume, the patient to get the most out of this relationship.  Also, add to the mix the latest online columnist for The New York Times Dr. Pauline Chen, with her Doctor and Patient column, giving readers a surgeon’s view of this dynamic relationship.

A recent LA Times article advises readers to arm themselves with information in order to get the best care. Long gone are the days of the sacred doctor patient relationship.

So why not shop around for a doctor? We have consumer reports on everything from cruises to pet food, automobiles to fitness centers.If the trend continues, and I see no reason why it won’t, employers are shifting more and more of the responsibility of healthcare spending onto the shoulders of employees, a la HRA’s (Health Reimbursement Accounts) and HSA’s (Health Spending Accounts).

I understand the reason for the shift, ever increasing health insurance premiums (think high single-digit to double-digit increases annually) that hit the company’s bottom line.

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Posted in: HRA/HSA, Patients as Healthcare Consumers

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