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AMA and other physician insights

by Tony Chen

If you hadn’t noticed all the press releases from the AMA, they’ve had a busy week at their annual House of Delegates meeting. A few highlights:
- While there was pressure to ban retail clinics outright, they settled on demanding state/federal investigations & regulations to ensure quality and real patient choice (in filling prescriptions). Scott MacStravic takes the view that physicians should spend their time collaborating with these clinics for more referrals, instead of condemning them. When you put all self-interests and politics aside, this really gets to the age-old healthcare triangle of quality, cost, and access - you can never have all 3. In our microwave economy, I believe market demand is growing fastest for access, giving these clinics a lot of market traction.
- AMA delegates were also very wary of pay-for-performance and want to ensure P4P trials don’t come “at the expense of physicians.” You can read their press release here, but essentially physicians want to be confident that agreed-upon metrics are meaningful and drive the right kind of quality improvement.
- Among other highlights, the AMA established principles for health courts, adopted policies to promote healthier food (e.g. fast-food/chain restaurant nutritional labeling), and stopped short of calling heavy video gaming an addiction.

Beyond AMA news, a new study showed that some physicians “self-disclose” too much, often wasting precious time or distracting from the patient conversation. Lonely? Building trust and rapport with the patient? Tired and loss of focus? Comforting the patient by sharing a common problem? Whatever the reason, the researchers were surprised at how often the disclosure seemed to be more about the physician rather than the patient. If physicians cut out a bit of the unnecessary chatter, maybe they would have time to ask if the patient wants to be called on a first name basis or not.


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