Saturday, February 19, 2011

Aren't doctors supposed to be in the driver's seat?

If you're a patient, and you don't have a good doctor sitting next to you in the passenger seat, you're in trouble buddy.  Because patients who navigate without collaborating with a doctor are more likely to pursue worthless treatments, instead of pursuing treatments that have been more rigorously evaluated for their effectiveness.  Also--come on now, let's not throw doctors under the bus here--they go through a rigorous training process themselves, and see thousands of patients, and if they care a lick about you, they can help you access the best tools available to achieve the best health possible.

The problem is, your doctor doesn't own your disease.  If your diabetes is poorly controlled, you are going to be the one that is at risk for a heart attack, kidney failure, and and amputation.  And when multiple treatment options exist, who really knows better than you which options work best for you and are most aligned with the way you are made?  And as helpful as your doctor is, they have a thousand other patients they're taking care of.  And let's be realistic--sometimes things fall through the cracks....

The ultimate driver's seat patient

Who is the  ultimate driver's seat patient?  How about this guy:  A 44 year old male who has diabetes.  Because he collaborates thousands of other diabetics almost daily using a social site for diabetics, he is well aware of his what his care should look like, and he has collaborated with this doctor to develop a treatment plan that has achieved these goals for his A1C and his blood pressure.  He explores point of care testing options with his doctor to minimize the hassle factor of having to run around all over creation getting his blood done.  And the icing on the cake:  because he also reads this blog, and is aware of concerns of how his sedentary job is probably making it harder and more expensive for him to control his diabetes, his company has provided him with a treadmill work station as part of a pilot project to study the ROI on creating a virtual indoor walking path for him to use.  Now that's a patient in the driver's seat.