American doctors are working in one of the most complex healthcare systems in the world.
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Primary care physicians, in particular, are at the center of the medical home, with the vital responsibility of playing the role of manager and gatekeeper of every patient's journey through the healthcare system. Yet, while physicians are charged with directing referrals, diagnostic tests and treatment options, every physician operates under the rules, regulations and restrictions of the government, the payers and the employer.
More and more doctors are feeling pressure from regulations that are at best time-wasters, and at worst, not designed for optimal patient outcomes.
Physicians Can Advocate For Changes in Healthcare
This is where physician involvement in tackling regulatory limitations comes into play. A daunting concept for most doctors, changing policies can seem virtually impossible for busy physicians. But at the same time, it can be a vital step to improving the healthcare system within which doctors must work to help patients.
Advocacy, the method by which doctors can achieve effective change in the healthcare system, is a powerful and underutilized process. Advocacy involves promoting your goals through a systematic plan of action. For physicians, advocacy begins with a plan.
The Steps in Creating Change
Virtually every doctor wants to have more freedom over day-to-day work. Yet, making change happen begins with defining a specific goal. Achieving that goal requires determining who has the power to implement those changes. For example, policies may be implemented by the federal or state government, by payers or by the employer.
Pamela Wible MD, a primary care physician in Eugene, Oregon, explain that it is important to avoid simply complaining about the situation, but instead, to present a solution to whoever is in charge.
Presenting a realistic plan for a solution to your problem allows the people from whom you are requesting a change to better visualize the outcome that you are looking for.