The latest sick care-ism is medical consumerism. This latest affront to the profession—one that affects medical insurers as well—comes as a direct result of the national effort to encourage people to take greater control of their medical care. Obamacare made citizens aware that they had choices and challenged them to educate themselves. Suddenly, yesterday’s patient became tomorrow’s potential customer.
But, there are issues when we try to make patients into consumers:
Don't get me wrong. Empowering patients to make better decisions in collaboration with their doctors makes intuitive sense and there is lots of evidence, for example, using shared decision making in preference sensitive conditions, that it does so. But, I've also noticed that a lot of people buy stupid stuff when they shouldn't. Like doctors. We need evidence that patient consumerism leads to less spending, not more. There are many perils to DIY medicine. The same applies to doctor consumerism, who, after all, are making most of the wasteful purchases, not patients.
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs
Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org. He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at www.bridgehealth.com and www.cliexa.com and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at www.globalminded.org, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.