Meaningful improvement of the US healthcare system requires Americans to heal the broken relationship between physicians and their individual patients, reconnecting patients with primary care doctors who have become less and less available to them as a result of crowded practice schedules and administrative barriers. So says Dr Stephen C Schimpff, former head of the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr Schimpff, professor of medicine and public policy in the University of Maryland system and a research associate of the ArMel Center for Technology & Public Policy, analyzes the doctor-patient breakdown at the root of America’s healthcare meltdown in his new book Fixing The Primary Care Crisis: Reclaiming the Patient-Doctor Relationship and Returning Healthcare Decisions to You and Your Doctor. ArMel Center innovation scholar N.J. Slabbert calls Dr Schimpff’s book “a milestone in America’s healthcare reform thinking which every US presidential candidate should read”.
Dr Schimpff argues that while there will be a cost to fix the healthcare system, solutions are achievable and will be both successful and economically bearable if the correct steps are taken to change the way in which the medical system requires and allows primary care physicians to work. His book is introduced by economist and lawyer Anirban Basu, CEO of Sage Consulting, who asks: “How is it possible for a nation that is the world’s wealthiest and most powerful, with reams of data on hand and with an abundance of MBAs to analyze them, to produce arguably the advanced world’s most inefficient healthcare system?”
In his answer, Dr Schimpff subjects the US healthcare infrastructure to a penetratingly critical analysis, but he doesn’t only criticize and uncover weaknesses: he also spotlights positive steps and puts forward concrete suggestions for progress. A substantial portion of the book identifies innovators — including physicians, insurers, employers and healthcare organizations — whose ideas have made important advances and must be built upon to achieve more progress. Dr Schimpff seeks to transform primary care by convincing Americans that each one of us needs a primary care physician who can give us give the time we need.”This usually means a doctor who has agreed to a smaller patient panel and fewer patient visits per day.” How this is to be achieved is spelled out in a carefully researched book that Dr Schimpff has written in non-technical language aimed at the general public, whom he urges to take up the cause of healthcare reform instead of leaving it exclusively to politicians and bureaucrats.
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