Doctors Behavior Explained At Health Affairs Web Site


NCPA’s Goodman Unveils Why Doctors Don’t Function Like Lawyers or Accountants

DALLAS (October 24, 2006) – Why do doctors so rarely talk to patients by phone or e-mail?  When use of the computer is ubiquitous among other professionals (accountants, lawyers, architects, etc.) why do so few doctors maintain their patient records that way?  Why do so many doctors prescribe medicines without knowing what they cost?  And even when they know about generic substitutes, why don’t they know those costs, or where patients might shop for drugs to get the lowest price?

An article published online by Health Affairs says all these problems are a direct result of the way doctors are paid. 

“Doctors are not paid to talk to you on the phone or by email,” said John C. Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) and author of the article.  “Blue Cross doesn’t pay for these activities; nor does Medicare; nor do most employers.”

“Lawyers are paid by the hour; but doctors get paid by the task,” said Goodman.  “There are many things doctors could do to improve quality and enhance patient satisfaction and control overall costs, but these things are not done because doctors get no compensation for doing them.”

Bottom line according to Goodman: “if we want more patient-pleasing, higher-quality medicine, we have to change the way we pay doctors.”

This article can be accessed online on October 24, 2006 at:
http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/content/full/hlthaff.25.w516/DC2