Surgeon-author Pauline Chen starts a weekly online column at the NY Times. Her first piece deals with the growing divide between physicians and patients:

There is a tragic irony in the growing divide between us. We all want the same thing: the best care possible. But we have lost the ability to converse thoughtfully with one another. And because of that loss, we can no longer discuss the meaning of illness, care, health and policy in a way that is relevant to all of us.

Many reasons for this. The physician payment system doesn’t value time, so relationships cannot be nurtured. Patient care is fractured, with the average Medicare patient seeing over five doctors annually. The advent of hospitalists introduces new physician faces during periods of hospitalization.

With more doctors that take care of you, medical error can be introduced, and miscommunication becomes more frequent.

It is no wonder why patients are becoming increasingly distrustful of the healthcare system.


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