Primary care needs more sex appeal

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Cardiologist Dr. Wes gives his take on primary care’s demise, asking, “How does one go about putting the ‘sexy’ back in primary care?”

He contends that the sex appeal of primary care has been completely neutered. Indeed, paperwork and pre-authorization responsibilities overwhelm the professional satisfaction of the field. The purported savior, the patient centered medical home, comes with heavy regulation, putting its potential in doubt.

He also supports what I’ve mentioned before about the medical school bias favoring specialty care, mostly due to the dollars specialists bring in to academic medical center.

And how can primary care compete against the luxury that accompanies specialist care?

Primary care is not about medical robots, waterfall lobbies, big screen TV’s and marble floors. But those things are sexy. And we all know that Americans, like bugs, are drawn to bright and shiny objects. We love the whizbang, the big buildings, the nice decor. We scream for the latest and greatest hospital additions with computer technology and the latest robots, only to turn around the next day to scream about our hospital bills. God forbid we put two and two together.

Primary care doctors are up against all of this and the marketing efforts they employ. No wonder they cannot compete.

Those who practice cash only or concierge models of primary care know how to put the sexy back. Will they be the survivors when health reform is all said and done?

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