Do you know the name of your hospital doctor?

And if you don’t, does it really matter?

Bob Wachter discusses a recent study concluding that very few could actually name their hospitalist one month after an admission.

Ideally, “patients need to have a personal connection to their physicians, particularly at times of great need and uncertainty,” writes Dr. Wachter.

I agree, but the health system has incentives geared towards giving more disjointed, fractionated care. Hospitalists work in shifts, so it’s likely more than one will be caring for a patient during a given admission. If you’re in an academic medical center, the cap on resident work-hours increases the number of doctors you’ll see, possibly as many as three different teams, in addition to the attending.

And of course, there’s people like Dr. Ernest Moy, medical officer at the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, who wonders what the big deal is: “Do you really need to know who your doctor is, or is it more important to know some processes that will help you get at the information you need?”

It seems that the depersonalization of medicine is reaching full stride. Doctors are beginning to become no more valuable than faceless technicians.

Or replaceable parts.

View 5 Comments >

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories