*** Primary Care Physicians vs. Nurse Practitioners ***
It’s the marquis turf battle that’s sexy and exciting for journalists, politicians, and healthcare groups. State-by-state changes have been giving nurse practitioners (NPs) more and more (sometimes less) ability to practice more medicine with less supervision.
In many states and federally, expansion of NP scope of practice has, by the viewpoint of many physicians and physician groups, become the Pandora’s Box that will reshape primary care for the worse, challenge the future of the profession of primary care physicians, increase healthcare costs, and cause great harm to patients and communities. Full legal independent scope to practice medicine is the line in the sand that most states yet have not crossed, requiring NPs to have a “collaborative agreement” with a physician who “supervises” their care of patients.
Computers are getting smarter, better, and more personable, there’s no doubt about it. Will there ever come a time, however, when computers get so good at human interaction that even the highest-skilled in the work force — primary care physicians (PCPs) — go the way of the travel agent?
I began wondering this a few months ago after listening to Dr. Martin Kohn, a physician who works at IBM Research and works on integrating the Watson supercomputer (of Jeopardy! fame) in healthcare. He spoke about computer technology changes, their history, and their integration with healthcare.
Could computers be the biggest disruptors of healthcare delivery (and my career as primary care physician)? Here are five reason why, one day, primary care physicians could possibly be replaced by computer…
Last week I gave testimony to the Oak Park Village Board in support of a youth bicycle helmet ordinance (passed 5-2!). It was pure policy work for population-based health safety outcomes. Using my voice as a primary care physician (who just happens to bike to work regularly) was instrumental to the broader public health arguments made.
The “integration” of the two realms, primary care and public health, came up regularly throughout my year on the Board of Directors for the AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians), especially through my Commission liaison role on the Health of the Public and Science.
I learned something new: public health and primary care aren’t integrated, and a number of groups are working to bridge the two.
People say that doctors make the most difficult patients. They’re wrong. My parents make the most difficult patients.
My parents are great case studies for the challenges of primary care and prevention. Years upon years of my attempts reinforcing health education have seen more failures than successes. What can we do to win the primary care and public health battle of prevention? Continue reading →