You walk into your primary care physician’s office and explain that you are experiencing some unusual, uncomfortable symptoms. He or she then asks a couple questions, refers to your chart and sends you on your way to take a battery of tests (some ultimately necessary, some not) and identify the source of your discomfort. You leave the hasty appointment and begin your journey to numerous specialists – each authorizing another blood test, another x-ray and another prescription. Sound familiar?
Unfortunately, with primary care physicians buckling under time constraints as a result of an impending national physician shortage, the protocol of fast treatment instead of efficient treatment is becoming increasingly common.
In today’s healthcare system, physicians might feel pressure to order a series of tests and treatments before having adequate information as a way to quickly assess the cause of their patients’ conditions. But, what’s often forgotten is that excessive treatment can be dangerous. of their patients’ conditions. But, what’s often forgotten is that excessive treatment can be dangerous. A recent article in Medpage Today notes that when physicians do too much too soon, the patient can suffer – whether it’s from unnecessary exposure to radiation, or from duplicate screenings.
One example in the post that highlights is a woman who was told to undergo a CT scan and MRI for a simple black eye. She was then informed that she may have a brain tumor, and endured two weeks of emotional distress as she waited to learn it was ultimately nothing.
So what’s a patient to do? It’s not easy to find a safe middle ground between undertreatment and overtreatment. One potential solution is ensuring that patients and their primary care physicians maintain strong, ongoing relationships, so that the physician can truly access the patient’s full health picture.
Principal Medical Group, for example, provides high-quality individualized care. And because we practice the concierge model of care, our physicians are afforded the time to truly get to know each of their patients, helping protect them from overtreatment. With a small patient pool, PMG physicians have the time and availability to understand their patients' backgrounds and health needs, therefore creating a more succinct, efficient care plan not only as a doctor, but as a care advocate. Contact PMG to learn about how you can obtain the care that’s best for you.