The Utility of Physician Review Websites

One of the recent comments on this blog was in response to my post about whether patients should be able to direct their care. The “cyberchondriac” patient who comes armed with the latest and greatest in treatment options also reminds me of the patient who has done lots of research about his physician online. The advent of websites that “review” doctors and “score” them based on patient-physician interactions, impressions of care, or outcomes are a new thing that many doctors do not know what to do about.

Now more than ever physicians are being faced with the complete 360 degree evaluation of themselves. This evaluation comes from all directions. Insurance companies evaluate physicians in the form of denials, hospitals evaluate physicians in the form of peer reviews, patients evaluate physicians in the form of outcomes and overall patient-physician interactions. And now, we are being evaluated on the internet for all to see.

The truth of the matter is that there is not much we can do about it. It is essentially the era of the consumer patient and the freedom of information on the internet is merely a confirmation of that. But the problem with most physicians is that we are a hypersensitive bunch. We have become physicians through a ton of hard work, several admissions processes, countless hours of study, and massive personal and financial sacrifice. We seek praise and thus we don’t like it when people talk about us publicly.

The problem with physician websites is that they are just like any other review site. Whether it be for restaurants or hotels, you will undoubtedly have the consumer who thought it was a messy hotel room and that the food was disgusting. There is also the rare but enchanted consumer who loves everything about his meal and stay. There is no standard “Zagat’s” score for the physician and even if there was, it would undoubtedly contain many metrics that physicians have no control over.

The main difference between reviewing other businesses and physicians is that patient outcomes often have nothing to do with a physician but more to do with the patient. Many diseases are incurable and chronic and human behavior and genetics are at the root of many medical problems. Thus, patients who do not have great clinical outcomes are not the biggest fans of their doctors or the medical system. Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of patients out there with debilitating diseases who do not get better but still love their doctors. However, this is not the norm.

Physician reviews? We as physicians must welcome both criticism and praise. We must always know that at the end of the day, not matter what patients do or say, whether they are nice or mean, we are the ones who are looking out for them. That is what we signed up for. We can’t take it personally. We need to view everything as constructive and drown out the background noise.

Fighting Capitalism With Capitalism

As one more bit of proof that the education system of the United States is a dysfunctional piece of liberal crap, how else to explain the fact the far-leftist moron Michael Moore actually got funding, which assumes an interested audience, for his latest movie, titled Capitalism: A Love Story, which, according to Reuters, “launches an all out attack on the capitalist system, arguing that it benefits the rich and condemns millions to poverty.” Hahaha!

Well, to be fair, it is not capitalism that condemns millions to poverty, but instead the poor are doomed by the destruction of the purchasing power of the little bit of money that they get and things cost too much for the poor to afford them, and which is deliberately caused by a government so stupid (audience shouts out “How stupid, Wonderful And Wise Mogambo (WAWM)?”) that it deficit-spends money on the poor to alleviate their poverty by allowing the Federal Reserve to produce large, persistent expansions in the money supply with which to buy up the government debt, an expansion of the money supply which erodes the purchasing power of the money, so that the little bit of money owned by the poor doesn’t buy as much!

If the education system of the USA were not so egregiously bad, he would know that fact, and everybody would know that fact, and so when he went to some producers and said he wanted them to finance a new documentary about how capitalism is evil and (I assume) communism is good, they would have laughed in his face and said, “Hahahaha! Where did you get such a stupid idea? Are you some kind of moron?”

Or, alternatively, he could have saved a lot of time and just come to me and asked me and I could have told him, “Hahahaha! Where did you get such a stupid idea? Are you some kind of moron?”

Unfortunately, he did not learn anything from all of that, and actually has the movie concluding that, unbelievably, “Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people, and that something is democracy.” Hahahahahaha!

The use of the extra-long “Hahahahahaha!” is my clever way of indicating that this is where a Junior Mogambo Ranger (JMR) who has achieved even a glimmer of True Mogambo Enlightenment (TME) starts laughing in Sublime Mogambo Scorn (SMS)! Hahahahahaha! Just like that! SMS! Hahahahaha!

I thought I was calmed down and was reaching for a bottle of something alcoholic so as to deaden the pain of my stomach hurting from so much laughing when I started laughing all over again when my eyes again fell across the idea that democracy replaces capitalism! Hahahahahaha! I never heard anything so stupid! Hahahahaha!

The first thing that comes to mind, of course, is “Did democracy finance his stupid documentary, or some capitalist?” Hahahaha!

Beyond that, the mind reels! While we are at it, why not replace the production of expensive gasoline not with democracy, but with a super-majority voting system? And we could heat our houses with gang rule! And we can replace expensive food with some dictatorship! Wow! There’s no end of what you can do if you are willing to be ridiculous! Hahaha!

The dismal fact is, in case you were wondering, that capitalism in free enterprise is the only hope that the poor have, if not by sheer dint of theoretical argument that creating jobs is vastly superior to government handouts, then by the complete lack of any successful enrichment of the poor by any other method, mostly because they involve the government creating more and more money which destroys the purchasing power of the little bit of money that the poor had.

But since we Americans have decided, with a stupidity that absolutely staggers the imagination, to prove, once again, that exact same, sad, sorry lesson repeated and repeated over 4,500 years of history, then investing becomes easy when another lesson from that same 4,500 years of history is to own gold!

In fact, it becomes so easy that you can’t help but giggle, “Whee!”