That headline sounds too cynical to be true, doesn’t it? But check the financial incentives built into your new health insurance policy.
Do your health insurance company give a discount for using telemedicine instead of actually seeing a doctor? How successful do you think that will be? Check this article from the Wall Street Journal about how often those video providers provide wrong diagnoses of simple skin conditions.
Do you wonder about the “Ask-A-Nurse”service your health insurance company provides? Do you think you might find that it minimizes your medical concerns to maximize corporate profits?
The nurse I called failed to ask one key question (“How long have you had the symptoms?”) so that two months later, when I saw my doc after nearly fainting at the breakfast table, he told me he had both good and bad news. The bad news was that my red cell count was only 25% of normal. The good news was I’d effectively lived a heart and lung stress test for months. It took multiple doctor’s visits over months to treat my severe anemia. But the “Ask A Nurse” service had helpfully postponed treatment costs into the insurer’s next financial quarter.
Do you dare to use the “health management tools” your health insurance company offers? Or do you suspect that these will become just another source of Personal Health Information for the insurer to mine, a means to “more accurately” set your rates? Have you ever noticed that your insurer knows more about your medical history than your doctor does? That when you start a new insurance plan, your PHI travels to the insurer via some mysterious electronic corridor of past payment and risk information … but when you got to the new doctor that your new insurer’s new network requires (if you want the rate discount), you need to fill out a medical history?
And then insurers wonder why patients won’t allow them to serve as health care coordinators.
Short answer: Because patients want our doctors to coordinate our health care. Doctors we see face-to-face.
God tells us, as His followers, to “heal the sick … and and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:9).
How can we restyle our systems of health care so both doctors and patients can again experience God’s kingdom life in the act of healing?