Blogs of any age have a tendency to grow and shift and expand into new directions, as anything with life within does. I started The Treating Physician blog in 2010, concerned then at the leaching away of physicians’ ability to make medical decisions as corporations hired their own doctors to counter patients’ personal decisions. That’s behind the reason for the title “The Treating Physician,” although this has a legal meaning in malpractice lawsuits. Here, it means the ability of a physician to diagnose and treat a patient without interference from third party payers, be they hospitals, insurance companies, or pharmaceutical companies.
As the state of the U.S. health care system has further deteriorated, I moved on to other subjects, including electronic medical records and artificial intelligence. At this point in time, these earlier posts may seem a bit quaint, but the books I referenced back then are still in print and readily available on Amazon. Most are still well worth reading today. Modern Medicine: What You’re Dying to Know is 25 years old, but the changes in health care we documented then have descended upon us in spades.
The minds of human beings are wired for story, according to many who study the way we learn. In Tell Me a Story, Robert C. Schank outlines how stories structure our thinking. Blogs, I suspect, are so popular because a blog is the new color of journaling. Researchers are always quick to tell us that stories are anecdotal, and therefore have little relevancy in research. But story is what draws us around the fire to share our human experience, as varied as it may be. Unfortunately, most of the efforts to right what is wrong with health care today tend to denigrate story and aspire to “evidence-based” medicine.
The truth is, we need both to correct the problems in health care today.