Docsplainin' -- it's what I do

Docsplainin'--it's what I do.
After all, I'm a doc, aren't I?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Huzzah, anyway

Apparently, some time last weekend, while I was distracted by all the kooks likening Mr. Obama to Hitler, the former snuck through a law to make pharmaceutical companies reveal in detail their payments to physicians, including which drugs they are flogging, where, and when. Doug Carlat writes:
It is this kind of granularity of information that will truly make doctors think twice before pursuing careers as hired guns.
Probably not, actually. Some docs, by virtue of the nature of their caseloads (geriatrics, families on welfare, psychotics, etc.) can pretty safely bet that their patients will not even know about the law, never mind have the computer access, cognitive capacity, or general literacy to do the research. Others will do the math and figure out that they are still better off as hired guns.

For example, if one makes $23,000 a year selling, say, one of the newer antipsychotics, one would have to risk losing 230 appointments per year just to drop to the break-even point. How many psychiatrists have 57 patients (each seen quarterly =  228 appointments) who are (a) going to look up this information, and (b) quit over it and go looking for a new doc? Out of those, how many will have the option of finding a doc who's geographically accessible and takes their insurance and is taking new patients and treats their particular problem? And who cares? Psychiatrists are generally booked months out: There are always more patients where that 57 came from.

Still. Some patients will, and even one life saved will be well worth it.

And colleagues like me can (and hopefully will) look up each and every doc to whom we refer, and alter our referring habits accordingly.

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