What’s the Point of Medical Licensing?

A surgeon emailed me the following:. OK, I know this is radical but consider my argument… Medical licensing protects no one and costs physicians hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. If a physician is negligent, can the injured party sue the state that licensed him? I’m guessing not. When I moved to my current location, I had to send lots of documentation to the state medical board so they could verify that I was a true and competent surgeon. I provided my employer with the same info so they could also verify my credentials. Now my employer can and will get sued if I commit a negligent act and absolutely should verify my credentials prior to handing me a scalpel. But the state? Its license is useless. Most people choose a surgeon based on recommendations and word-of-mouth reputation, and these are by far better indicators of quality than any credentialing board. Nobody asks to see my license, and, even if they did, it would not protect them any more than their trust in the health system in which I work. If I was in private practice and had my license displayed on my wall, it may give some reassurance to my patients, but it does not say anything about the quality of my work. Most doctors who really screw up due to negligence are licensed by the state. I contend again, that word of mouth and reputation are the best indicators of a surgeon’s ability, anything beyond that is useless. Caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware” remains the mantra of the informed consumer. Thanks for letting me vent....
Enhancing Patient Satisfaction After ED Visits

Enhancing Patient Satisfaction After ED Visits

Efforts to improve the care experience for ED patients have the potential for wide-ranging benefits, including more effective continuity of care, reduced need for follow-up visits, and higher staff morale. Recent studies suggest that several types of interventions can be effective tools to enhance ED patient satisfaction. “In some analyses, telephone and email follow-up by healthcare providers has been shown to improve patient satisfaction rates,” says Pankaj B. Patel, MD. “The benefits of higher patient satisfaction range from better patient compliance with discharge instructions to higher staff morale. Contacting patients after they leave the ED may also improve transitions of care and help reduce unnecessary return visits to the ED.” Given that emergency care is often rushed, it has been hypothesized that ED patients may have even more to gain from timely post-visit contact with healthcare providers, especially among the elderly. “The potential for improving follow-up communication with elderly ED patients is particularly important because of their rising population,” Dr. Patel says. “It behooves EDs to identify opportunities that can help improve continuity of care and opportunities to increase patient satisfaction. In turn, there is also an opportunity to enhance patient outcomes for the long term.” In-Depth Analysis of Patient Satisfaction The direct effect of post-visit patient contact by ED physicians has not been studied extensively. Dr. Patel and David R. Vinson, MD, published an article in Annals of Emergency Medicine detailing results of their study that examined the impact of post-visit email or phone contact on patient satisfaction. “Prior to our investigation, our study team was contacting patients by email or by telephone shortly after their ED visit,”...