Sunday, July 17, 2005

My small part to change things


Christopher Brown, M.D. is another family physician who opened a solo practice after being inspired by Dr. Gordon Moore's model. An article in his local Salina, Kansas newspaper last year described what led him to open his practice, Providence Family Health Care, in September 2004 :

Chris Brown went into the medical field to mend patients. He was prepared for that.

It didn't take long, though, for him to realize the profession he had chosen could use some mending of its own.

In medical school and during his residency, Brown, 30, a Kansas City native, saw many patients spending longer waiting than they spent with a doctor. Then, they were rushed into exam rooms and hurriedly pushed out.

"Something was wrong with medicine," he concluded.

The clues were everywhere.

He met children of doctors who were adamant that they didn't want to follow in their parents' footsteps, because their parents were never home.

He saw a documentary where a "dog-tired-looking" medical resident told the filmmaker, "This career is for people who hate their children and never want to have time with their spouses."

Brown found himself apologizing for being late to appointments and cringing when he'd ask patients if there was anything else bothering them, because he knew there was someone else waiting for him.

He wasn't alone. Doctors everywhere are feeling the pressure, he said.

Too many Americans are getting what Brown calls "the fast-food version" of health care.

He easily could have turned his back on the profession. His calling, though, was to practice medicine, and he wasn't going to ignore it just because he didn't like what he saw.

"I started on this career path to be in the healing profession," Brown said. "I believe in this and was very idealistic about what I could do."

And realistic about what he couldn't do.

"It would burn me up inside not to be able to do my small part to change things," he said.

You can read about how he changed things by opening his own solo practice here.

I can't fix the U.S. health care system. I don't know the best way to provide medical care to the uninsured. I don't understand why the we spend more on health care than any other country in the world but still ranked only 37th among 191 countries for overall health care according to the World Health Organization.

But I can blog. And I like to think that in doing so I, too, am doing my own small part to change things by sharing stories like Dr. Christopher Brown's. Good luck, Chris!