What a Doctors’ Independence Day would Celebrate

As the country celebrates another July 4th and we spend time with family and friends, enjoy the (hopefully) beautiful warm weather, it’s important we also take a moment to reflect on what a huge event in world history the Declaration of Independence was. For the first time ever, a nation had the chance to start afresh, and build a country based on a unique and never seen before set of ideals and principles. 241 years later, the things that make America very special, still hold true—as divided and imperfect as we may feel we are (and in fact, always have been). It’s easy to take for granted all the freedoms, opportunities, and privileges of living here. Go to almost any country in the world, and the embassy with the most people lined up applying for visas, will almost always be the United States.

But this being Independence Day, symbolic of when a group of dynamic and ambitious people broke free and decided to go their own path—and this being primarily a healthcare blog—I wanted to tongue-in-cheek imagine the core principles a Doctors’ Independence Day might one day celebrate:

1.The doctor-patient relationship being at the center of all healthcare. Not the administrator-doctor, administrator-patient or government-patient relationship, but the doctor-patient relationship

2.Letting doctors be doctors. Physicians spending the majority of their day doing what they were trained to do, with minimal bureaucracy and mind numbing box ticking

3.Those who manage and administrate healthcare are always trained clinicians themselves, who never lose touch with the frontlines. Whatever business and administrative training they need, will be given, but in order to earn the respect of those at the frontlines, they must also dedicate a certain amount of time, even just a day or two a month, to working clinically

4.Physicians maintain autonomy and independence in an ancient and noble profession, and never become “widget” or “worker bee” slaves in a corporate system that enriches only those in the executive suite. Healthcare and big business are incompatible on so many different levels

5.Having said all of the above and celebrating Doctors’ Independence, healthcare is and always will be—about the patient. The patient always comes first. Ours is a compassionate profession that serves them


5 other brief rules:

1.The word “Provider” is banned. It is dehumanizing and insulting, and works against physicians

2.Healthcare IT vendors and departments must always have real practicing physicians sitting on their boards

3.A back to basics approach to solve many of the core problems in healthcare, such as better communication and listening to patients’ most common complaints

4.Prevention is always better than cure, and quality always over quantity in a healthcare system that is both exceptional and affordable

5.Physicians always stick together


Suneel Dhand is a physician, author, speaker and consultant. Learn more about him at suneeldhand.com

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