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The Medical Professionalism Blog

What Do Clouds Tell Us?

Word clouds have become useful tools to understand language people use to talk about various topics.  The larger and bolder the words in the cloud, the more frequently they are used.  The word cloud below shows the words physicians used when discussing stewardship of resources and issues related to costs.

physicians word cloud costs stewardship

It is interesting and heart-warming to note that patients are mentioned most often.  We learned from these conversations that physicians focus on individual patients more than costs of care – a wisdom evident to most.

These conversations also revealed physicians’ deep fears of causing harm to their patients by conducting tests and not conducting tests. Physicians are more focused on avoiding harm than cost savings.

Physicians also discussed the importance of involving others – patients, hospitals and purchasers/payers – in finding solutions.  Physicians we spoke with were genuinely concerned about the issue of cost and are trying to avoid unnecessary care.  But everyone blamed each other for the problem; primary care physicians blamed the surgeons and others who perform procedures and the specialists blamed the primary care physicians for unnecessary referrals.

Understanding the different perspectives and the language of conversations around this important topic is the first step in developing solutions.

1 Comment to What Do Clouds Tell Us?

  • Leah Thronson MD's Gravatar Leah Thronson MD
    April 26, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Treatment -resistant depression is very difficult to manage. Low dose amphetamine medications work well. Since 70% or more of folks with Major Recurrent Depressive Disorder also have a major anxiety disorder, low dose benzodiazepines are also helpful. Folks in chronic pain have a higher incidence both of MRDD and anxiety disorders, The DEA, however does not think well of these approaches and is busting Physicians all over the nation for our use of these routine medications. The DEA is acountable to no one and has no business interfering in routine medical care when they are fundamentally ignorant of the very medications that they are in charge of – any one else having bad experiences with them ? Prescription drug turn in day is a sad situation – the posters up everywhere are threatening and frightening – “you could be a drug dealer without knowing it” – everyone I know is afraid to turn things in since it is a law enforcement issue not an educational or even sensible one – also some of the folks around my neck of the woods who are in charge of turn in day are well known ex-users and dealers themselves – doesn’t any one do background checks on them? More competent thean the DEA – Leah Thronson MD, Psychiatry

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