As the saying goes, one stitch in time saves nine. But while physicians know this to be true, they often run out of time — and patience — to focus on their patients. Unfortunately, that’s frequently due to bureaucracy. At least that’s what this new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has taught us.
Despite having long complained about the bureaucratization of their craft, physicians seem to be losing their war against the regulatory machine.
Spending so much time doing paperwork is leaving the doctor very little time to focus on what matters: The patient’s health.
Instead of helping individuals recover from their ailments, these doctors feel their hands are tied. After all, if the doctor is unable to meet the demand imposed by government requirements, he’ll be kept from work. Hoping to remain in the profession, he chooses to accept his burden. But as more regulations are passed, the cost of both doing business and having access to care continues to increase.
How Did We Get Here?
They say time is money. In the healthcare business, every tick of the clock counts. As bureaucracy adds to the cost of care, it becomes too heavy of a burden for consumers with fewer resources to carry. If the goal is to expand access, adding more regulations to the books will have the exact opposite effect.
Slashing regulations, bureaucrats will argue, will lead to poor care, increasing costs and hurting people in the low-income bracket. More regulation is thus the only way to secure poor people are being treated with the attention they deserve, they continue. But as time goes by, the regulatory burden for those in the field continues to grow. Those who cannot afford to be part of the gang or who cannot handle the paperwork are kicked out, while those big enough to afford new regulations remain in place. Government, logic then shows, is the culprit in this case. Instead of “leveling the playing field” and offering access to those who need it most, more regulations end up increasing the cost of doing business for the physician. Instead of having more time to examine the patient, the physician now spends more time dealing with an endless pile of paperwork.
Suffocating under so much bureaucracy, the decent physician who’s genuinely concerned about the welfare of his patient sees few incentives to stay engaged. Without an engaged physician, the patient is unable to obtain the personalized care he requires. The result? Physicians stop listening to their patients.
Government may claim to know what’s best for us, but in practice, it keeps missing the point.
Bureaucracy is slowly suffocating one of the most valuable, most important professions in the modern world to death. Without physicians, who’s left to help you get over an infection? Who will care for you when you break your leg, and who will save your life when your heart acts up?
Putting an end to healthcare-related bureaucracy in America is essential, unless we prefer to see the country’s life expectancy continue to drop.