How Obamacare could change the patient-doctor relationship

Dr. Robert Aby describes the prescription to patie
Dr. Robert Aby explains a prescription to patient Nate Abbe on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 at the Neighborhood Involvement Program in Minneapolis.
Amanda Snyder

Health care providers are beginning to look at the future of the system as more Americans gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Dr. Danielle Ofri, a physician at Bellevue Hospital, has written extensively about changing the relationship between doctors and patients. While many discussions on the future of health care focus on lowering the costs for services, Ofri said it can be tough for doctors to take on a role in that change as they cram more elements into a 15-minute office visit:

It's not that doctors don't know we play a substantial role in the cost of medical care. After all, we are the ones ordering the MRIs, writing the prescriptions, implanting the artificial hips. Cost comes up on a regular basis with my patients, as I explain why I'm prescribing a generic medication over a brand name, or ordering a CT scan rather than an MRI. But here is where emotions and perceptions carry more weight than numbers. The idea that doctors should take charge of fixing the problem makes many feel like they are under siege, even though we know that we need to be part of the solution. The sense of embattlement is so potent that doctors will reflexively react against these suggestions, even if the data suggest that they are rational approaches.

Ofri and Dr. Jeffrey Rabatin, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Mayo Clinic, will join us to look at the ways in which a shift in our attitudes toward treatment can shake up the health care system as a whole.

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