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Yesterday I wrote about the current state of the American health care system and the dangerous effects of its volume-based capitation method of compensating providers. Today I wanted to discuss the potential solution.

The recent New York Times article I mentioned yesterday discusses how some doctors are taking a more proactive approach to health care. Rather than wait for a seriously ill patient to come see them, these pioneering physicians are willing to see patients at the first sign of trouble. By utilizing technology to enhance their efficiency and reduce costs, the doctors are able to spend more time with each patient and address all potential issues before they worsen.

In my practice I have seen a number of cases where early, thorough intervention could have made a life-altering – or life-saving – difference. In one instance, a few more minutes spent with a patient might have resulted in a correct diagnosis and appropriately aggressive course of treatment. Instead, the patient was given a prescription for over-the-counter medication and sent home, where he died 24 hours later.

The answer seems to tie together the concepts of prevention, education, and a return a stronger doctor-patient relationship. For their part, patients should be engaged in their own health care and not afraid to ask questions. However, doctors have a monopoly on the information and expertise, and those who take proactive steps to educate and treat patients should be commended.

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