Physicians Without Patient Accountability is a Recipe for Failure

February 28, 2013

The importance of policing the highways of patient behavior.

It is simple human nature. People obey traffic laws when a cop is visible.

There is no getting around the need to fully empower primary care as the traffic cop who controls the provision of high-cost services.

To get real results, we need to provide physicians with the tools and prescribe the consequences to ensure patient participation in maintaining good health managing chronic disease and recovery.

Society doesn’t cajole, recommend, or educate people to obey traffic laws in the interest of public safety and welfare; it clearly posts limits, requirements and restrictions. It also provides consequences to ensure compliance. More importantly, it inures these common-sense rules into our daily lives in a way that provides boundaries so that we understand that they will protect us all.

No, we are not suggesting fines or tickets for a diabetic eating a cupcake. The point is that society cannot benefit without the participation of each of us as individuals.

All the data in the world that can be gathered from home based monitoring devices is less useful than letting patients know that someone is watching.

Monitoring needs to be the radar gun in the highway of life.

It can be a physical monitor feeding data into a registry program, logging weight or blood sugar levels into a patient portal, or even using commercial online food logging programs or apps.

Success can earn real dollar credits toward co-pays and deductibles or toward higher perceived value rewards such as flight miles. We can get very creative.

Breaking boundaries should have consequences. Higher deductibles and co-pays come to mind, or debiting earned credits.

Technology creates powerful tools, but human nature gives them value.