What is the Value of Clinical Time?

In his provocative NYT piece, “Busy Doctors, Wasteful Spending,” Dr. Sandeep Jauhar tackles an issue addressed in NPA’s July 2014 policy brief, Value and Values in Health Care. NPA leaders have endorsed the principle that clinicians needs more time to understand patients better and to create and maintain healing relationships.
Does Jauhar nail it or not? Read his op-ed below and tell us what you think. Your responses to NPA blog posts help us refine our communications about important issues and influence the choice of initiatives we undertake.

“Busy Doctors, Wasteful Spending”
By Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, a cardiologist,
New York Times, July 21, 2014
Of all the ways to limit health care costs, perhaps none is as popular as cutting payments to doctors. In recent years payment cuts have resulted in a sharp downturn in revenue for many hospitals and private practices. What this has meant for most physicians is that in order to maintain their income, they’ve had to see more patients.
Racing through patient encounters, we practice with an ever-present fear that we will miss something, hurt someone and open ourselves up to legal (not to mention moral) liability. To cope with the anxiety, we start to call in experts for problems that perhaps we could handle ourselves if we had more time to think through a case. The specialists, in turn, order more tests, scans and the like.
And therein lies the sad irony of the health cost containment paradigm in this country. There is no more wasteful entity in medicine than a rushed doctor. For the full op-ed, click here.

Do you agree with Dr. Jauhar?