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There may be multiple facilities available--
all with varying degrees of effectiveness, and
with or without medical equipment to perform a
procedure that could significantly help to precisely
diagnose or treat your illness. You might assume
that your doctor's referral is based on that physician
being the best overall to treat you, but experts
cite that that is unlikely to be the case. Newsflash:
Doctors do not have a lot of extra time, and your
primary care physician can't be expected to know
every doctor in their healthcare system.
When you get a referral from your
doctor, ask what they based that decision on. Do
your own homework to find out what facilities in
your area treat the most cases of your illness--and
which ones have the most research studies and
clinical trials for that particular disease or similar
2) Pharmaceutical Company Bias
"Patients should be aware of the incentives that their
physicians face that may lead them to not always act
in their patients' best interest. And the more informed
patients are about their providers and options for care,
the better decisions they can make." ~ Genevieve
Pham­Kanter, PhD, assistant professor Drexel's
Dornsife School of Public Health
A recent article published through Drexel
University Health News on MDLinx is entitled: "Two-
thirds of Americans see docs who got paid by drug
companies." A drug company / doctor relationship is
only an issue if the physician chooses that company's
drug over another one that is more effective and/or
less expensive from a different manufacturer. While
this may or may not be an issue with your doctor or
specialist, it is certainly important to know.
This is not just an American concern. A
similar article entitled "How much should patients
know about pharma payments to doctors?" was
published on the Website
in May 2016 regarding the same issue in the U.K.
"Pharmaceutical firms currently pay about £40m
every year to healthcare professionals, including
doctors and pharmacists." ~ Lucy Jolin
When your doctor gives you a
prescription, ask him/her why they selected
that particular drug, and if there are any other
alternatives. Become familiar with each and every
medication you are taking. Research prescription
drugs on Websites such as for
benefits and concerns, short- and long-term side-
effects, and alternative pharmaceutical options. If
you have questions, discuss them with your doctor
before filling the prescription.
Author's Notes:
Written by Joni Aldrich, Pulitzer prize nominated author,
speaker, radio program host and producer, cancer,
caregiving, and patient safety advocate. Contributions by
Graham Whiteside, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
SIMnext LLC, and Chris Jerry, founder and CEO of The Emily
international patient safety advocate.