Gross and his Yale colleague, Erica Spatz, M.D., published their views on the topic in a perspective piece in the April 7 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Gross and Spatz, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale, wrote that there are several ways to unleash physician participation and leadership in health care reform. First, physicians must do two things: 1. acknowledge the inequitable and dysfunctional nature of the current health care system and the role physicians play in perpetuating it: and 2. examine their professional responsibilities to the public by prioritizing their obligations to patients and to society.
“Once these two things are done, individual physicians can and should take action with specific, concrete behaviors that will facilitate and guide efforts to improve the health care system,” said Gross, who points to several steps physicians can take immediately at the bedside and in the community to help reshape the health care system and fulfill their moral and professional duties to the public.
These steps include: work daily to provide high quality care; control costs; improve communication; get involved locally; help implement creative payment reform solutions; discuss reform with patients; and minimize conflicts of interest.
“While the ultimate timeline or mechanism of health care reform is still evolving, one thing is clear: effective systemic change will require greater physician commitment and involvement,” Spatz concludes.
Citation: JAMA Vol. 303, No. 13: 1173-1180 (April 7, 2010)
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