Healthcare is transitioning from a process where patients passively got all their medical information from the consulting doctor, to one where an individual must wake up to the reality that he or she must take a more active role in their own healthcare. Those who sit idly by may be in peril of “falling through the cracks” as more demands are placed on the physicians in the number game.
Clearly, this can be a problem as physicians are educated and trained in medicine but the patient is not. How, then can patients make their own decisions?
A solution to this problem is the medical moderator. This is the “go-between” professional who has a foot in each camp.
The medical moderator represents the physician, understanding medicine and knowing what tribulations that health providers are now enduring and also representing the patient- an advocate for the individual. The medical moderator is acting as a translator- one who can take the questions, options for a problem and the reams of information responding to that question and cull it down into language that the average person can understand. Think of the position in much the same way as a computer interface program in technology where there are two distinct programs that are operating independently. The interfacing program then allows both of these programs to communicate and run seamlessly.
A greatly experienced professional with a vast knowledge and experience in treating a wide gamut of diseases, the medical moderator works in a capacity of translating the information that you have obtained and explain it in such a way that you can better understand and select options that you would further like to explore for yourself and with your doctor.
There is an pervading perception that face-time with physicians are statistically shortening now, and it is more difficult to spend a great deal of time sitting down and getting answers to your questions along with voicing your health concerns.
Those who object to this idea cite the national government survey (Mechanic et. al. 2001; NCHS 2001-2006 where the average time that patients spend with physicians during physician office visits increased by about two to three minutes from 1989–1990 (16.3–16.7 minutes) to 2003–2004 (18.7–19.7 minutes). However, this data was taken by physician reporting (which may be somewhat objective) and the fact that these statistics were obtained before the age where digital recording of patient findings and treatment were established with electronic medical systems. Whether or not these numbers will change, remains to be seen.
In another national survey, one of five patients said that they did not spend enough time with their physician ( USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health, Health Care Costs Survey.Menlo Park, Calif.: Kaiser Family Foundation,. KFF 2005). The idea that time between healthcare providers and patients may stem from the demands placed on doctors now to provide a more extensive explanation of a larger range of treatment options available as more questions are elicited by patients in combination with preventative care.