Prairie Doc Perspective Week of July 23rd, 2023
“ Part Two: Getting the Most Out of Your Healthcare”
By Samantha Darnall-Werlinger, MD
In closing, the healthcare system is a very busy entity providing care to thousands of patients simultaneously through various avenues. I’m hoping this essay can give patients some insight and assistance on how to navigate the systems and get the most seamless care.
Dr. Samantha Darnall-Werlinger is a family medicine physician with a special interest in obstetrics. Dr. Darnall-Werlinger practices at the Sanford Health Watertown Clinic in Watertown, SD. Follow The Prairie Doc® at www.prairiedoc.org and on Facebook featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc® a medical Q&A show based on science, built on trust for 21 seasons, streaming live on Facebook most Thursdays at 7 p.m. central.
Prairie Doc Perspective Week of July 16th, 2023
“Getting the Most Out of Your Healthcare”
By Samantha Darnall-Werlinger, MD
As a patient, it can be challenging to navigate the healthcare system. This can lead to frustration and disappointment in the system itself. My intent with this article is to be both informative and alleviate some angst associated with seeking medical care.
This is just the beginning. Next week, I’ll go over what happens behind the scenes after your visit.
Dr. Samantha Darnall-Werlinger is a family medicine physician with a special interest in obstetrics. Dr. Darnall-Werlinger practices at the Sanford Health Watertown Clinic in Watertown, SD. Follow The Prairie Doc® at www.prairiedoc.org and on Facebook featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc® a medical Q&A show based on science, built on trust for 21 seasons, broadcast on SDPB and streaming live on Facebook most Thursdays at 7 p.m. central.
Prairie Doc Perspective Week of July 9th, 2023
“Paging Doctor Hollywood”
By Jill Kruse, DO
From Dr. Marcus Welby and Dr. Meredith Grey to “Hawkeye” Pierce and Doogie Howser, MD, there have been a multitude of television doctors. You likely spend more time watching them than you do with your own physician. Television shows the life of a doctor as exciting, dramatic and glamorous; however, real life is often much different.
On television doctors can solve every medical mystery within the span of a single show. Rare diseases or unusual presentations are no match for the intellect or dedication of the Hollywood doctor. Experimental treatments or lifesaving surgeries are all done with minimal interference. Television doctors rarely deal with hospital policies, evidence based medical care standards, or insurance companies. They also seem to have ample extra time between patients.
In the real world, things are not as simple and straightforward as they are on television. Multiple diseases have similar symptoms and specialized lab tests can take days or weeks to get results. Unfortunately insurance companies often dictate what tests can be done, such as a CT or MRI. They may also refuse to cover a hospital stay or a new medication, requiring older or cheaper options first. Doctors are required to spend a significant amount of time charting to justify tests or treatments for insurance companies. Unfortunately these activities do not make “must see TV” and take significantly more time than what is actually spent with patients.
On television, almost everyone gets better. A patient is just a problem that is solved and forgotten by the next episode, likely never seen again. In real life, many people live with chronic conditions that cannot be fixed or resolved. Real patients are not problems to be solved, but important partners with their doctors in order to live a healthier lifestyle. This takes trust; something that is gained slowly over years, and can be broken faster than a commercial break.
While not as dramatic as television’s life and death surgeries, routine health care in the clinic is just as important. Television rarely shows a family medicine doctor doing a routine physical or a follow up visit for high blood pressure or diabetes. There is very little drama in adjusting a medication dose in the clinic. However, these visits will keep you from experiencing television worthy complications down the road.
You can look for a doctor as funny as Patch Adams, as smart as House, or as good looking as McDreamy. However, what is important is that you find a doctor that you communicate well with and trust. An annual physical and routine health care may seem boring and unnecessary, but it can help prevent some real life health care problems. Save the drama for your television.