Tuesday, April 26, 2016
When a primary care physician is already overloaded with responsibilities, asking him/her to do more is poor management and poor PR. Poor PR because it is tasking them to take on yet another burden in dealing with an endless stream of patients. Yet that is a proposal for ending abuse of opioids. Activists want doctors to consult a database to check if opioid users are doctor shopping to feed their habit. There are several things wrong with the idea, not the least of which is that someone has to maintain and update the database and that someone is almost certainly the primary care physician or the doctor's staff. There needs to be a better way to stop abusers and good PR should be the reason for finding it. Primary care is the first line of treatment and hence, it should allow doctors time to assess and refer patients, if need be. Unfortunately, primary care has become an assembly line for many doctors in order to handle the patient load -- 15 minutes and out the door. That is barely enough time to figure out what is wrong with the person and what should be done. It becomes too easy to write a prescription and go on to the next patient. Opioid abusers know that.