Everybody Seems to be an Expert, Except Your Family Doctor?


It’s a funny world we live in. Lots of people make a handsome living, defining their work and setting their own fees and hours with little or no formal education or certification

There are personal and executive coaches, wealth advisers, marketing experts, closet organizers and all kinds of people offering to help us run our lives.

In each of these fields, the expectation is that the provider of such services has his or her own “take” or perspective and offers advice that is individual, unique and as far removed from cookie cutter dogma as possible. Why pay for something generic that lots of people offer everywhere you turn?

So why is it, in this day of paying lip service to “personalized medicine”, genetic mapping, the human biome and psychoneuroimmunology that we expect our healthcare to be standardized and utterly predictable?

And why is it that we are so willing to fragment our care, using convenient care clinics, health apps, specialists who don’t communicate with each other and so on? Does anybody believe it makes sense to have your life coach tell you to have a latte if you feel like it because it makes you happy and your financial adviser scorn you for wasting money, never mind your health coach talking about all those unnecessary calories?

In today’s world, almost all knowledge and information is available, for free, instantly and from anywhere on the planet. But this has not eliminated our need for “experts”. It used to be that we paid experts for knowing the facts, but now we pay them for sorting and making sense of them, because there are too many facts and too much data out there to make anything self explanatory.

The information explosion of our era has brought with it an implosion and a near extinction of common sense.

The facts contradict each other:

Eggs are good for you and bad for you. Almost everybody should take aspirin and most people don’t need it. The bread of life is the bread of death. Low LDL is desirable, low LDL confers risk of disease.

I think there are way too many non-medical providers giving medical advice and way too few medical providers daring and taking the time to do it.

Our nation’s doctors are busily checking virtual boxes trying to randomly cover way too much ground instead of meeting their patients “where they are at”.

Kenny Lin, a fellow medical blogger, has a perfect name for his blog, “Common Sense Family Doctor”.

We don’t need more “Experts”. We need well trained, experienced professionals with common sense. Like Family Doctors.

Hans Duvefelt is a Swedish-born rural Family Physician in Maine. This post originally appeared on his blog, A Country Doctor Writes, here.

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