A better doctor

“The pharmaceutical industry has trained even doctors to believe that there’s a pharmaceutical answer to everything.”

Working out of the small one-room office, here’s a doctor that enjoys diagnosis and has a reputation for solving mysterious cases that stump too many others.

The Case of the Migrainous Art Dealer.
The Case of the Irritable College Grad.
The Adventure of the Chemically Sensitive Sleeper.
Adventure of the Petroleum-Poisoned Senior.

He’s developed a 32-page questionnaire which he asks patients to fill out after their first visit.

The document is comprehensive, asking after family medical histories, social history, habits, hobbies, employment, exposure to household products, industrial chemicals, foreign travel, and so on. Bolte estimates it takes two to four hours to complete. He does not apologize for such complicated homework. Humans are complex, and a doctor never knows until much later if a patient’s response was significant or just a red herring.

He is currently working with software developers to create a questionnaire program that may help target areas for follow-up by physicians who do not have the luxury of time in which to ask questions—which is to say, nearly all physicians.

The economics of modern medicine is not conducive to leisurely interviews. In order to handle all the patients funneled his way by an insurance company, a doctor is obliged to hire numerous staff to handle the paperwork and make sure his invoices are paid. The more staffers on the payroll, the more patients a doctor must see to cover it and ensure a profit for himself and his partners. The more patients he can crank out in an hour, the more profitable he will be.

When Thomas Bolte worked in such a practice, he was horrified.

Today, you’re lucky if your doctor sees you for 12 minutes. How can you possibly find out all you need to know about a patient in 12 minutes?

Full article at Discover