Why do patients feel like they are treated like cows, not humans? Why does our system produce more sick people getting more procedures? Why are things so different for the patients in my new practice? It all comes down to one thing: the basic financial transaction of the healthcare system. From it flow all of the bad things doctors and patients experience. From my rejection of it flow all of the wonderful changes to the care I can now give. There is no meaningful reform that can happen without changing this basic transaction.
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My New Practice
Changing the focus of care to this is more than just emotional idealism, it is good business. Care should not be about codes, procedures, medications, tests, or interventions, but instead about helping people live their lives with as few problems as possible. We need an economy that thrives when the patient costs the system less.
Any attempt to reform without this change will ultimately fail.
A local business that does MRI scans is doing a promotion on their Facebook page, asking people to nominate their doctor as the "Best Doctor" (in celebration of "Doctors' Day", which is Sunday). So yesterday I put this up on my Facebook page:
Hephzibah, by the way, is a working-class part of greater Augusta, where I live. The response I got was overwhelming, with comments and likes going up on the business' website immediately after I posted my request. I am amazed and touched by what was written. As much as it does matter what my colleagues and readers of my blog think about what I am doing, the only opinion that actually matters is that of my patients. They are why I do it. They are the measure of the true success of my business model.
Here's what they wrote:
Another vote for Dr. Rob Lamberts!! When I heard of his innovative approach to move away from the traditional insurance centered doctors office, I knew I was in! When I met him, I knew I was there to stay!He truly works FOR his PATIENTS! I've never had a doctor who spends the amount of time that he does, or has been more accessible for any and every question, no matter how small. The peace of mind being a part of his practice has given me and the rest of my family is truly priceless!
EVERY doctors office should be run this way. Period.
Dr. Rob Lamberts has my vote. He has one of the best bedside manners I have seen. He is running his practice in a way that serves his PT and not himself.
Dr. Rob Lamberts! I’ve never had a doctor sit down with me for so long and actually take the time to not only discuss my medical history, but get to know me as well. Dr. Lamberts is also a truly innovative individual, as he has strayed away from the traditional insurance driven approach to running a practice, making it much easier on his patients. I know that I can contact him with any problem I might have, and he will answer me both directly and promptly, which is truly a relief. His main focus is keeping you out off his office, not to keep you coming back.
Dr. Rob Lamberts has my vote. I have suffered from fibromyalgia for over 20 years and my previous doctor could not diagnose it. I ended up extremely depressed and checked into the University Hospital Mental Health Unit. There I met a woman who had the same symptoms as mine and said that she went to Dr. Rob Lamberts. I immediately switched to him, he diagnosed me, put me on medications, and has monitored me through the years. He definitely is more concerned about his patients that lining his pockets and has shown that over the years. I'm proud to call him my primary care doctor!
Dr. Rob Lamberts has my vote as well! Since he opened his own patient focused practice I have become more acutely aware of the excess and absence in other Dr.'s offices that I have to go to. I wish they would answer the phone and talk to me rather than their nurse giving me 2nd hand information after waiting the entire day for a reply as opposed to getting on my computer and utilizing a direct message system to Dr. Lamberts himself he replies within in minutes. His focus is on keeping his patients in good health and out of his office - he is definitely the best Doctor in Augusta!
Dr. Rob Lamberts--wonderful dr--cares about his patients!!!
Dr. Rob Lamberts has my vote! He has worked very hard getting his practice up and running! My favorite thing about his practice is that I can speak with him any time of day because he utilizes current technologies! He makes health care hassle and stress free!
Dr. Rob Lamberts is the man!
Dr. Rob Lamberts, of course. No contest.
Dr. Rob Lamberts!!! He actually cares and will do anything needed to keep you from having to go to ER or hospital for anything.
Dr rob lamberts is the best, he always is easy to reach and takes time to answer all my questions. A joy to work with for a busy working mom.
Dr. Rob Lamberts has my vote. I have been a patient of Dr.Lamberts even before his "New Concept Practice." He is a caring and a dedicated physician always availalbe for his patients. I can say Dr. Lamberts is not just a Dr. to his patients, but he is also a friend. I am truly blessed to have him as my Dr.
Dr. Rob Lamberts is the Top Doc! He and his team care about their patients in a unique way that involves them in their healthcare.
Dr. Robert Lambert!
Dr. Robert Lamberts. I trust what he says and believe he is honestly giving me his honest opinons and I trust him. He is the best.
Dr. Rob Lamberts because he is caring and just a good doctor!
Another vote for Dr. Rob Lamberts. So grateful to have him!
Dr Rob Lambert of course!! Down to earth, pulls NO punches, tells it like it is, compassionate, have known him for years. A good man and a great doctor.
I have to agree with all the comments above on Dr. Rob Lamberts but of course ! He is real, down to earth, very compassionate, and just overall the best! Been our doctor for many years and will be our doctor for many years to come!!
The better way to go to the doctor. Answers email and phone calls, less hassle. The way of the future!
Dr. Rob lamberts
Ahhhh ! I loveDr. Rob Lamberts !!!! He has known me and my family for more than 20 years and has always taken care of us. I'm thankful for his as my Doctor. He's definitely the best !
Dr. Lamberts is the Top Doc in Augusta, he has been my doctor for nearly 20 years. His approach to patient care is innovative to say the least. He cares about the patients overall long term health and it shows.
Bonus- he has a great sense of humor.
Dr. Rob Lambert's!! Augusta Georgia!! I cannot express how much he has helped me .
Dr. Rob Lamberts is the absolute BEST!
DR Rob Lamberts. He is innovative in the way he is handling his practice. Great doctor.
My vote is for Dr. Rob Lamberts . I was a patient is his while he was in another practice and am glad that I am seeing him now in his new practice. He takes the time to explain issues to you while coming up with a plan to correct it, not just treat it. Great doctor that is not afraid of technology and moving into the new age of communications! Easily accessible and doesn't mind answering questions. He puts the patient first.
Dr. Rob Lamberts hands down! I have always dreaded going to the doctor and avoided it at all costs. I hate everything about it BUT having Dr. Lamberts has dispelled all those fears. He listens, I mean really listens then he acts. He is a problem solver. He isn't trying to shuffle you through as a numbers game. He really cares about your overall health.
No question about it... The Top Doc is Dr. Rob Lamberts! He is compassionate, intelligent, creative, and thinks outside the box. These qualities (among many more) make him the best doctor in town!!
Dr. Rob Lambert is the best!
I don't know Dr Lambert but all that I have read I vote for him and I am pushing my son to come to him....no insurance
No votes for other doctors (and none from my mom). These are the genuine emotions of my patients! They not only like me and my staff (we are awfully likable, after all), but the like the technology, the innovation, and they feel like they are saving money.
I can't say it better than they did. All I can say is: thank you!
I will think of all of you when I use my flamethrower.
My goal is not to have fodder for good blog posts. My goal is not to impress people with my great ideas. My goal is not to get pats on my back or praise from my colleagues. It's not bad to have any of those things, but the goal I have is much bigger, and is long-term. I want to be part of the proof that we can do better than to give people the sickness-centered, treatment-heavy, over-priced, and chaotic care most Americans are getting!
A year ago today I was excited, nervous, and totally clueless about the road that lay ahead. A year later I am still excited, less nervous, and OK with my cluelessness about the future. My job is to work on the stuff I've got in front of me now, leaving the future to open up as I make this new land a home for me and my patients.
Every single doctor's office I call I am told the same thing: "if this is a true emergency, please hang up and dial 911." I even got that message when I called the ER.
When I called the OR, though, the message was different: "if this is a true surgery, please hang up and call the operator."
At the beginning of 2013 I stared into the great unknown of this new practice. I had no idea which plans would succeed and which were foolish dreams. The road was much more difficult than I expected, but also much more satisfying. I spent much of my time learning what doesn't work, but in the end learned that most good ideas grow out of the remains of a hundred bad ones that didn't survive.
A note of thanks from a grateful doctor.
It looked so easy.... What could be so hard about catching crab in the Bering Sea? Surely I am tough enough for that.
It looked so easy.... What could be so hard about building a practice compatible with the Affordable Care Act? Surely I am smart enough for that.
To what end?
Those three words have become something of a mantra, a mission, a philosophy of care.
- To what end do I prescribe a medication?
- To what end do I make a diagnosis?
- To what end do I order tests?
- To what end am I documenting?
- To what end is there a patient record?
- To what end do I send a person to a specialist?
- To what end do patients need to come to see me in the office?
- To what end do my patients have me as a doctor?