I don’t know him personally, but Fred Pelzman has struck me for a while as a sensible, patient-oriented primary care physician who understands the profound difference between practicing medicine and providing “care” to his patients while dealing with the expanding range of administrative “hoopla” that we seem, as a society, to think that all clinicians should be happy to help with, day in and day out.

In his most recent blog post, “Starting a revolution” (on the MedPageToday web site), Dr. Pelzman comments on his reactions to some of the things he learned (perhaps “experienced” would be a better descriptor) at the New York e-Health Collaborative’s Digital Health conference earlier this week … and how they correlate to what actually happens in the “real world” of his medical practice today. It’s definitely worth a close read — particularly for those who work in the worlds of medical communication, healthcare IT, and medical practice efficiencies.

Here are just a few of Fred’s key points:

  • There is incredible waste in the U.S. healthcare system, and our systems are tremendously inefficient.
  • Presentations and conversations at the conference seemed overly focused on data collection systems and care coordination packages without any real involvement of actual doctors to provide context related to utility and value.
  • Valuable healthcare IT data and care coordination systems necessitate the real involvement of practicing clinicians if they are going to cut waste and improve efficiency. (Doctors don’t have to be “in charge” of developing such systems; they do need to be talked to and heard.)
  • How does one react — back at one’s practice — to “an urgent high-priority message from a nurse in the neurology clinic, … asking the patient’s primary care provider to generate a referral for the patient to be seen by the patient’s primary care provider”? (You might want to read that again!)

Fred thinks

The time has come for a little rabble rousing, a little revolution, a little noise.

But Fred is under no illusions:

We, the healthcare system in this country, are not good at learning from our mistakes, and we recreate the wheel with abandon.


About Mike Scott

Mike Scott is a highly experienced health care communications strategist with Calcium. He is also a board member of three different patient advocacy organizations. To get more detail, see his profile on LinkedIn.

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