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'The Business of Health Care Report'

The Changing Relationship Among Physicians, Consumers and Hospitals
01/23/2006

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, president and CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

The traditional relationship among physicians, consumers and hospitals is changing.

A study by the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Health Policy Institute estimates that by 2010 – only four short years from now – the United States could have a shortfall of 50,000 physicians. Recent surveys of physicians indicate growing dissatisfaction with their profession.

In one survey, 56 percent said they would not recommend that their son or daughter pursue a medical career. Clearly, that presents a challenge for our society. Will we have enough physicians to provide our care in the future? If there’s a shortage of caregivers, will care be rationed or available only to the wealthiest among us?

In the past, consumers relied almost exclusively on their physician for advice about their health. Today, consumers are better informed and are making more decisions about their care, including their choice of hospitals. Thanks in large part to the Internet, patients are doing their own research into treatment options and asking questions about cost and quality.

Consumers – and the employers that provide their health benefits – are becoming much more likely to choose health care services based on publicly available reports of quality and safety.

THR is helping lead efforts to better inform consumers and employers about health care choices. Visit our Web site, at www.texashealth.org, for more information.

For Texas Health Resources and its faith-based hospitals – Harris Methodist, Presbyterian and Arlington Memorial – I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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