Dollars for Doctors

Here’s something a little different for today, courtesy of my lady pal Tami (who shared it yesterday on her Facebook wall).

It’s a website called Dollars for Docs.

Premise: Dollars for Docs is a search tool. It allows you to see how much $$ your doctor received from pharmaceutical and medical device companies during the period from August 2013 – December 2014.

As an aside: I have no problem with anyone receiving money from anyone. But knowledge is power.

Why I’m Sharing

This isn’t a fitness resource, per se. But as a right-wing hippie and arm-chair conspiracy theorist, I’m feeling obliged to relate this to current issues with our health care system  and general fitness.

A few (un)pleasant reminders:

  • Our fundamental assumptions about health and nutrition affect our habits (and those of future generations)
  • Our habits affect our fitness and health
  • Our culture and health care system affect our fundamental assumptions
  • Our culture and health care system are driven by forces other than a pure desire for good health

I’m not saying: your doctor is corrupt.

I am saying: that many doctors are driven by all the wrong incentives. Which isn’t necessarily their fault – because the whole system is driven by some bad incentives. (Incidentally – here is proof that bribing doctors works.)

Help Yourself

I don’t know about you, but I take the things my doctor tells me with a grain of salt. It’s not that I don’t respect their medical degree – it’s more that:

  • I’m not 100% confident that their medical degree represents the most up to date knowledge
  • I’m not 100% confident that their biases (conscious and unconscious) don’t interfere with their choices and recommendations
  • I’m not 100% confident that seeing me for 5 minutes gives them as much insight as my personal intuitions do

When it comes to surgery – I’ll take the doctor’s recommendation over my own.

But in a time when many doctors:

  • are out of shape themselves;
  • don’t sleep enough; AND
  • are a little too quick with the prescription pad

..I’ll be damned if I’ll take their general lifestyle advice without a healthy dose of skepticism.


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