doc with xrayIn medicine, being a VIP can mean you get too much medical care and too much attention.  So indicates an article in the WSJ this week discussing the idea of the VIP Syndrome.

This describes the special care afforded the ‘Important’ patient, which results in large deviations from normal patterns of care and thus and worse, not better outcome.  Read….Joan Rivers, and the care given her ‘specially’ at the endoscopy center which ended tragically, or Michael Jackson and his special treatment from his private and personal doctor that resulted in a virtual anesthesia suite at his home….but without the precautions necessary for safety.

Of course, we all want to be special and treated with particular attention.  In fact, that is the ideal way to get your care…..to be a known entity.  But that does not equate with VIP status.  In fact there are ‘concierge’ medical practices that are called MDVIP, which may have a tainted brand now that the VIP Syndrome is getting some attention.

The problem with being a patient in a practice that has a limited number of clients is that there will be a tendency to ‘over-medicalize’ issues for this limited group of patients, so as to maximize the percieved value of the care being provided.   Many studies have proven that the more surgeons in a community, the more surgery that is performed, but not the ‘better’ the surgery or more appropriate.   Medical care is a flexible product, and too much of it is as likely to cause harm …as is too little.

Maintaining balance in care and knowing your patients personally is the key to providing the best medicine…something we are focused on every day in our office.