The health care industry has become far more specialty-focused in recent years. But that is problematic when physicians begin to pass patients from one specialist to another without working to understand the underlying issues. A recent post for Medivizor by Kathleen Hoffman examines the effects of the “NMP,” or “Not My Problem,” mindset on patients.
This problem directly relates to patient-centered care. Primary care physicians and nurses are, indeed, not all-knowledgeable specialists on every disease. But simply passing patients on to other specialists after triage rather than fulfilling the coordinating role of primary care leaves room for failure.
The article pinpoints the story of one patient and health care advocate who was forced to take a leadership role in her own care after her PCP was unwilling to assume that role. In a letter to her PCP, she wrote:
The majority of my friends are allied [to] the healthcare field … and all ask “who’s coordinating all of this?” to which I say I am and then they all stress about who is going to take over when I start puking and can’t get off the floor on my own … By telling me that my condition is complex and stating that I should just see additional specialists, you are surrendering … So, this leads me to ask: If you are not willing and able to help me, who in your practice is?
While inflammatory, her words speak to the distress that patients often feel when faced with a confusing and complex diagnosis without the help they need. In our profession, we must ensure that patients come first – and sometimes that means taking the time to help them navigate the maze of health care, even if we do not feel equipped to treat their issues ourselves.