When you are facing the daunting task of a looming orthopedic procedure, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and just take the first option presented to you by a physician. After all, all doctors have your health at the forefront of their minds, right? While that is typically true, certain facilities will actually limit medical professionals to a specific brand of products, or a limited set of approved procedures from a list provided by their corporate office, linked to affiliated sponsors and donor brands.
While these options can still be effective, they may not be the best option for you, nor are they tailored to you, specifically.
One thing most patients in the orthopedic field don’t realize is that there are extreme differences in how different physicians approach your personal treatment plan. Before you commit to any procedure, you should make an informed choice about whether an employed or an independent physician is right for you.
What is the difference between an Employed and an Independent physician?
An Employed physician is someone who practices exclusively through a hospital, or a small practice that is usually affiliated with a collective or some larger group. These doctors tend to be very corporate minded, and have strict approaches to the few avenues that corporate structure allows them to follow.
If you want a flexible treatment plan, or want to incorporate some form of alternative therapy such as medical marijuana into your treatment plan, this will most likely be vetoed by the employed physician, simply because they do not have the authority to integrate those methods against company policy.
It is important to note that large structures such as this typically have business partnerships with pharmaceutical companies that provide specific medicines, or are incentivized to use those companies’ products exclusively for kickbacks and donations of inventory. This can lead to a systematic approach to treatment plans, using the same products again and again, even if it may not be your best option. According to The Indiana University School of Medicine, one of the biggest drawbacks of this type of practice is “the personal touch of ‘family’ physicians can sometimes be lost, to the detriment of their patients.”
At the end of the day, these physicians have a corporate mandate that they are obligated to follow, and can often leave patients feeling like a cog in an uncaring machine.
On the other hand, an Independent physician usually is someone who owns a private practice, and thus has much more freedom to explore all possible avenues for your care.
Have you tried a certain product and not found it favorable in the past? Not a problem for an Independent Physician, as they can offer an alternative brand. Are you uncomfortable with a certain type of implant, or procedure that has been recommended to you by the hospital staff? Explore other possibilities with an Independent physician. Since they are usually the person in charge, they have the autonomy to try new procedures and products as they are brought to the market.
These doctors typically have much smaller practices, so they can offer you the individualized attention and care you seek during this difficult time. They have the opportunity to tailor your treatment plan to your exact needs. Because their reputation and livelihood depends upon their clients’ sense of safety and satisfaction, they will invariably spend more time making sure you are comfortable with the treatment plan as you proceed. These doctors can integrate the options they see medically and ethically appropriate for you.