Thursday, January 14, 2010

The 50 yard-line perspective on health care

I have, without a doubt, the best brother-in-law ever, and his wife's parents are also, without a doubt, two of the best in-laws ever, as well as the owners of season tickets to the newest, biggest stadium in the National Football League. So it was that I found myself sitting in a front-row seat at the 50 yard-line of Cowboys Stadium on January 3rd, to watch my favorite football team shut out their division rival Philadelphia Eagles in the final regular game of the 2009-10 season.

The next weekend, I again watched the Cowboys rout the Eagles by 20 points in the first round of the playoffs, only this time on television. The stakes, the tactics, the players, and the outcome of this game were all very similar to those of the week before ... but the difference in perspective was dramatic. Whereas the week before I was able to see up close the sideline coaching, impromptu strategy discussions, and players going through their mental and physical warmups, the TV perspective focused almost exclusively on the action on the field.

This difference in perspective got me thinking about my goals for this blog, which I've now been writing for six months. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a health policy decision maker. Nor am I the typical family physician who labors for fifty-plus hours per week seeing a new patient every 12 to 15 minutes, catching up on paperwork over a nonexistent lunch break, and taking phone calls after hours. If you are looking for the 50,000 foot perspective or the view from the trenches of health care, Common Sense Family Doctor probably shouldn't be the first blog you read. Rather, I hope that my blog provides a 50-yard line perspective - a view of the critical intersection between health policy and clinical experience, where big ideas are tempered by the reality of everyday medical practice. Please feel free to let me know, publicly or privately, how well I'm succeeding.