Chapter 3

Finding a Health Care Partner

The year I lost my beloved doctor was traumatic. In the first six months of that year, I started a business, married, and moved myself and my son to my husband's home. My sleep was erratic, my pain more intense, and my cognitive skills marginal. But these were all surmountable difficulties. As I settled into my new routine, my health began to improve, in part because I could confide my troubles to my doctor. When he transferred out of state later that year, I was devastated. The relationship I had with my doctor was as important as any treatment I had tried.

In this chapter, we'll examine the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. In particular, we'll look at how technology and managed care have begun to change the nature of that relationship. We'll explore what we want from our doctors, and how we can be more effective patients. Finally, we'll take a more detailed look at the impact of managed care on the financing and delivery of health care services. Finding a capable and caring health care partner is critical for those of us who live with chronic disease. We must remember that it is both our right, and our responsibility, to do so.