Sunday, July 22, 2007
The Business of Oncology
I read an article in the New York Times a week ago about Cancer doctors and the way their pay is structured to be based on number of treatments (chemotherapy and anemia) and not the amount of time they spend with the patient. So basically Cancer doctors only get paid if they administer chemotherapy. The article says this has created a culture where many people are given chemotherapy regardless of whether it is the best treatment choice for them. People have been going to the Oncologist and expecting an expert and unadulterated opinion on how to save their life and instead they are steered into a chemotherapy treatment without any conversation. They are forced to assume that the doctor had their best interest in mind. Unfortunately what the article is saying is that these doctors only have their own financial interest in mind. Even though you would expect more from your doctors the articles says that when seen in the light of oncology as a business, everything makes sense.