Saturday, July 18, 2009

MediCruiser

I realize that the site I am reviewing is probably a prank. It was probably made by some kid in a basement fantasizing about what health care would be like in a free society.

There is no way that American medical establishment or bureaucracy would allow a company like this to exist.

But, as readers of this blog know, I really like the fantasy of a country that actually valued the freedom and limited government that the founders of the United States fought for.

The web site of interest in called MediCruiser. It is a clinic owned by a Dr. Gahlinger in Salt Lake City. A central feature of the clinic is an advanced piece of engineering called a PT Cruiser. In some instances, the doctor travels in the PT Cruiser (loaded with other state of the art equipment) to a patient's house.

For those unfamiliar with the history of medicine. This process of a doctor going to a patient is called a "house call."

What does a house call cost? You wonder.

To tell you the truth. This part of the site shocked the socks off of me. I almost had to call the good doctor for a house call when I saw it.

I've reviewed hundreds of medical sites in CommunityColor. I always find myself wondering about the price of services. Of course, clinics rarely divulge that secret. The MediCruiser site has a page titled fee schedule in which they list the fee for service.

I stared at the page for about 20 minutes in utter amazement.

I actually checked the home page to make sure I wasn't looking at a veternarian site. Vets are in a competitive free market and have to post prices and provide customer service to keep customers and stay viable.

Imagine if we lived in a world where people paid most of their medical care upfront and in cash. Doctors would bowl over each other in providing services and publishing their fees.

But we haven't had a free market in medical care for at least a half century.

Speaking of absolutely-astounding, unheard-of, incredible things: MediCrusier is doing something else out of this world.

You know how doctors are always taking notes and measurements. When they do this, they are creating a thing called a medical record. I have never personally seen a medical record. But I have seen them referrenced in TV dramas.*

Most doctors treat medical records as proprietary information to be used by the clinic, the insurance company or government bureaucrats.

MediCruiser offers a service that is absolutely unheard of. They let the patient see their medical records. Your medical records get put into a little package that they call an Owner's Manual.

The concept that a patient owns their own health is diametrically opposed to modern medical thinking. It is one of the lost concepts of the classical age that progressives soundly reject. This is the type of stuff that Socrates favored with the dictum "Know thyself."

Doctors of the progressive age hold with religious fervor to the notion that medical knowledge is the exclusive domain of doctors and the state.

MediCruiser is perhaps the most radical site I have come across in the health care debate.

Again, I am sure it is a fictional site. There is no way the medical establishment would allow such a company to exist. But I confess, I am very intrigued and drawn to this fantasy.



(I must explain the *. I saw thousands of medical records when I worked in the insurance industry. I never been allowed to see my personal medical record. I asked. But was soundly rebuked by a contemptuous doctor.)

6 comments:

c. gresham bayne MD said...

MediCruiser is actually coming a bit late to the organized housecall movement under the leadership of www.aahcp.org. The concept is true, and your comments are right about how difficult it has been implementing a new delivery system which obviates the need for health insurance in other than catastrophic conditions. After 300,000 housecalls since 1985, our medical group can attest to both the professional rewards and problems with medical lobbies herein...www.1800calldoc.com

y-intercept said...

Dr. Bayne,

Thank you for your insightful and the references to American Association of Home Care Physicians.

I added a link to your worthy site in the Community Color directory. I expanded on my thoughts in a lengthy site review.

The post contains my thoughts on house calls. I favor mechanisms like the Medical Savings and Loan which allow individuals the most control over their health care spending to pooled funding devices in which the actual substance of health care gets defined by a political elite (either in an insurance company or government bureaucracy).

Anonymous said...

This place is a joke. I think that the doctors they have there are a bunch of quacks! The only thing this place is good for is pain meds!

y-intercept said...

Anon,

Thanks for the info. Medical efforts pushed to margins tend to become marginal.

The sad thing about the current state of world affairs is that so few ideas are being tried.

A small number of progressive leaders have an iron boot on the health care in this state ... so there is very little room for innovative ways to bring care to the people.

Matt Miller said...

It's real. I've been there. Quick, easy, and pleasant. Picked them out of an insurance directory for Blue-Cross/Blue Shield, and I liked the location of their offices. On-site lab for rapid testing--I think it took them about fifteen minutes for a blood test?

Anonymous said...

Agreed couldn't be happier with their service. Unfortunately the above poster referring to the doctors as quacks and 'good for pain meds' couldn't be more mistaken. The doctors are first rate, and they are not a pain clinic and RARELY prescribe any sort of pain med stronger than tylenol 3.