Do you have too many Cooks in Your Kitchen?
Growing up I remember hearing people around me use the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen.” It seems I remember my grandmother using the phrase quite a bit – referring to her own kitchen! Now that I am a little older I can see how her wisdom is very relevant too much of life, especially healthcare.
Consider a 75 year-old man who has a different doctor for his heart, lungs, eyes, diabetes, kidneys, bones, and blood pressure. That is a lot of doctor visits! But it is also a lot of labs, x-rays, medicines, and more.
Most often these physicians are not coordinating their care with one another – which is a problem for the patient. For example, the heart doctor may know that the patient’s blood pressure should be lowered to 120/80 to keep his heart healthy, but his bone doctor has already fixed a broken hip because the blood pressure was so low it made the patient fall. Even more, the medicines that one doctor prescribes may interact with the medicines of another doctor.
Almost without exception every physician you see has your best interests in mind, but often times they are only considering a piece of the picture instead of the whole. The best thing to do is to have a gatekeeper – a physician that is looking at the whole picture. Make sure this physician is someone you trust and can access easily. He or she can help you decide which cooks you really need in your kitchen and which ones can be left out. They can help eliminate redundant testing and give you advice that you can value highly because of the trust they have built with you over time.
It is not uncommon for me to see a patient in the office and find them psychologically worn out from seeing so many doctors. I review their chart and when I realize what’s going on, I sometimes lean in towards the patient and tell them quietly like my grandmother said, “you’ve got too many cooks in your kitchen.”
Dr. Dustin Gentry is a Family Medicine physician at Winston Medical Center. He has an active clinic and hospital practice at WMC and is available for all your healthcare needs. You can schedule an appointment today by calling 773-3503.