Blog | Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In defense of medical societies, especially ACP

A recent comment attacked medical societies as being impotent on several issues. The commenter clearly expects these societies to work quick visible changes. Here is my take.

My recent leadership role at ACP makes this answer biased, but I believe your expectations of medical societies are harsh. These societies are not impotent, but they are also not potent enough to drive policies. I can speak best for ACP. Let's take your concerns:

Defining quality

Please read ACP's performance measurement evaluations. These evaluations are quite thoughtful and include the reasons that most measures are inadequate. ACP started doing this many years ago, but no one is listening. ACP is trying to influence Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, and at least provides information for physicians to pick their own performance measures.

Midlevels and what training is needed to practice medicine

This is a complex issue. ACP's policy on clinical teams does make the point very clearly.

Electronic medical record absurdities

Have you read the ACP's excellent paper on the problems with EMRs?

Meaningful Use

ACP has helped convince the end of meaningful use.

Medical societies cannot be as strident as we can in the blogosphere or the Twitterverse. They must work through the system. They do accomplish a great deal. Often they do not make big news, but I am proud to be a member of ACP. The organization has the best interests of internal medicine and our patients. They plug away at the many problems you cite. They do not throw verbal Molotov cocktails, but ACP does make steady progress.

db is the nickname for Robert M. Centor, MD, FACP. db stands both for Dr. Bob and da boss. He is an academic general internist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and is the Regional Associate Dean for the Huntsville Regional Medical Campus of UASOM. He still makes inpatient rounds over 100 days each year. This post originally appeared at his blog, db's Medical Rants.