How should a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) assign a primary physician to a patient? Currently it happens largely by chance, or via haphazard personal referral, or at best after a quick scan of the resumes on file. The result is often a lack of good communication between care provider and recipient.

A modest proposal: give the customer a multiple-choice personality-profile questionnaire, and mathematically compare the results of that with the styles of the group's available physicians. There are many dimensions along which data should be gathered:

  • Do you want to be cajoled to change to a healthier lifestyle — or do you respond better to being ordered to reform?
  • Do you wish to be kept totally informed about your situation at all times — or do you prefer not to get bad news if there's nothing that can realistically be done about it?
  • Do you want gory technical details, including uncertainties, statistical minutæ, and the possibility of error in a diagnosis — or would you rather just get a high-level summary of what the best current medical knowledge suggests?
  • Do you prefer quick and efficient communications with your doctor — or is it feel better to take more time and discuss matters at length?
  • Do take-home reading materials convey details best for you — or do you remember verbal presentations better?
  • Are you likely to be embarrassed concerning certain delicate issues — or is it all right to handle everything bluntly?
  • ...

And rather than simply line up what patients say they want with what doctors say they offer, perhaps best in the long run would be to cross-correlate new personality profiles with measurements taken from patients who are happy or unhappy with their physicians.

TopicScience - TopicOrganizations - 2005-07-06

(correlates: 2008-08-02 - Catoctin 50k, GoodFortune, BeYourOwnCause, ...)