He’s not a modest guy, and two of his brags stand out — as a study in contrasts.
One is a quote from a board member that makes him sound like a big dreamer:
“People think of us as a medical organization. We’re not. We are fundamentally a peace and justice organization that happens to be engaged in our community through medical care.”
The other is the way he stands at his desk and nerds out on stats that show his clinic beating the pants off the competition, on preventive-care measures like screenings for cervical cancer, vaccination rates for two-year-olds, etc..
“OK, next: diabetes control,” he says. “Are you getting the idea here?”
At the heart of it, he says, is listening to people’s stories. The rest he calls “housekeeping.”
It’s not a fix for our whole broken system — you can’t just copy-and-paste what’s happening here — but it’s definitely pretty inspiring.
Researcher Saul Weiner has been sending fake patients — actors, wired for sound — into real doctors’ offices, to learn about what actually happens, especially: How well doctors really listen to their patients.
He’s tallied up what doctors miss (a lot), and how much it costs (ditto).
In today’s episode, we hear what actually happened in one of those “secret shopper” doctor visits — with the doctor and the actor who played his patient reading from the transcript of their visit, and then unpacking what went wrong.
To understand it, we went back almost 100 years and dug up a story of sweaty Canadian researchers — swatting away flies and doing business with probable dog-nappers, on the way to a Nobel Prize… and a deal with corporate pharma.
We also found hopeful signs out there today, including the folks at the Open Insulin Project in Oakland, California, who are working on their own recipe for insulin, which they hope to share as widely as possible.
If it sounds crazy — well, we talked with a listener who has hacked together an artificial pancreas from outdated equipment, raw computer parts, and open-source software, all with the help of her fellow “rogue, cowboy hackers,” who are growing in number. So, you never know.