nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Who's An MD And Who's Not...And Does It Matter.

A survey by the AMA shows that people are pretty confused.

The American Medical Assocation released a survey this week;  the survey asked people whether certain professionals were MD's or not.  It's amusing, really, but not that helpful.  The AMA was trying to use the survey to show that people really prefer MD's, but I don't think it's very persuasive about that.  Yes, some people do, but others have great trust and benefit from other healthcare providers.  I will concur, however, that some of the non-MD's have years of training that qualifies them, and some do not.  That should be the distinguishing feature:   skills and knowledge.

But, back to the funny part.  Here's my mini-version of the test.  Make your choices and don't cheat...answers below.  Which of these is an MD?
1. Podiatrist
2. Orthopedist
3. Chiropractor
4. Gynecologist

5. Anesthetist
6. Psychiatrist
7. Audiologist
8. Dermatologist
9. Nurse Practitioner
10. Otolaryngologist
11. Midwife
12. Ophthalmologist
13. Dentist

Answers:  All the even numbered are MD's.  The others aren't.  Some are pretty obvious to most of you, I'm sure.  But here's some amusing percentages:

Despite the title "nurse practitioner,"  1 out of 4 thought they were MD's.

70% thought that dentists were MD's.

88% were sure that orthopedists were MD's, but that's down from 94% two years ago.  Huh?

The AMA didn't ask about anesthetists, I just threw that in.  CRNA's (certified registered nurse anesthetists) are nurses with special training in anesthesia, and very capable at what they do (see my post here on whether they should always be supervised by an MD).  Anesthesiologists are MD's.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not being derogatory of the critical role in health care all of these experts play--except chiropractry, which is quackery IMO.  However, they do not spend from 8-12 years training for the job.  Midwives just deliver babies, audiologists manage hearing, podiatrists deal with feet, etc....but they don't have to go 4 years to medical school first.

The other parts of the AMA survey are interesting, but phrased in ways to get the answer they want ("Do you think somebody that amputates a foot should be an MD?").  They could have asked more neutral questions IMO.

One last survey result:  People were evenly split on whether they could easily tell who was an MD and who was not from "services offered," "credentials displayed," and "marketing materials."  51% said "No."

The charts are entertaining.  See how you match up.  You can find the results here.

Doc D

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