Dr. Atul Gawande on the importance of primary care physicians


During The New Yorker Festival Saturday, Atul Gawande, MD, a surgeon at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital and writer for The New Yorker, spoke about how patients can live longer, healthier lives by maintaining a relationship with their primary care physician, CNBC reports.

Dr. Gawande reiterated a key tenet during the festival that he's discussed in writing various times before: "Regular, ongoing care as opposed to heroic, emergency care … is the greatest source of value in modern medicine," the report states.

While physicians may seem less knowledgeable than a specialist in some instances, Dr. Gawande said incremental visits to a PCP offer a unique benefit: a long-term relationship. He said through regular visits, the physician is able to aggregate all the information he or she knows about the patient to provide an informed diagnosis. Having a relationship with a PCP also allows the patient to become more comfortable with their provider and thereby more inclined to visit them to address health concerns before they develop into more serious issues, Dr. Gawande claimed.

However, recent attempts to repeal and replace the ACA often include cuts to Medicaid, an act that effectively strips Medicaid patients of their opportunity to maintain a relationship with their PCP and negatively impacts their overall health. Any potential reform should be based on the "understanding that all lives have equal value," Dr. Gawande said during the festival, according to the report.

To view the full report, click here.


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