Primary care physician is like the “captain of the ship” who directs our health care
system. Despite being fondly remembered as an “ideal” example of how a primary
care physician (PCP) should operate, the Marcus Welby Medicine (MWM) model
was subject to inefficiencies such as moral hazard, demand inducement and practice variations2
Today, technology has changed everything. Individuals now buy drugs on the
Internet and Tweet about their latest trip to the dentist. They can book appointment
through zocdoc.com. They can rate their doctors on healthgrades.com. They can
research their own illnesses (after being diagnosed) through websites such
asWebMD.com and MDAdvice.com. (Yet these sites are not always a good source
for determining what caused their illnesses or accurately providing a selfdiagnosis.
Sometimes these sites even create frustration and unnecessary
worrying.) Moreover, the recent development of Health Information Technology
(HIT) such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR) could help prevent medical
errors and exchange patient information among healthcare providers.
How might you harness modern technology to transform the role of the primary
care physician, creating a “Marcus Welby for the 21st Century?”