Bedford, fNew Hampshire
September 20, 2020. Early Arrival Press announces the release of Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare: A Doctor’s Prescription for a Post-Pandemic America, by Paul Pender, MD.
The coronavirus pandemic has underscored erosion of trust in healthcare that has been present long before the onset of COVID-19. Dr. Pender’s analysis of the myriad problems confronting our healthcare system is captured in a case-presentation format. Dr. Pender describes his assessment and plan for rebuilding trust in clear language for patients, healthcare providers and policy makers.
Dr. Pender effectively argues in “Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare” that the patient-physician relationship should be the fundamental building block for any proposal for healthcare reform. Pender states, “I consider the relationship between the individual patient and physician a sacred pact—an expression of mutual trust dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks. When I became a physician, I took the Hippocratic oath, an expression of altruism toward my fellow human beings. However, working in the world of modern medical care, doctors face challenges for living up to the tenets of the oath.” Advocating for patients and for physicians has been a passion of Pender’s throughout a medical career spanning four decades.
Dr. Pender serves as an advisor to Vxtra Health, a company committed to collaborating with physicians to earn trust and manage healthcare costs.
“Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare: A Doctor’s Prescription for a Post-Pandemic America” (Early Arrival Press, Fall 2020); ISBN 978-0-578-75596-0. $25.00 paperback, $14.99 eBook
Praise for Rebuilding Trust
“The cornerstone of healthcare, the relationship between a doctor and a patient, is under attack. Hospitals want patients to self-identify as being a patient of the hospital, and insurance companies want patients to identify with them. But neither hospitals nor health insurers actually care for patients—doctors care for patients. Fortunately for patients in America, people like Dr. Paul Pender are fighting back. Using his experience of a long and satisfying career, and a sometimes light and humorous touch, Dr. Pender outlines the consequences of losing that crucial, therapeutic relationship. Both doctors and patients become marginalized in the pursuit of profits and consolidation. There are solutions, and Dr. Pender suggests a good place to start.”
–Barbara L. McAneny, MD, MACP, FASCO AMA Past President, CEO New Mexico Oncology Hematology Consultants, Ltd.
“Dr. Paul Pender’s new book, Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare: A Doctor’s Prescription for a Post-Pandemic America, examines the state of healthcare delivery in the US with the refreshing honesty of a seasoned practitioner who has observed firsthand the erosion of the doctor- patient relationship over the past 38 years. His critique is unfailingly objective and avoids even a hint of political bias. The message he sends is simple: both the patient and physician have suffered from the deterioration of the sacred connection they once shared. His analysis of where the damage was inflicted is spot-on, and his ideas for damage control and restoration are well conceived and thoughtfully articulated. But I think what I liked most about this book is simply that its language and message are fully accessible to both physician and patient alike. If we are to rebuild trust in our healthcare system, it will require the effort of both the healer and the patient. Dr. Pender has given us the blueprint. The rest is up to us.”
–Randall Cook, MD, FACS Host of the podcast Rx for Success
“Where other contemporary authors have been content to simply detail and decry the problem, Dr. Pender has courageously and competently outlined a solution for rebuilding trust in today’s healthcare system: Make the foundational block of that system the patient-physician partnership. From there, solutions will organically grow. Drawing upon up-to-date research and current medical topics, Dr. Pender outlines steps that medical professionals and all healthcare providers can take together to create a new medical model that will benefit both patients and providers. This book offers a timely and hopeful strategy for the future of healthcare!”
–Shirley Field, MSEd Psy
“The US healthcare system may not be entirely broken but it is, indeed, severely dysfunctional. It is fragmented, expensive, inefficient, and out of reach for many of its citizens. The arrival of COVID-19 has further exposed our system’s vulnerability. Despite our best individual and collective intentions, we continue to struggle because of a myopic approach to strategy and a lack of the right people at the planning table. Where are the physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and psychologists? And what about the patients?
We must take bold action to improve our current unimpressive healthcare score card. In his book Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare, Dr. Paul Pender goes to the “operating room” to dissect the problems of the ailing American healthcare system. He takes a holistic approach to methodically identify the individual components of our complex healthcare machine and then provides comprehensive and attainable solutions.
The genius of this book resides in the basic premise that the patient is at the center of the healthcare universe and that no true progress can be made without a fundamental, unbreakable trust between a patient and a physician. That can be accomplished only if physicians, not bureaucrats or insurance companies, call the shots in the exam room and beyond. Rebuilding Trust offers an opportunity for us to reflect on the true ills of the American healthcare system and how to repair it.”
–Tomasz Jankowski, DPT, MHA, MBA
“Dr. Pender has written an important and timely book. With the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans find themselves at a crossroads. We have been led to believe that having health insurance equals access to quality healthcare. Proponents of Medicare for all (single payer) now want us to believe that the government is the answer, but doubling down on the most expensive aspects of the healthcare system allowing the government to be the final arbiter on what constitutes healthcare is not the answer. It lies in the trust engrained in the doctor and patient relationship. The doctor as an advocate and the patient as a healthcare consumer is the way to heal our healthcare system by transferring the power back to those for whom the healthcare system is supposed to work. Dr. Pender’s prescription for a post-pandemic America is a must read.”
–Elaina George, MD, author of Big Medicine: The Cost of Corporate Control and How Doctors and Patients Working Together Can Rebuild a Better System
“Dr.Pender’s distinguished career as an ophthalmologist and leader in the medical community make him uniquely able to show why trust has eroded in healthcare today. Using a medical model to identify symptoms and causes of the disease, he offers healthcare planners, and for those affected, a patient-centered treatment guide.”
–Albert Drukteinis, MD, JD Author of Unraveling Insanity and Other Stories: Narratives of a Forensic Psychiatrist
PAUL PENDER, MD, practiced clinical ophthalmology for 38 years, specializing in the medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases. He completed his residency at the world- renowned Wills Eye Hospital. Honors include a lecture series in his name by the New England Ophthalmological Society and the Secretariat Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology for his work on webinars for clinicians. Paul is passionate about patient-centered care. He believes that the patient-physician relationship should serve as the fundamental building block for healthcare reform.
Dr. Pender blogs regularly on timely medical issues on his website www.PaulPenderMD.com and popular social media platforms. He is also an advisor to Vxtra Health, a company committed to collaborating with physicians to earn trust and manage healthcare costs.
Writing For Catharsis
Leadership That Is Earned
The Challenge of Transitions
Catching Your Second Wind
An Antidote For Social Media
Team-building For What Matters
Publishing Is A Lot Like Baking: Beware, Failure Lurks!
Physician Autonomy And Accountability In Healthcare
Serious Communication In A Sound-bite Era
Empathy Is The First Step in Healthcare
Why Mentors Matter
The Doctor As Patient
Service With A Purpose
What prompted you to write this book?
I am retired from the practice of medicine, but I empathize with my fellow healthcare workers. I took up writing to advocate for patients and physicians, and I decided to expand on some of the thoughts expressed on my blog and social media posts.
Your research and citation of sources span the political spectrum. Shouldn’t you be standing with a political movement or party?
We are all patients at one time or another. Advocating for those who care for us as patients should allow for discussion from all sides.
You argue that trust between providers and patients had been eroding long before the coronavirus pandemic. What have you proposed to change that?
The concept is not new. Doctors and their teams should be able to work for their patients’ best interests with minimal interference from regulators and payers, yet remain accountable for costs and outcomes. It will take a restructuring of relationships among all of the players to create a better healthcare system.
You state in your book that allowing limited-license professionals greater autonomy without supervision is, in effect, “cutting corners for quality.” Why shouldn’t they have greater autonomy as well in any healthcare reform scheme?
Physicians have the broadest base of knowledge and experience for diagnosing and treating the human condition, in good health and in disease states. Convenience should not trump quality in our mission to keep people healthy, and to care for their needs when they’re not.
You chose to present the case of distrust in healthcare to a fictional panel of experts in medicine, social science and policy development. What’s the point?
There are many voices to be heard on the subject of rebuilding trust, and I chose the Zoom meeting as my vehicle. It just seemed like the right time and method to cover the subject.
In the Afterword of your book, you invite readers to a conversation with you about healthcare reform. How can they contact you?
Readers can reach me through my email: paul@PaulPenderMD.com
“It is my view that the patient-doctor relationship should serve as the fundamental building block for any proposal to fix our healthcare system. That relationship should not be an afterthought by insurance companies or by government, designed from top-down to capture “lives” for their subscriber rolls. The current system is not sustainable. My prescription is a roadmap to smarter reform that would begin the process of rebuilding trust in healthcare.”
“At some point in our lives, we all become patients. Therefore, it is in our best interest to face up to the challenges of developing a more responsive and responsible system of healthcare. Doing so will begin to rebuild the trust we expect and deserve.”
“This book will tell a complex story of what is needed for trust to develop and how it became compromised. It will describe where we are now, in the middle of a pandemic, trying to assess the physical and psychological damage to our healthcare workers, as well as the economic damage to facilities and practices. And finally, I will assess the problems diagnosed and will suggest possible treatment plans that may positively impact the future of healthcare and how it is delivered. Rebuilding trust won’t be easy, but it’s vital to our responsibilities for the health of all Americans.”
—Paul Pender, MD, author of Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare: A Doctor’s Prescription for a Post-Pandemic America