Quarterbacking healthcare: The central role of family doctors

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  • C. Allen says:

    We should be investing in social workers, physiotherapists and dietitians. Not more doctors.
    The Canada Health Act does Canadians a disservice by publically funding physicians solely.
    Think of the expertise that is left out there.
    Dr Dong complains that family physicians are underappreciated in the health care system.
    While he and his fellow family doctors might agree, there are an entire healthcare workforce that are even more grossly under recognized.
    “Poor doctors” is not a narrative that is garnering any sympathy, and the assertion that Team Based Care is a good thing (as long as family doctors are running the show in these teams) shows the egocentric view of physician.
    Dr Dong is a resident, so the fact that this self interested view is advocated for, shows that early in physician training, physicians are thinking about…well, physicians!

    • Phil says:

      Interesting point.
      I saw some “prominent family doctors” interviewed in this article, celebrating on Twitter about the Cambie case, saying this is a win for Medicare. The only “access and equity” they really care about is physicians being paid / “free” for patients via tax payer dollars. If patients had to directly pay for the care offered by family doctors, would they? I am thinking of virtual care funded by OHIP for physicians phoning patients on minor issues or non issues where the doctors can bill now. Patients don’t directly see those “receipts” do they? I doubt any of these physician leaders would be willing to take a hit on income if that allowed public funding of other professionals like social workers and dietitians. So, there is already tired healthcare (that they fail to admit to) because doctors are the only ones exclusively paid by the government.

    • Han Lee says:

      Holy shit, so by that logic, are the dieticians, social workers, ans physiotherapists who advocate for those aspects of healthcare also only working in their self-interest? This commenter’s attack of the author based on a cognitive distortion clearly demonstrates inherent bias and smooth-brain.

  • Linda M says:

    Dr Dong,

    For every dollar tax payers spend on care provided by a family physicians, what is the dollar amount saved by the health care system? I.E. return on investment?

    How does the ROI compare for specialities?

    This is a concrete figure that the public may understand.

  • Phil says:

    I find this article contains a number of problematic points.

    1. The quarterback analogy is troubling.
    It is rooted in a sport that arguably has toxic masculinity.
    It is paternalistic.
    If the family doc is the quarterback, is the patient the football that gets tossed around?
    Why isn’t the patient the quarterback?
    Who is the coach in this analogy?
    Sports metaphors seem antiquated in health care.

    2. Why did the author only interview family physicians? Of course family doctors are biased they are central to health care.

    3. The article alludes to primary care teams. How do other team members feel about family doctors?

    4. Family doctors do not own primary care. There is a whole realm of professionals- nurse practitioners, nurses, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists etc. The patient is the one that should decide which professionals they want to see. This should not be “gate-kept” by family doctors. Family doctors are quick to criticize scope expansion for other disciplines.

    5. The idea of physician centric primary care teams is troubling. It shows that docs are happy to be part of primary care teams, as long as they are calling the shots. This is unfortunately a sad reality.

    • Han Lee says:

      Your questions are just criticizing the author for not answering things you are interested in. Wtf are you doing criticizing his football analogy. He can use whatever analogy he wants.

      Moreover, the idea of physician decentralized primary care teams are even worse. Who would you have leading such a team? Perhaps someone who’s trained in medical knowledge with years upon years of training with a system that’s designed for this exact purpose… like a PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN.

    • non MD reader says:

      Dear Phil,

      I suggest you look up the difference between an opinion and an article. An opinion is just that – the author communicating their perspective. They can say what they want, interview whom they want and use whatever analogies they want. If you have a different opinion, then write your own piece. Sounds like you are full of them.

      An opinion differs from a reported piece – in which you do want a variety of voices and perspectives, though it may end up taking a side.


      Fellow reader

      (p.s. I find it troubling someone can be so condescending to a student author who put their opinion out there when they clearly don’t know journalism 101 themselves)


Anson Dong


Anson Dong is a Family Medicine resident at the University of Toronto. As a graduate with dual MD & MBA training, he is passionate about bringing value in public health care for patients through innovation and advocacy.

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