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Reflections |

Medical Professionalism

Robert W. Cantrell, MD
Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008;134(3):237-240. doi:10.1001/archoto.2007.40.
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Physicians have suffered a significant reduction in the prestige and respect that they once enjoyed. There are many reasons for this: the commercialization of the practice of medicine; the surrender of control of the physician-patient relationship to insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, and other business entities; and the increasingly high cost of delivering medical care. Even when most of the increased costs are driven by drug, hospital, laboratory, and radiological fees, these are perceived by many patients as “doctor bills.” To maintain viable practices, physicians must increase their patient volume and spend less time with each, which contributes to the diminution of physicians in the eyes of the public and the changed image of our calling as a business rather than a profession. With an increasingly cynical, testy, and confrontational populace exemplified by the behavior on both sides of the political spectrum during election campaigns, we physicians find ourselves “less loved,” and, in some cases, “dissed” (using street language), and we don't like it.


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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