I received an email blast from the head of the North Carolina Senate explaining that our state doesn’t have a new budget because our governor is holding it hostage to Medicaid expansion. I imagine that the governor would describe the impasse very differently, probably along the lines of the Senate holding up the budget by not being willing to include Medicaid expansion.
While this exchange may sound like politics as usual, it is emblematic of the fact that people everywhere—including doctors—tend to view things from their own perspectives. Their inability to see things from another’s point of view can be quite intractable, especially when they have a strong allegiance to their side of the conflict.
Take, for instance, the ongoing debate over dermatology consolidation. In this issue, our cover story tells of a dermatologist who has resisted the attractions of a large, corporate group to practice privately (“Success in Independent Practice,” beginning on page 45). Though she is in the statistical minority, her business is thriving. I’m quite certain that her views of the more corporate setting would be very different from the views of people who practice in that environment.
We also delve into doctor-patient communication. When delivering less than ideal news, our ability to be empathetic to how patients view cancer is critical. Patients surely perceive the issue very differently than we do, not having our extensive experience with and knowledge of skin cancer biology, much less some emotional distance from the lesion. One of our Editorial Advisory Board members, Richard G. Fried, MD, PhD, offers some suggestions on how to soften the blow, beginning on page 47.
Even our coverage of a recently approved combination topical treatment for psoriasis, beginning on page 29, may land differently with physicians who think branded fixed combination products should be avoided because of cost than with those who think that combination products are a major advance that make patient adherence a smaller hurdle to overcome.
Whatever side of any of these debates you ultimately fall on, it’s good to give a moment’s consideration to the opposition. Anytime we look at something from a new angle, we gain perspective. And that’s never a bad thing.
Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD
Chief Medical Editor
Dr Feldman is with the Center for Dermatology Research and the Departments of Dermatology, Pathology, and Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.