Recently, I started working a new job and because America is stupid, I had to give up my long-term association with a health care institution and find a new doctor in a new medical organization to get covered by my new company’s health insurance.
Little did I know that the search for a new physician would lead to some painful evaluations. I was confronted with too much choice and a super challenge to my “wokeness.”
I started the search for a new primary care physician by going to the Blue Shield of California website and clicking on “Find A Doctor.” This took me to the organization's “extensive care provider network.”
After identifying my preferred medical office location — walking distance from my home, I got a list of primary caregivers to choose from. The list had doctors’ names and links to a profile page per name.
Selecting a new physician felt like I was hiring a physician — only without sufficient information because the profiles were not all equally complete. Some profile pages had all the boxes checked, most didn’t. The criteria I was looking at: med schools, years of experience, specialty, gender, language, heritage, and star rating.
Now, I had to referee a battle between my cold heart that was instinctively responding to a “traditional” stereotype of a doctor — an old white guy who looks kind of like me — and my conscience, which was saying, “Pick the best doc no matter the race or gender or years of experience.”
Doctor Candidate #1- an internal medicine physician with a Jewish man’s name who attended a well-known medical school, but had no years of experience listed and no star rating. Sorry, I need more data #1.
Doctor Candidate #2 - a woman physician with 31 years experience and a graduate from my alma mater, but with only a 3 out of 5-star rating. There were only three reviews: one was a 5-star, one was a 1-star, and one was a 3-star. Hmmm, I know it’s probably a bogus rating system but all things being equal, I want a 5-star and a male doctor. Can you blame me?