THE DOCTOR FIX: STATEMENT FROM THE PRODUCER
In 2007 and 2009 I co-produced two PBS FRONTLINE documentaries, “Sick Around The World” and “Sick Around America,” which examined the successes and challenges of health care systems abroad and in the United States. The two films have had enduring importance to medical providers, insurers, patients and health care policymakers. In 2013 Dr. Jeff Weisz approached me with his book, “It’s a Great Time to be a Physician,” about the evolving practice of medicine, and asked if I thought the subject could become a documentary. I did. And the result is a new documentary presented by Oregon Public Broadcasting for public media distribution through NETA, “The Doctor Fix: A New Era of Modern Medicine.”
In the course of my reporting on health care over the years, I have come to see that a big part of the story springs from physicians who are experiencing professional tensions and evolutionary change in the way health care is delivered and providers are compensated. Many of the changes are born out of forces in the Affordable Care Act, technological innovation and its twin, disruption. Dr. Weisz makes the case in his book that even though the pressure on physicians to adapt is high, it’s still a noble profession worth committing to, but with new expectations.
In this space of change is where “The Doctor Fix” story unfolds. Doctors are finding themselves in an ambiguous fix: on one hand, they are grappling with problems. On the other hand, they are adapting to solutions.
“The Doctor Fix” examines four medical models and two medical schools across America. The film illuminates the changes in the business of being a doctor that patients might not be aware of, and what both the next generation of physicians and mid-career physicians can see as probabilities in their future careers.
I wanted to make this film because it sheds light on what it’s like for people working in the sector that makes up 17% of the U.S. economy, and how major changes in it are impacting the workforce intent on improving patient outcomes. It was fascinating to learn about medical models that are struggling to keep up with change, and the various ways they are finding solutions. But perhaps the most inspiring stories in this film come from the young medical students whose excitement for their future careers is unwavering in the face of uncertainty. The next generation of physicians is embracing change with fortitude and ambition.
I hope this film educates, informs and inspires viewers interested in learning about a new era of modern medicine.
– Kate McMahon, Producer, Writer & Director