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Farewell, Thanks and See You Again
Eldon A. Trame, MD
ISMS President
Eldon A. Trame, MD  

This is my last column as your President of the Illinois State Medical Society. It has been a pleasure getting to know so many terrific physicians around Illinois.

Through my own practice and from interactions with many of you, I learned that there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the pace of change that is occurring in health care. Many of us agree that despite the superiority of the American health system, there's always room for improvement. What exactly is in need of fixing is the area in which there is often significant disagreement. Sometimes the disagreement is between physicians, but more often the rift exists between doctors and other health care delivery interests.

The strength of the physicians' position lies in the fact that we also represent the interests of patients when we engage in policy debate, while many at the table don't share a similar stake with the people being served.

A look back

When I was inaugurated as ISMS president last April I shared my perspective, growing up, about my family's physicians. Dr. Wilson DuComb was a general practitioner, and a 1927 graduate of the St. Louis University medical school.

He practiced through the 1970s, so I am certain he had something to say about changes in medicine as well. Maybe I am wrong, but if you asked him I'll bet he doesn't miss the rides in my grandfather's horse and buggy during house calls due to our muddy local roads being unsuitable for car travel. Sometimes change isn't necessarily bad.

A look forward

In one of my final opportunities for ISMS outreach, I met with the physicians currently practicing in Clinton County, my hometown area. We had a lively discussion about local medical care, and the spirit of Dr. DuComb was probably there in the room.

Change is often difficult, but change also offers opportunities. We can dig in our heels and resist change, or we can study the options and embrace those changes that we feel can make our practice better.

The Affordable Care Act offers insurance options for many more patients throughout the country and that is good. Offering college students opportunities to stay on their parents' insurance coverage until age 26 is positive. Eliminating pre-existing conditions is good for patients with chronic diseases. The controversies often revolve around how we pay for these good things.

Electronic medical records are definitely a pain in the … derrière, but they do aid in the sharing of information between the primary care doctor and multiple specialists, which is especially critical to the care of a complex patient. EHRs are definitely beneficial in our population patient care, such as groups of diabetics or those suffering from heart disease, but I personally find the EHR makes these office visits longer and more complex to document. EHRs are constantly evolving and hopefully improving with each new generation. If we can make it through these painful growing stages, our ability to care for patients will improve.

Our Annual House of Delegates meeting is coming up in late April. I hope to see you there for a spirited discussion and a successful meeting. I thank all of our members for my opportunity to serve as the president of this great organization this past year!

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