The Role of the Physician as an Advocate for Health Care

Inam Rahman, MDYears of rigorous medical training and extensive knowledge in health care make physicians uniquely qualified to serve as health care advocates. As an advocate, that is what I firmly believe.

My name is Inam Rahman, MD, a Diplomate of the Board of Certification in Internal Medicine (BCIM), a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS). I’m also a practicing internist and emergency medicine physician in Honolulu, HI.

Already, physicians play a pivotal advocacy role due to our direct contact with patients and organization administrators. Additionally, by way of our daily practice, we possess a solid understanding of today’s most complex health issues. For advocates of any stripe, knowledge matters, and physicians are knowledgeable professionals.

Our communication skills and accessibility to health care stakeholders put us in an ideal position to influence administrators, community leaders, and government legislators to ensure that patients receive the best treatment available. For me, advocacy has meant running for political office in Hawaii, with improving healthcare as a primary objective. Currently, I am a healthcare advisor to Representative John Mizuno who serves as Chair of Hawaii’s House Health Committee and Co-Chair on a subcommittee of the Council of State Governments’ national Healthy States Task Force.

I have long maintained that physician advocacy is vital to health care. For instance, when we take our cars to mechanics, we expect professional opinions and expert service, so why should patients expect anything less from medical practitioners? Providing the best treatment possible for patients is the first step that we as physicians can take along our path to health care advocacy.

I believe that every physician should understand the important health care issues of the day, how those issues are being addressed, and whether the proposed solution makes a difference. Physicians should ask: Are there better options? As advocates, we can propose alternatives and voice our concerns through conversations with colleagues and legislators. For example, consider how the high costs of prescription drugs, including generic drugs, negatively affect our patients. We need to understand why costs continue to rise. Is it because of drug manufacturers, wholesalers, Insurance companies, or pharmacies? Are benefit managers the overlooked cause? Or, is it all the above?

I find advocacy work deeply satisfying and continually rewarding. By advocating for my patients, I have increased my knowledge and enjoyed the gratification that comes from making a difference not only for my patients but the public in general. And when a policy that I have advanced leads to healthier patient outcomes, it renews my dedication to my medical practice. Good health, I believe, is the true wealth of the nation because a healthier population makes for a far richer and more productive society.

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

ABPS is a leading advocate for its Diplomates, their patients, and the public at large by promoting high-quality evidence-based patient care. ABPS certifies physicians through industry-leading rigorous examinations in various boards and offers continuous recertification making sure that these physicians are qualified to practice safe state of the art medicine.

Leslie Mukau, MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine
In this time of uncertainty, Disaster Medicine Certification has helped tremendously to demonstrate to hospital leadership my commitment to disaster preparedness and knowledge of planning, response, and mitigation. ABODM certification focuses on the knowledge and skills a physician needs to become a recognized leader in the four stages of disaster preparation and management: planning, coordination, execution, and debriefing.

Lewis W, Marshall, MD, JD, FAAEP, FAADM
Disaster Medicine | Emergency Medicine
ABPS board certification validates a physician's competence in their medical specialty. This is important to a patient seeking medical care. Physician recertification through ABPS assures that we maintain knowledge and expertise throughout our career. The ABPS is a collegial and committed organization of physicians and administrative staff. The organization has given me the opportunity to become involved in all facets of the board certification process and physician governance.

Lawrence Stein, MD, FAASOS
Orthopedic Surgery