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.

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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.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine