All WORLDPAC Headlines

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Sweet & Sauer Report: The Next Time You Select A Doctor

The Sweet & Sauer Report: The Next Time You Select A Doctor

by Bill Sauer, Founder of Identifix, and Jeff Sweet, President of Identifix

Hopefully you won’t need to see a specialist to diagnose a medical condition any time soon. But, in case you do, we recently read an article that gave advice on the most important question to ask a doctor after you’ve been provided with a diagnosis. You want to ask, “What did you base this diagnosis on?” If the doctor says the diagnosis is based on “my years of experience” the article said it is then time to get a second opinion. Why?

Because today, the most important medical breakthrough is a new approach to diagnosis called ‘Evidence Based Medicine.’ How important is this approach? In a competition sponsored by the British Medical Journal, ‘Evidence Based Medicine’ was nominated as the most important innovation in medicine in the last 166 years! So what is ‘Evidence Based Medicine?’ It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. In this interconnected world do you want your doctor to have his head in the sand or do you want him gathering information from other reputable sources to help diagnose and determine the best treatment?

Both of us have benefited from this approach. One of Jeff’s sons had a very rare disease. A specialist recommended a treatment with potentially severe side effects. Jeff asked, given these side effects, what the specialist would do if it was his son. The specialist replied, “I would get a second opinion.” The second opinion diagnosed a different underlying cause for the problem and avoided the treatment with the chance of severe side effects. Jeff has always been grateful to that physician for putting his ego aside in order to provide the best possible care. Bill and his wife Duffy both have benefited from being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. It is a wonderful place to be sick! If you ever think you or your family might need the services of the Mayo Clinic, please feel free to call Bill. He will be happy to share his experiences with you.

What was the major innovation introduced by the Mayo brothers who founded the clinic? In a 1910 address, Dr. William J. Mayo described it:

As we grow in learning, we more justly appreciate our dependence upon each other. The sum-total of medical knowledge is now so great and wide-spreading that it would be futile for one man to attempt to acquire, or for any one man to assume that he has, even a good working knowledge of any large part of the whole. The very necessities of the case are driving practitioners into cooperation. The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, union of forces is necessary.

If the total medical knowledge available in 1910 was so great it was ‘futile for one man to attempt to acquire’ then imagine what it is like 100 years later!

So, what does medicine have to do with fixing cars? Many of us have heard the jokes that compare diagnosing and repairing vehicles with diagnosing and treating people. “Doctors have it easy – they only have two models to deal with (male and female) while technicians have hundreds!” What the auto service industry has in common with medicine is that we as technicians are often presented with symptoms and called upon to diagnose the underlying cause. What kind of a diagnostician are you? Are you a ‘Lone Wrencher’ relying totally on experience or do you access the best available external information to add to your experience?

Studies show that 66% of patient visits generate a question to which the physician does not know the answer. These problems are usually highly specific to the patient’s problems.

Technicians today have access to a variety of sources to learn and benefit from others’ experiences. They can use the WORLDPAC Forums, call the WORLDPAC Assist Hotline, subscribe to WORLDPAC Assist/powered by Identifix, post a problem on iATN TecMail or search iATN’s Fix Database. Any and all of these sources can provide you with a ‘second opinion.’

When Bill had the vision of starting a technical hotline, he knew he could have done it a LOT cheaper using generalists rather than specialists. Now, 20 years later, Bill is certainly glad that he stuck to his guns during those early years. And this is the same reason Duffy and Bill chose the Mayo Clinic for their healthcare — Mayo also uses specialists rather than generalists. Hey, it works! By the way, Mayo has its own type of ‘Direct-Hit database,’ researched by symptom–even by DNA.

Does accessing outside resources make a doctor or a technician a lesser professional? No ... because the information is only as good as the person applying it. And whether it’s your health care or repairs on your car, you want the best person to perform the work. Once, before Jeff’s son was being wheeled in for an operation, Jeff heard these reassuring words about the surgeon, “He has a quick mind and fast hands.” When it comes to fixing cars, these same attributes certainly come in handy.

If the medical community recognizes the need and value of connecting with others to help diagnose and solve problems, then the auto service industry certainly should as well. If you compare the changes to the human body over the past 100 years with all the changes in automotive repair, we know that those who are fixing cars also have a mighty tough job!

To learn more about the research resources mentioned in this article, click on the below links:

WORLDPAC Assist powered by Identifix
WORLDPAC Forums hosted by speedDIAL

Send Email to the WIN team

No comments:

Post a Comment

We appreciate your interest in the WORLDPAC Industry News - “WIN” and invite your questions and comments. To contact the WIN team directly, email us at

Please note: Comments posted to the WIN may experience a short delay.