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Saturday
Nov202010

Doctor Discontent

Here's an older but good article in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled Doctor Discontent.

Interestingly, the article was published in 1998, a full ten years prior to where we are now.  I would argue that everything the author says in this article is not only accurate and applicable to today's environment, but today's environment exceeds his even most dire estimations.

At the end of this article, the author discusses the theory that the young physicians coming into the current medical culture would not be as affected by the perceived negatives as their older counterparts. My perception is that this has not been the case.  If anything, the younger generation of physicians is even more prone to leave than the older.  For the older generation, the stigma of leaving medicine is still very strong and they often have no exit strategy.  For the physicians who are just graduating from medical programs, there is little stigma to leaving and the opportunities for them outside of medicine are great.

Unfortunately, the author's call to take doctor discontent seriously apparently fell on deaf ears.  Physicians who voiced concerns were dismissed and even today, much of the health policy change is being driven by those who are overtly antagonistic to physicians and physician concerns.  It is a sad day.

My prediction is that health policy "experts" will win their battle to impose their will on physicians, then look around with wonder when their policies fall flat because there are no clinical physicians around to implement them.

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